Commencement Information

Commencement 2023 Information

AUWCL's ceremony will be held in Bender Arena on Saturday, May 20. The event will begin promptly at 12:00 pm (doors open at 11:00am). The ceremony will last approximately two hours. Tickets are required.

View the webcast here.

Commencement Speaker

The Honorable Ketanji Brown Jackson, Doctor of Laws

Ketanji Brown Jackson was born in Washington, DC, on September 14, 1970. She married Patrick Jackson in 1996, and they have two daughters. Jackson received an AB, magna cum laude, from Harvard University’s Radcliffe College in 1992, and a JD, cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1996. She served as a law clerk for Judge Patti B. Saris of the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts from 1996 to 1997, Judge Bruce M. Selya of the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit from 1997 to 1998, and Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1999 term. After three years in private practice, Jackson worked as an attorney at the US Sentencing Commission from 2003 to 2005. From 2005 to 2007, she served as an assistant federal public defender in Washington, DC, and from 2007 to 2010, she was in private practice. She served as a vice chair and commissioner on the US Sentencing Commission from 2010 to 2014. In 2012, President Obama nominated Jackson to the US District Court for the District of Columbia, where she served from 2013 to 2021. She was appointed to the Defender Services Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States in 2017, and the Supreme Court Fellows Commission in 2019. President Biden appointed her to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2021 and then nominated her as an associate justice of the Supreme Court, where Jackson took her seat on June 30, 2022. 


Awards Ceremony: Invitation only.

Graduate Reception: WCL will host a reception on our campus on Friday, May 19 from 4:00-6:00pm in Claudio Grossman Hall. More information, including RSVP, is forthcoming.


August 2022 graduates (who have not already participated in last year's ceremony), December 2022 graduates (who did not participate in the December ceremony), March 2023 graduates, May 2023 graduates, and June 2023 graduates (who have six or fewer credits to complete their degree) are invited to participate in the Commencement Ceremony.

Prospective August 2023 graduates may request permission to participate in the ceremony by completing the Commencement Ceremony Participation Request form, and submitting it to Students must be fewer than 8 credits from the degree requirement, and registered for the necessary credits during the summer term. Submit the Commencement Ceremony Participation Request form for approval to attend this year's ceremony.

Only the names of August 2022, December 2022, March 2023, May 2023, and June 2023 graduates will appear in the printed commencement program. Names of August 2023 graduates will appear in the following year's program.

If you intend to graduate in May, you must complete the online Application to Graduate form on Eagle Service. Joint Degree students in AU main campus programs must submit a separate application for each degree (MA, MBA, MPA, etc.) when appropriate. You can edit your diploma name and mailing address there any time after it has been submitted. 

Whether or not you plan to attend commencement, all students must complete this application on the portal. This form is separate from any clearance paperwork that you fill out for your school or college. Students who fail to complete their application will need to apply to graduate in the summer or fall. If you have any questions, contact

Submission of the graduation application triggers a review of your academic record, puts you on track to receive future commencement mailings and updates, and helps to ensure that your name is listed in the printed commencement program. 


The Student Bar Association will plan activities the week prior to the Commencement Ceremony for graduating students to help celebrate this achievement!


American University has negotiated discounted rates with local area hotels located conveniently to the campus. Reservations for travel can be booked directly with the hotel via the Campus Travel Management Portal.


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.

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


In accordance with Washington, DC, regulations and the University’s “Good Neighbor Policy,” all guests, students, faculty, and staff driving to campus for the commencement ceremonies are required to park in a designated parking garage with the appropriate parking pass. Parking is prohibited on all neighborhood streets while visiting any university property.


Purchase of academic regalia is used as confirmation of your participation in commencement. To place an order to rent your academic regalia, graduates will visit (portal will open no later than March 1) and search for American University. From there, select Spring Commencement, then Washington College of Law, and Doctorate for JD, SJD, and LLM graduates or Masters for MLS graduates. Feel free to stop by the Office of Student Affairs in C101 if you need to use a Herff Jones Cap measurer to help select the correct cap size.

Regalia must be ordered online. The last day to order regalia at the best price is April 2, 2023. The cost for regalia and shipping both increase for the final order date of April 12, 2023.

