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February 28, 2017

Spring Commencement Ceremonies

AU’s Spring Commencement ceremonies will be held May 13 and 14, 2017, in Bender Arena:

Saturday, May 13:
  • 9 am School of Public Affairs
  • 1:30 pm School of Communication 
  • 6 pm College of Arts and Sciences 

Sunday, May 14: 

  • 10 am Kogod School of Business
  • 2:30 pm School of International Service

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Information for May 2017 Graduates

If you intend to graduate in May, you must complete the online Application to Graduate form on the portal. All students, must complete this application on the portal, whether or not they plan to attend commencement. This form is separate from any clearance paperwork that you fill out for your school or college. If you have any questions, contact your academic advisor.

Submission of the graduation application triggers a review of your academic record, puts you on track to receive future commencement mailings and updates, and helps to ensure that your name is listed in the printed commencement program.

In mid-December, the Commencement Guide for Graduates and Guests was mailed to the permanent home addresses of students expected to graduate in May. The guide includes general information about preparing for commencement, cap and gown rentals, the weekend activities, etc. (Commencement Guide). 

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Ceremony Tickets, Remote Viewing, and Live Streaming

Guest tickets are not required for the School of Public Affairs, School of Communication, and Kogod School of Business ceremonies. However, students participating in these ceremonies are asked to limit their guests to no more than seven.

Because of limited seating in Bender Arena, tickets will be required for admittance to the College of Arts and Sciences Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 13 at 6:00 p.m., and the School of International Service on Sunday, May 14 at 2:30 p.m. An allotment of six (6) tickets will be distributed to CAS and SIS students who have rented regalia and registered to participate in the ceremony. CAS and SIS students participating in the ceremony will not need a ticket for themselves. Additional details on ticket distribution will be shared in future commencement update emails and will be posted on the commencement website.

Due to the expected attendance at the CAS and SIS ceremonies, we are unable to fulfill any requests for additional tickets. In order to accommodate guests without tickets, the ceremony will be shown live at a remote viewing location in the Ward Circle Building, Rooms 1 & 2, and live-streamed on the commencement website. Graduates seeking additional tickets are encouraged to ask friends within their school/college if they have extra tickets. Commencement tickets are not available for sale or purchase. Click here for additional information on commencement tickets.

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Parking on campus will be limited over commencement weekend. One commencement parking pass will be issued to each student who rents a cap and gown. The cap and gown rental serves as the graduate’s registration to participate in their school’s commencement ceremony. The parking pass will be valid for a designated time period and parking garage, based on the graduate's school/college. Graduates will receive additional information when they pick up their passes during Cap and Gown Distribution in the Bridge Lounge from May 10 to 13. Passes will be distributed at a separate table next to the caps and gowns. Parking passes are complimentary; additional passes will not be available for purchase. Note that parking permits issued by AU Transportation Services for use during the year will not be valid for parking during commencement weekend.

Satellite parking for guests without parking passes will be available at locations close to campus. Shuttle service will be provided. Additional details will be announced in the coming months. Click here for additional information on commencement parking.

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Purchase Doctoral Regalia by March 10

Doctoral degree recipients interested in purchasing regalia (approximate cost: $800) should contact associate registrar Michael Hunnicutt (202-885-2232, for information. The deadline to purchase doctoral regalia for commencement is March 10, 2017.

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Commencement Speakers

Each school/college has at least one student speaker at commencement. The selection process is coordinated within each school/college. Contact your dean’s office or academic advisor for details. Keynote speakers will be announced in early to mid-April.

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Commencement Housing - New

American University Conference & Guest Services is excited to offer, for the first time, housing on-campus for friends and family of the Class of 2017 during Commencement. From May 11 to 15, stay in the brand-new Constitution Hall located on our Main Campus. The accommodations include suite style bedrooms with private bathrooms. The residence halls include WiFi, kitchen, lounges, and laundry available on each floor. In addition, the Constitution Hall front desk will be staffed 24 hours per day. The application for Commencement Housing will launch March 22, and will close on May 1. Rooms are available at $80 per night for a single occupancy, and at $65 per person, per night for a double occupancy room. Please note that a 2-night minimum stay is required for all reservations. Please contact with any questions. 

