Commencement Highlights Moments from Past Ceremonies
American University awarded its first degrees (two doctorates and one master's degree) in 1916 at a commencement ceremony held in the university's amphitheater. AU commencements have grown over the years as the university has become larger and more diverse. More than two thousand students from AU's six schools and colleges participate in commencement ceremonies each year.
Past honorary degree recipients and commencement speakers have included U.S. presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Bill Clinton, as well as Nobel laureates, Supreme Court justices, scholars, journalists, artists, and international figures and national leaders.