PICK-UP OF REGALIA: Graduates who did not have regalia shipped to their home must pick up regalia from Mary Graydon Center Room 200 during the following days/times:

  • Thursday, May 18 12-5pm
  • Friday, May 19 12-5pm
  • Saturday, May 20 11am-4pm

Please bring an ID (AUID or government-issued). Proxies can pick up on another student's behalf: proxies should bring a copy of the other student's receipt and be prepared to sign on the other student's behalf.

RETURN OF REGALIA: Students who chose campus pick up must return regalia to the AU campus store on Saturday, May 20 no later than 4pm. Graduates who ordered regalia for home delivery can return the regalia via return mail (shipping labels were provided in your order) by May 26. The University requires that we hold transcripts and bar forms of those who do not return regalia.

Graduates who are unable to return their regalia by the deadline, 5/20 at 4pm, can return regalia via mail to the following address. Graduates who do not return regalia in a timely manner may face additional fees.

Herff Jones, Inc. Cap and Gown Division
1000 N Market St.
Champaign, IL 61820

DUAL DEGREE: Students graduating with dual degrees pay the rental for the JD regalia and then bring the JD receipt to the main campus regalia distribution. Herff Jones will fill your dual degree (e.g. MBA, MA) order out of the spare regalia.

Diploma name verification

Students can use a chosen first, middle, and last name(s) on their diplomas. Chosen names may include nicknames, anglicized names, initials, mononyms, names that reflect gender identity, or family name(s). Even if your chosen name has not changed since you first applied to AU, please take a moment to check your application to graduate on Eagle Service to verify the spelling (José Rodríguez or Jose Rodriguez), punctuation (Al Shamsi or Al-Shamsi), spacing (La Barge or Labarge), and capitalization (Dewitt or DeWitt) of your diploma name.  

If you have trouble editing the name or address fields on your submitted Graduation Application, contact with the correct spelling, address, etc. 

namecoach and recognition of graduates at commencement

NameCoach will create a professionally recorded reading of your diploma name, which will appear on screen when you cross the stage at commencement. Eligible graduates and candidates for degrees will receive a unique NameCoach registration link beginning March 6. The link allows each graduate to record their name to ensure it is pronounced correctly. The deadline to submit name pronunciation is April 2. If. If a student made eligible for graduation does not submit a recorded name, NameCoach name readers will pronounce their diploma names as accurately as they can.

spring commencement ticket information

Tickets will be required for admittance to the Spring Commencement ceremonies. An allotment of six (6) tickets will be distributed to students who have registered to participate by ordering their cap and gown. Graduates will not need a ticket for themselves. Registered students will receive a unique link to their AU email to access their electronic tickets prior to the ceremony. We are unable to guarantee requests for additional tickets but will add the request to a waitlist. To be added to the waitlist, email


All graduating students should be robed and at their designated site within Bender Arena no later than 11:00 am. The ceremony will begin promptly at 12:00 pm.

Disability ACCESS

  • PARKING: Guests requiring disability parking will be permitted to park in the Sports Center Garage. 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. To utilize this entrance or the accessible parking, enter campus from the Fletcher Gate (see map for details).
  • ACCESSIBLE 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. Onsite CART captioning will be provided.

Admission tickets are required and seating is open. For further information please contact the Student Affairs Office at 202-274-4030 or


Expect a confirmation email of your degree clearance from the Registrar before the end of business on Friday, May 19, 2023.


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.


To protect the health and safety of the entire American University community, we require all commencement participants to agree to and abide by American University Health and Safety Directives and the District of Columbia public health and safety requirements. Graduates or guests exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 should not attend commencement.  

As of May 11, COVID vaccinations and boosters will be strongly recommended, but not required for AU community members and guests, including commencement attendees.

Requirements for Graduates Participating in Commencement:

Graduating students must be registered to participate in commencement. A student’s regalia order serves as their registration to participate. 

Requirements for Guests Attending Commencement:

Tickets will be required for admittance to the Spring Commencement ceremonies. Children three and older will require a ticket.

Any Questions?

Contact the Student Affairs Office at or 202-274-4030 if you have any questions.