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Commencement Update February 28, 2018

Spring Commencement Ceremonies for May 2018 Graduates

AU's Spring Commencement ceremonies will be held Saturday, May 12, and Sunday, May 13, in Bender Arena:

Saturday, May 12:
9:00 am School of Communication
1:30 pm Kogod School of Business
6:00 pm School of International Service
Sunday, May 13:
10:00 am School of Public Affairs
2:30 pm College of Arts and Sciences

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 ("Countdown to Commencement") will be emailed to your AU account 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

Purchase Doctoral Regalia by March 9

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 9.

National Anthem Singer Auditions

The Office of the President and the Department of Performing Arts are seeking five graduating seniors or graduate singers to sing the National Anthem at each of the five American University commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 12, and Sunday, May 13. Click here for additional information on auditions. Information on auditions

Graduation Fair

The Campus Store will host the Graduation Fair on Tuesday, March 27 and Wednesday, March 28, from noon to 6 pm, in Mary Graydon Center, first floor, rooms 2 - 4. Students can get answers to commencement-related questions, speak with a representative from Herff-Jones regarding regalia, announcements, and class rings. GradImages will be onsite to take cap and gown photos and answer questions about commencement photography.

Assistance with Phonetic Spelling at Graduation Fair

Staff from the Writing Studies Program will be available at the Graduation Fair (Mary Graydon Center, Rooms 2 - 4) during the following hours to assist with phonetic spelling of names for commencement day:

Tuesday, March 27:
12:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Wednesday, March 28:
12:00 - 4:00 p.m.

When you line up on commencement day, you will receive a pre-printed card from your academic advisor. You will hand this card to a reader to announce your name as you cross the stage during the ceremony. The Writing Studies Program staff can help with the phonetic spelling of names that may be difficult to pronounce. This spelling will be added to your pre-printed card to assist readers on commencement day.

Spring Commencement Tickets, Remote Viewing, and Live Streaming

Guest tickets are not required for the School of Communication, Kogod School of Business, and School of Public Affairs 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 School of International Service commencement ceremony (Saturday, May 12, 6:00 pm) and the College of Arts and Sciences commencement ceremony (Sunday, May 13, 2:30 pm). An allotment of six (6) tickets will be distributed to SIS and CAS students who have rented regalia and registered to participate in the ceremony. SIS and CAS students participating in the ceremony will not need a ticket for themselves. 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.

Due to the expected attendance at the SIS and CAS 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 that will be announced closer to the date, and live-streamed on the commencement website. Graduates seeking additional tickets are encouraged to ask friends within their school/college if they have any extra tickets. Commencement tickets may not be bought or sold.

Additional details on ticket distribution will be shared in future Commencement Update emails and will be posted on the commencement website.

Parking for Spring Commencement Ceremonies

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. 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 from May 9 - 12. 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.

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 23. See the university awards website for more information.

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 Degree Audit Report to verify your "home" school. See your advisor if you have questions.

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).

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).

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

AU Alumni Association

The American University Alumni Association offers volunteer, networking, and mentoring opportunities, as well as a suite of exclusive benefits, to more than 128,000 alumni worldwide. More information on the alumni association

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 Mina Kato at or 202-885-3413.

Senior Class Gift

The transition from senior to alum is a rite of passage that all students look forward to. The first step is participating in the Senior Class Gift-a way of "giving back" to any area of campus organization that impacted the your time at AU. Choose from a variety of funds on campus, ranging from your favorite student group where new friends were made, to the school or college where you explored new interests and discovered your passions. More information on senior class gift


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

Mailings and Updates

This is the sixth in 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.