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Ceremony and Seating

AU's commencement ceremonies will be held in Bender Arena on campus.

  • Guests attending the School of International Service ceremony on Saturday, May 12, at 6:00 pm and the College of Arts and Sciences ceremony on Sunday, May 13, at 2:30 pm will require tickets.
  • Students participating in the School of Communication, Kogod School of Business, and School of Public Affairs ceremonies are strongly encouraged to bring no more than seven guests. Tickets are not required for these ceremonies.
  • The doors to Bender Arena will open 45 minutes to one hour before each ceremony. No one will be permitted inside prior to that time. Only graduating students will be permitted in the line-up assembly areas in the Sports Center and Tavern.

  • 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. Doors will reopen following the National Anthem and Invocation.

  • AU is committed to improving the health and well-being of our community and is proud to be a tobacco- and smoke-free campus.

  • Any graduate or guest exhibiting disruptive behavior during line-up or the ceremony, as determined by university commencement staff or Public Safety, are subject to removal.

  • 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, balloons, banners, and other objects that impede visibility are not permitted.
  • A commercial photographer from GradImages will photograph each student approaching the stage and shaking hands with President Sylvia Burwell. Following commencement, GradImages will send proofs and ordering information to students. Please note that parents and guests will not be permitted on or near the stage to take photographs during the ceremony.

  • Each graduate's name will be announced during the ceremony. The university requests that guests respectfully honor this momentous occasion in a way that enables family and friends to hear each graduate's name as it is announced. Please refrain from the use of air horns or any other type of noisemaker during the ceremony.

  • The School of International Service and College of Arts and Sciences ceremonies will be approximately 2-1/2 hours in duration. The School of Communication, Kogod School of Business, and School of Public Affairs will run approximately two hours.

After the ceremony:
  • To prevent confusion, please determine in advance where you will meet your party immediately following the ceremony. After the ceremony, each school will host a reception for their graduates and guests. Locations for receptions can be found under Important Dates and Deadlines.