> Ceremony Logistics
AU’s commencement ceremonies are held in Bender Arena on campus. In keeping with D.C. Fire Code regulations, we ask that graduating students limit their guests to seven persons each. Tickets are NOT required for admittance.
Each ceremony is approximately two hours in duration and is immediately followed by a reception, sponsored by the school or college. Reception locations are listed in the commencement program.
A commercial photographer from GradImages will be on hand to take three photographs of each graduate; proofs are sent to graduates approximately ten days after the ceremony. In addition, the university photographer will take photographs for display on this site. For more information, see Graduation Mementos.
Doors open approximately 45 minutes before each ceremony. No one will be permitted inside prior to that time. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Guests should arrive in time to park and be seated in the arena no later than ten minutes before the start of each ceremony. No one will be admitted during the processional.
To ensure the comfort of our guests and in accordance with local fire safety laws, aisles must be kept clear at all times. Guests are asked to cooperate with ushers and public safety officers and to keep designated areas clear. All bags are subject to search, and large signs, banners, and other objects that impede visibility are not permitted.
An approximate floor plan for each school or college's ceremony appears below. For additional details, see each school or college's ceremony information.
Bender Arena Floor Plans
- College of Arts and Sciences
- Kogod School of Business
- School of Communication
- School of International Service
- School of Public Affairs
All AU commencement ceremonies will be broadcast live on american.edu/commencement.