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Commencement Update September 15, 2017

Fall Commencement for August and December 2017 Graduates

Fall Commencement will be held on Sunday, December 17, at 10:00 a.m. in Bender Arena. Students who receive degrees in August 2017 and eligible degree candidates for December 2017 are invited to participate.

American University's 134th commencement ceremony will feature the conferral of undergraduate and graduate degrees, the commencement address, and remarks by President Sylvia Burwell.

Students must submit an Application to Graduate for August or December 2017 on Eagle Services. Late submission of the application will affect inclusion of your name in the printed program.

Fall Commencement Guide for Graduates and Guests

Click here to view the Fall Commencement Guide for Graduates and Guests. The guide contains helpful information on regalia rentals, commencement-related events, parking passes, and day-of instructions.

Fall Commencement Student Speakers

The university will select one undergraduate and one graduate student to speak at the Fall Commencement ceremony. Candidates must be eligible for their degree in August or December 2017. They also must have strong academic records, contributed to the school and the university community, and be articulate communicators. Interested students should contact Andrew Toczydlowski at The deadline for applications is Monday, October 16 at 11:59 pm.

Fall Graduation Fair

AU's Campus Store will host the Graduation Fair on Wednesday, November 1 (noon-6 p.m.; Mary Graydon Center, first floor, Rooms 2 - 4). Students can get information regarding commencement, speak with a Herff Jones representative about announcements and class rings, and have measurements taken for regalia.

Fall Regalia Rental Process

All students participating in commencement must rent or purchase academic regalia in the university's distinctive red, white, and blue colors. This regalia includes a cap and gown for all graduates, plus a hood for masters' and doctoral degree recipients, as determined by the graduate's area of specialty. Rental regalia is owned by Herff Jones and was designed specifically for AU. Rental or purchase of regalia serves as a student's registration to participate in commencement.

Students who have been declared eligible to graduate will receive an email in mid-October with instructions on renting regalia. In order to ensure availability, orders must be placed via the portal and will require a credit card. Your order must include your height, cap size (use measuring tape available on portal or pick up one from the Mary Graydon Center information desk), and approximate weight to ensure proper fit. Orders with missing information will not be completed.

Orders received after November 10 are subject to availability and will be accepted via the portal until 5:00 pm on November 30. To place an order after November 30, students should fill out a paper form in AU Central then complete payment in the Campus Store.

The rental fee for regalia, including taxes, is approximately $45 for bachelor's, $95 for master's, and $125 for doctoral.

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

Fall Commencement Tickets

Because of limited seating in Bender Arena, tickets will be required for admittance to the Fall Commencement. An allotment of six (6) tickets will be distributed to each student who has rented regalia and registered to participate in the ceremony. Graduates participating in the ceremony will not need a ticket for themselves. Tickets will be distributed in the Bridge Café (formerly the lower level of the Campus Store) at cap/gown distribution on Friday, December 15 (9 am - 6 pm) and Saturday, December 16 (10 am - 4 pm).

Children under age 3 who will be sitting in an adult's lap during the entire ceremony do not require a ticket. If the child needs a seat of their own, they will require a ticket.

In order to accommodate guests without tickets, the ceremony will be shown live at a remote viewing location in the Kerwin Hall, Rooms 1 & 2, and live streamed on the commencement website.

Graduates seeking additional tickets are encouraged to ask friends or classmates participating in the ceremony if they have any extra tickets at their disposal. Commencement tickets are not to be bought or sold.

Fall Commencement Parking Passes

Parking on campus will be limited for Fall Commencement. 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 the ceremony. The parking pass will be valid from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and good for the Katzen Arts Center Parking Garage. Graduates will receive additional information when they pick up their passes during Cap and Gown Distribution in the Bridge Café (formerly the lower level of the Campus Store) on Friday, December 15, and Saturday, December 16. Passes will be distributed at a separate table next to the caps/gowns. Parking passes are complimentary. Additional passes will not be available for purchase.

Parking for university events is prohibited on neighborhood streets in accordance with Washington, D.C., regulations and AU's Good Neighbor Policy.

Legacy Alumni Network

The Legacy Alumni Network recognizes AU alumni and students who are the children, grandchildren, parents, or grandparents of an alumnus or alumna. For information, visit

2017 Fall Guide

2017 Fall Commencement Guide

Important dates, things you need to know and more information about AU's 2017 Fall Commencement

Explore the guide

Mailings and Updates

This is the second of a series of email updates that you will receive before commencement. All emails and mailings will be available online. We encourage you to share this information with parents and guests.