You are here: American University President Announcements April 14, 2021

AU Memo Letterhead

Dear AU Community,

As we navigate the ongoing transition period in the pandemic, one of our priorities is to safely expand opportunities for our community as conditions permit. With our continued ramp up in face-to-face activities, I am excited to share that we will be able to hold an in-person commencement experience! While we must remain vigilant in following health and safety guidance, we know this is an important milestone in our journey.

Finding a way to safely celebrate our graduates in-person has been a goal since COVID-19 first interrupted our commencement ceremonies in 2020. One of the moments I have missed the most this past year is seeing the joy and sense of achievement in each graduate as they cross the Bender Arena stage. Now, after extensive planning, safety preparations, and coordination with Washington, DC health officials, Spring 2021 and Class of 2020 main campus and WCL graduates (spring, summer, and fall) are invited to join an in-person commencement experience in May.

As part of this opportunity for an in-person Commencement Procession, each graduate that wishes to participate will be part of a modified program with me, Provost Starr, Vice President Aw, and the dean from their respective school or college. We will take photographs (from a distance, wearing masks) and names of each graduate will be read as they cross the Bender Arena stage, though there will be differences from our traditional commencement ceremonies. Our graduates have worked so hard and achieved so much; we are glad they can have this special moment that is so well-deserved. The in-person commencement experience will be in addition to our online celebrations.

Graduates will receive an email to their AU email accounts with dates for the in-person commencement experience and a unique link to register for a 15-minute time slot based on their schools. Registration is required for the in-person commencement experience and must be completed by 5 p.m. EDT, Monday, April 26. We apologize for the short notice, but we just received approval from the DC government. We are working as quickly as possible to make this experience memorable for our graduates and comply with DC health requirements.

We know graduation is an important moment to share with family and friends. However, to maintain compliance with health and safety protocols, guests are not permitted at the Commencement Procession. We are sorry that Bender cannot be full of cheering guests, but please know that the entire AU family will be applauding our graduates. A livestream of the in-person commencement experience will be available. Additional information and FAQs are on the commencement website.

As the semester rapidly comes to close, I hope this news comes as an exciting and hopeful mark of our return to more regular in-person opportunities. Congratulations to our soon-to-be graduates and I am looking forward to seeing you in Bender Arena!

Be safe and be well.