Sunday, May 22, 2016
Bender Arena
1:00 PM

American University Washington College of Law is pleased to announce United States Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch as the 2016 Commencement speaker.

Click here to see Commencement Webcasts from previous Commencement ceremonies.

Commencement Information

WCL's ceremony will be held in Bender Arena on Sunday, May 22. The event will begin promptly at 1:00 pm (doors open at noon). The ceremony will last approximately two hours, and will be followed by a reception on the AU Quadrangle. Tickets are not required.

Commencement Celebration

Dean Claudio Grossman cordially invites graduates, their family, and their friends on behalf of the Washington College of Law community to a reception being held to honor our 2016 class -- the first class to graduate from our new facility. The commencement reception will be held on Saturday, May 21, 2016 in the Claudio Grossman Hall and surrounding venues at the new Tenley campus. This will be a great opportunity for our community to celebrate our graduates' accomplishments at our new law school campus.

The reception will be from 5:30pm-7:30pm. Graduating students must complete this form by Friday, May 6, 2016 to RSVP. Please note that there is a limit of five guests per graduate (a total of six including the graduate) to the reception and ONLY graduating students can complete the form.

Graduation Week & Commencement Activities

The Student Bar Association has planned several activities the week prior to the Commencement Ceremony for graduating students to help celebrate this achievement! Please visit the Graduation Week website here for more information.


We have made arrangements with the following hotels for discounts:

  • Courtyard by Marriott Chevy Chase: (May 20-May 23) $119.00 per night plus tax for a king bed with pullout sofa, or two queen beds, or a standard king bed (NEW! As of 3/8/16). Please use this direct link to book your reservation or call 301-828-3364 x7000 Monday - Friday 8:00am-4:30pm to book with Kiuana Smith, our reservation coordinator. Make sure to include that you are booking the AUWCL Commencement room block. You may also contact Marriott worldwide reservations at 1-800-321-2211.

  • Embassy Suites at the Chevy Chase Pavilion: (May 20-May 23) $199.00 per night for King-bedded suites; each suite has a king size bed in the bedroom and a queen size bed inside the sofa sleeper in the living room. This rate does not include taxes or parking. All registered guests receive a complimentary full breakfast as well as our Evening Reception included in the rate. Reservations may be made by calling 1-800-EMBASSY and requesting the Chevy Chase Pavilion hotel or calling 1-888-324-2728. Please refer to group booking code WCL and then reservations can be placed in the block. Reservations can also be made online at and going to the reservation page and entering our group code WCL in the window, which brings you directly to our block. Reservations must be made by April 6th.

Additional area hotels can be found here.


Parking on campus will be limited over commencement weekend. One commencement parking pass will be issued to each graduate with their academic regalia. The parking pass will be valid for a designated time period and parking garage based on the graduate's school/college.

Graduates will receive specific information when they pick up their passes during Regalia Distribution in the Campus Store from May 20 to 21. 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. Parking lots are indicated on the campus map.

Overflow parking will be available on a first-come, first-served basis in satellite parking lots including the Washington College of Law campus. Shuttle service will be provided to and from campus. Additional details will be announced later in the semester.

Please consider the following alternative ways to get to campus:

  • AU Shuttle
  • MetroRail & MetroBus
  • Taxi
  • Uber, Lyft or ZipCar

Ride FREE with Uber!
Avoid driving and ride with Uber for free to Commencement! Download the app, create an account and use the promo code WCLGRAD16 for $20 off your first ride. Already use Uber? Share your personal promo code and get $15 off your next ride.

Academic Regalia

To place an order to purchase or rent your academic regalia, please visit and search for American University. From there, select Spring Commencement, then Washington College of Law, and Doctorate for JD graduates or Masters for LLM graduates. Feel free to stop by the Office of Student Affairs in C107 if you need to use a Herff Jones Cap measurer to help select the correct cap size.

All orders must be placed by Friday, April 15, 2016. Orders placed after April 15th may incur additional fees.

PICK-UP OF REGALIA: Friday, May 20, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Saturday, May 21, 11:00 am - 3:00 pm and Sunday, May 22, beginning at 10:00 am in the Campus Store (Butler Pavilion) on the main campus above Bender Arena.

RETURN OF REGALIA: Sunday, May 22, following the ceremony, until 6:00 pm, in the Campus Store (Butler Pavilion). The University requires that we hold transcripts and bar forms of those who do not return regalia.

Contact Student Affairs Coordinator, Maura Ryan, at or 202-274-4030 if you have any questions.


Commencement Ceremony

Graduating LL.M. students should be robed and at Bender Arena no later than 11:30 am for the group photo. Graduating J.D. students should be robed and at Bender Arena no later than 11:45 am for the group photo. You will line up alphabetically for the academic procession at 12:15 pm. The ceremony will begin promptly at 1:00 pm.

Access for Persons with Disabilities

  • PARKING: Guests requiring disability parking will be permitted to park in the lots next to the Asbury and Osborn buildings (see campus map). We recommend that you arrive at least 45 minutes prior to the ceremony, when doors open to Bender Arena. Disability parking spaces are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • ACCESSIBLE ENTRANCE: Drivers may also drop off guests with limited mobility at an accessible entrance before finding parking on campus. This entrance, located on the south side of Bender Arena across from the Asbury Building, allows for ground-level access to the arena floor. Public Safety staff will be present in the parking areas to direct vehicles to this entrance.

  • SPECIAL SEATING: A seating section, located next to the ground-level entrance to Bender Arena, will be available for senior citizens and persons with physical disabilities and their families. Reservations are not required. Seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign language interpreters will be provided.

Admission tickets are NOT required and seating is open. For further information please call 202-274-4030.

Graduation Reception

A reception for graduates and their guests will be held on the university campus quadrangle immediately following the ceremony. Tickets are not necessary.

Your Name

If you think your name might be mispronounced or do not want it read as it is to appear on your diploma, please contact your corresponding program staff member with phonetic pronunciations:

Graduation Clearance

You may call the Office of the Registrar (202-274-4080) on Friday afternoon (May 20) AFTER 1PM and we will tell you if you are clear at that time. Also, should a problem arise we will make every effort to call you immediately.

Safety Regulations

American University welcomes all guests. To ensure the comfort of our guests and in accordance with local fire safety laws, aisles must be kept clear at all times. Guests are asked to cooperate with ushers and public safety officers and to keep designated areas clear.

No large bags (backpacks, briefcases, duffel bags, etc.) will be permitted inside Bender Arena. Large signs, banners, noise makers and other objects that impede visibility or sound will not be permitted.

Alumnus/a in the Family?

Do you have a family member who is also a WCL alumnus/a attending graduation? If so, Dean Claudio Grossman and the Office of Development & Alumni Relations would like to extend an invitation to a brunch before commencement on May 22.

Please call Sam Edwards at 202-274-4183, or email with the names of the people who will be attending.