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Fall 2017 Commencement

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Commencement 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016 United States

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Fall Commencement: December 17

The commencement ceremony will take place in Bender Arena on AU's campus.

The ceremony will run approximately 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.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Before the Ceremony

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

Graduates participating in the Fall Commencement ceremony will need tickets for their guests. Each student who rents or purchases a cap and gown (or who wears formal military dress in lieu of regalia) will be issued six tickets.

All students participating in the commencement ceremony wear AU rental regalia, purchased regalia, or formal military dress uniforms. Your regalia order serves as your registration to participate in commencement.

Students who are active duty, joining the Armed Forces, or authorized to wear a military uniform, may wear formal dress uniforms instead of rental regalia, but you must email this information to, in order to qualify for parking passes and commencement ceremony tickets.

More 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.

Fall Commencement is a combined graduation ceremony for the five main campus schools and colleges. Graduates will line-up and sit by degree (master's ahead of bachelor's) within their school. Schools will be recognized in founding order (CAS, SPA, Kogod, SIS, SOC).

Please leave all personal belongings with your guests, in your vehicle during the ceremony, or 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 during commencement.

Parking on campus will be limited on December 17. 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. 

More information on parking and where and when to pick up your parking pass

After the Ceremony

Diplomas will be mailed to the address indicated on a student's graduation application approximately six to eight weeks after grades are finalized.

Commencement Cap

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David S. Ferriero

Commencement Speaker

David S. Ferriero 

10th Archivist of the United States

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