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Parking & Transportation

Commencement ceremonies are held in Bender Arena. Doors open 45 minutes to one hour before each ceremony. Allow enough time to park and be seated ten minutes before the start of the ceremony, since the lobby is closed during the processional. There are no coat check facilities in Bender Arena. Graduates should leave coats, purses, etc. with a guest, locked in their vehicles or in a locker in the East Quad Building or University Library.

We encourage our guests to use public transportation, such as the DC Metro, and the complimentary AU Shuttle. Shuttle service runs between main campus and the Tenleytown-AU Metro station, which is on Metro's Red Line. Shuttle buses will run every 10 minutes from the Nebraska Avenue and McKinley/Letts shuttle stops. Please note that the north-side shuttle stop behind Kogod will not be in use and the tunnel roadway will be closed over commencement weekend.

Parking on campus will be limited over commencement weekend. One commencement parking pass valid for the Katzen or SIS garages 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 in the Bridge Café (formerly the lower level of the Campus Store) from May 9 - 12. 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. Note that parking permits issued by AU Parking and Traffic Services for use during the year will not be valid for parking during commencement weekend.

A limited amount of overflow spaces will be available at the 4801 Massachusetts Avenue building. AU shuttles will loop between 4801 Massachusetts Avenue and main campus on Saturday, May 12 (7 am to 11 pm) and Sunday, May 13 (8 am to 7 pm). Drop-off and pick-up will be located at the AU shuttle stop in front of Katzen Arts Center. Overflow parking spaces are first-come, first-served.

Guests with valid state issued handicapped permits/plates requiring accessible parking will be permitted to park in the Sports Center Parking Garage adjacent to Bender Arena. Parking spaces are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Drivers may also drop off guests with limited mobility at the accessible entrance before proceeding to their designated parking garage. This entrance, located on the south side of Bender Arena across from the Asbury Building, allows for ground-level access to the ceremony area. Public Safety staff will be present in the parking areas to direct vehicles to this entrance. Parking lots and the accessible entrance to Bender Arena are indicated on the campus map.

For guests with limited mobility, golf carts will circulate after each ceremony, to transport guests from the Bender Arena accessible entrance to the reception location. Transportation is on a first-come, first-served basis for approximately 30 minutes after the end of each ceremony. The campus map shows the suggested pedestrian route from the Bender Arena accessible exit to the various reception venues.

For additional information about special needs, please contact the Academic Support and Access Center by calling 202-885-3360 v/tty or email at