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Regalia Rental Process

Bachelor’s and master’s graduates rent regalia, beginning in mid-March. AU's customized regalia features our distinctive red, white, and blue colors and is appropriate to your degree. Rental of regalia serves as your registration for commencement.

The rental fees are approximately $45 (bachelor’s), $95 (master’s), and $140 (doctoral). Our March electronic postcard will be emailed to your local address once you are “eligible” to graduate—meaning, you applied to graduate and your advisor has found you on track to complete all requirements. The e-postcard will list steps to rent regalia and register to participate in the May commencement ceremonies.

Students who are Active Duty or who are joining the Armed Forces may wear formal dress uniforms in place of rental regalia. If you plan to wear your dress uniform, you must notify us at Be sure to list “Armed Forces” in the subject of the email.

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Student Award Nominations

Seventeen awards are given at commencement to exceptional graduating students. Awardees receive cash prizes from $250 (Student Achievement Awards) to $1000 (President’s Award). Nominations are due by March 24. See the university awards website for more information.

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Graduation Fair

The Campus Store will host the Graduation Fair on Tuesday, March 28, and Thursday, March 30 from noon to 6 pm, in Mary Graydon Center, first floor, rooms 2-4. Students can get answers to commencement-related questions, speak with representatives from Herff-Jones regarding regalia, announcements, and class rings. GradImages will also be on site with information regarding pictures taken during the ceremony. For additional information contact the AU Campus Store at x6322 or

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Dual Degree vs. Double Major

Dual degree students fulfill the requirements for two bachelor’s programs and earn a total of 150 credit hours. These students can participate in either or both schools’ ceremonies, are listed twice in the commencement program (once for each school/college), and receive two separate diplomas. Double major students are expected to participate in their “home” school’s ceremony, are listed once in the commencement program, and receive one diploma. Check your DARS report to verify your “home” school. See your advisor if you have questions.

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Students joining the Armed Forces

The commencement printed program includes a section recognizing students joining the Armed Forces after graduation. To be included, email the following info by March 31 to Name, School or College, Branch of Military (ex. John Smith, School of Communication, Chemical Corps, US Army). Be sure to list “Armed Forces” in the subject of the email.

Students who are Active Duty or who are joining the Armed Forces who wish to wear formal dress uniforms in lieu of rental regalia must notify us at (list “Armed Forces” in the subject of the email).

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Documentation for International Guests

Contact the Registrar’s Office ( if you or your guests need documentation to secure a visa to attend commencement. Visit the commencement website for more information.

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Senior Barbecues/Grad Barbecues 

Seniors, master's, law and PhD students who will complete their degree requirements in May 2017 are invited to join President Neil and Mrs. Kerwin '71 for their annual celebratory barbecue series, a home-style celebration at the President's House featuring your favorite AU professors and staff, as well as, AU alumni leaders ready to welcome you to the Alumni Association. For more information, seniors click here and master's/law/PhD students click here

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Legacy Alumni Network

The Legacy Alumni Network (LAN) recognizes American University alumni and students who are the children, grandchildren, parents, or grandparents of an AU alum. The LAN helps these members of the AU community stay in touch with the university and with one another through special events and networking opportunities. With more than 2,000 legacy alumni and students, the network rewards families for their continued generational support of AU. If you have any questions, contact Pat Rabb at

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Mailings and Updates

This is the fifth in a series of updates for students expected to graduate in May 2017. Check the portal to be sure your correct mailing and email addresses are on file. All mailings and updates will be posted on the commencement website.

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Please contact your academic advisor if you have questions regarding the Application to Graduate or other academic-related issues. If you have questions regarding the ceremonies, please contact Lisa Arakaki (202-885-2430) in the Special Events Office or email

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