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Congratulations Graduates!

Spring 2018 Commencement

Spring Commencement: May 12-13

There will be a number of events honoring graduates in the days leading up to graduation.

All commencement ceremonies take place in Bender Arena on AU's campus. The SPA, SOC, and Kogod ceremonies will run approximately 2 hours and CAS and SIS approximately 2-1/2 hours. Graduates should report to line-up areas 45 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony and sit with colleagues in their academic program. Graduates do not cross the stage in alphabetical order and may sit with friends within their academic program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Before the Ceremony

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 Student Planning report to verify your “home” school. See your advisor if you have questions.

Individual schools and colleges handle the selection process for student speakers, and each one is different. Contact your dean's office for more details.

Honorary degree recipients must be approved by the school or college's dean, the president, and the Board of Trustees and are selected based on meritorious contributions to society or to American University in fields related to the school or college. The process typically begins one year in advance. All commencement speakers are announced at the same time in early April. If you would like to recommend someone to receive an honorary degree and speak at Spring Commencement, please contact your dean’s office. Please provide as much information as possible including your reason for recommending the individual, any personal connection you may have, and contact information if possible.

See the University Awards website for additional information about the awards and criteria. The nomination process will begin in late January. Professors and advisers can nominate students, and students can also nominate themselves.

Herff Jones has created school-specific, personalized announcements for American University, and you can order them through their website beginning in February 2018. It takes several weeks for personalized printing, so order them well in advance.

Graduates participating in the School of International Service and College of Arts and Sciences ceremonies will need tickets for their guests. Students participating in the School of Public Affairs, School of Communication, and Kogod School of Business ceremonies are strongly encouraged to limit their number of guests to seven. Tickets are not required for these ceremonies.

In order to walk in a commencement ceremony you must wear a cap and gown designed especially for American University by Herff Jones. Students not wearing the proper regalia will not be permitted to walk in the ceremony. Rental regalia serves as a student's registration to participate in commencement.

Information on regalia rentals

At the Ceremony

Please arrive 45 minutes prior to the start of your ceremony in order to receive your name card, line up, and process into the arena.

Generally, yes. Graduates do not sit or walk in alphabetical order during commencement, but your friends must be in the same school or college as you and in the same degree candidacy.

Please leave all personal belongings with your guests, in your vehicle during the ceremony or stored in a locker in the East Quad Building or University Library. For security purposes, do not leave bags unattended.

We encourage graduates and guests to use public transportation, such as Metro and the AU shuttle, to get to campus. The AU shuttle is complimentary and will run every 10 minutes between the Tenleytown-AU Metro station and the Nebraska Avenue and McKinley/Letts shuttle stops. The north-side shuttle stop behind Kogod will not be in use and the tunnel roadway will be closed over commencement weekend.

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/gown rental serves as the graduate’s registration to participate in their school’s commencement ceremony. 

Information on parking and when and where to pick up your parking pass

After the Ceremony

Diplomas will be mailed to the address indicated on a student's graduation application approximately eight to ten weeks following commencement.

Commencement Email Updates

Graduating students will receive occasional email updates. Updates will posted on the Dates and Deadlines web page as they are emailed.

View Updates

2017 Highlights

Watch video clips and view photos from each 2017 Spring Commencement ceremony.

View Highlights