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Commencement Update March 26, 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.

Orders and payments must be placed by Monday, April 9. Correct fit cannot be guaranteed after this date. Late orders will be accepted until 5 p.m., Monday, April 30. After this time, graduates must place an onsite order between May 9 - 12.

To cancel an order before the ceremony for a full refund, you must notify us by Monday, April 30 by emailing Cancellations after this date will receive a surcharge.

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

Regalia Distribution Locations:

Cap & Gown, Parking Pass & Ticket Distribution - Tavern, MGC 1 st Floor

Wednesday, May 9
9 am-7 pm
Thursday, May 10
9 am-7 pm
Friday, May 11
9 am-6 pm

Regalia Returns and Last Minute Cap & Gown, Parking Pass & Ticket Distribution - Bridge Café, Butler Pavilion, 2 nd Floor:

Saturday, May 12
8 am-10 pm
Sunday, May 13
9 am-7 pm

Regalia Shipping

For regalia orders placed before April 9, the regalia supplier Herff Jones is offering at-home shipping of regalia for an additional $20 fee - for those who wish to take photographs prior to the regular regalia pick-up dates (beginning May 9). You will still need to come to campus May 9-12 to pick up ceremony tickets (if CAS or SIS) and your parking pass. Regalia can only be shipped to your home if your order is placed before April 9.

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.

Updated Information on 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.

Ticket distribution will take place from Wednesday, May 2, through Tuesday, May 8, in AU Central, Asbury Building, during normal business hours (Wednesday from 10 am to 5 pm; 9 am to 5 pm all other days). Ticket distribution will move to the cap and gown distribution area on Wednesday, May 9 (locations and times listed under Regalia Rental Process).

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.

Graduates who do not need all of their tickets and have not promised them to friends or classmates can turn them back in during ticket pick-up for redistribution. Graduates seeking additional tickets can sign up on the "ticket wait list" for the chance to receive one additional ticket. Students will be contacted if a ticket becomes available. We do not know how many tickets will be available.

In order to accommodate guests without tickets, the ceremony will be shown live at a remote viewing location in Kogod Room 118 and Room 234, and live-streamed 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.

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).

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. The Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow committee commends American University's Class of 2018 with medals of recognition as they join the American University Alumni Association and generations of alumni who show their pride in and commitment to AU through philanthropic support every year. Thank you to all senior class donors. 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.