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President's Message | Reports & Announcements


October 29, 2014

 TO: AU Community
 FROM: Neil Kerwin, President
 SUBJECT: Changes to AU Commencement


As mentioned in my July 24 campus letter, we will have a new format for commencement weekend, beginning with our May 9–10, 2015 ceremonies.

This is due to the East Campus construction and the resulting loss of 900 parking spaces, in addition to the increasing number of students participating in graduation.

Parking will be severely restricted - and special arrangements are being made as mentioned below.

As a result, the start times for our “main campus” school and college commencements (excluding the Washington College of Law and School of Professional and Extended Studies) will be spread out with more time between ceremonies—to allow the five graduation ceremonies to flow unfettered in Bender Arena; to provide sufficient time for attendees to enjoy each ceremony and reception; and to allow the event organizers to fill and empty Bender Arena five times over the course of the weekend.

Ceremony start times are:

Saturday, May 9:

  • 9 am School of Public Affairs 

  • 2 pm School of Communication 

  • 7 pm College of Arts and Sciences

Sunday, May 10:

  • 10 am Kogod School of Business 

  • 3 pm School of International Service

Sunday, May 17:

  • 1 pm Washington College of Law

Commencement Parking
We will encourage commencement guests to use public transportation. Each graduate who rents or purchases regalia for the commencement will receive one pass for on-campus parking for a specific time period and location—with instructions issued at cap and gown distribution in early May. Satellite parking (for guests without parking passes) will be available at locations close to campus and shuttle service will be provided. Additional details will be announced in the coming months.

Commencement Tickets, Remote Viewing, and Live Streaming
The ceremonies for the College of Arts and Sciences, Kogod School of Business, School of Communication, and School of Public Affairs will not be ticketed. However, graduates will be limited to seven guests, due to limited seating in Bender Arena.

Tickets will be required for the School of International Service ceremony. Graduates who rent or purchase regalia will receive six tickets each. Additional details will be shared on the commencement website.

To accommodate guests without tickets, all ceremonies will be shown live at a remote viewing location in the Ward Circle Building. Commencement materials will also be provided to those guests. As in past years, the commencement ceremonies will be live streamed, for guests who are unable to attend.

Winter Commencement—December 2015 
To accommodate the growing number of graduates, we will add a winter commencement ceremony—effective December 2015. This commencement will be for our August and December 2015 graduates and will be held Wednesday, December 16, 2015, at 1 p.m. in Bender Arena.

For our August and December 2014 graduates, we will hold two separate receptions on Friday, December 5—one reception for bachelor’s degree candidates and one for master’s and doctoral degree candidates. Invitations will be mailed to August 2014 graduates and December 2014 applicants in late October. August and December 2014 graduates are invited to participate in the May 2015 commencement ceremonies.


I hope that this information allows graduates and their families to begin planning for commencement. Much more information and specific details will be forthcoming on all of these events.

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