Commencement Information

Overview Information for Commencement

AUWCL's ceremony will be held in Bender Arena on Sunday, May 17. 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 in the Mary Graydon Center adjacent to Bender Arena. Tickets are not required.

During the Commencement ceremony, the livestream can be viewed here:

Saturday, May 16, 2020
American University Washington College of Law
Claudio Grossman Hall, Terrace Level
11:00am – 1:00pm

Dean Camille Nelson on behalf of the American University Washington College of Law community cordially invites graduates, their family, and friends to honor the graduating Class of 2020. We welcome guests to enjoy our Tenley Campus as we celebrate our graduates’ accomplishments in the presence of their family and the extended AUWCL community.

*Please note there is a limit of five guests per graduate (a total of six including the graduate) to the reception, so as to provide proper space and catering for all to enjoy.

August 2019 graduates (who have not already participated in last year's ceremony), December 2019 graduates, May 2020 graduates, and June 2020 MLS graduates are invited to participate in the Commencement Ceremony on May 17, 2020.

Prospective August 2020 JD and LLM graduates may participate in the ceremony with approval from the Dean of Students, David Jaffe. Students must be less than 8 credits from the degree requirement, and registered for the necessary credits during the summer term. Prospective June 2020 MLS candidates who are completing their final 6 credits may participate in the ceremony with approval from the Director of Online Learning, Cathy Schenker.  Submit the Commencement Ceremony Participation Request form for approval to attend this year's ceremony.

Only the names of August 2019, December 2019, and May 2020 graduates will appear in the printed commencement program. Names of August 2020 and June 2020 graduates will appear in the following year's program.

If you are not planning to attend the ceremony, please notify

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

For Commencement 2020: We have made arrangements with the following hotels:

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 YT15. (All students, including students who ordered regalia with direct shipping, must stop by YT15 during regalia distribution in order to receive a parking pass.) 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.

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

Good Neighbor Policy
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.

To place an order to 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 and 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.

The last day to order regalia online is April 12, 2020.

Graduates who did not pre-order regalia can rent regalia on campus during the Pick-Up of Regalia windows listed below and pay upon pick-up. We encourage folks who did not pre-order to come earlier in the window to ensure the best fit.

For information about how to wear your cap and gown, an instructional video can be found here. Note that tassels should be worn on the right when the ceremony begins.

PICK-UP OF REGALIA: Graduates must pick up regalia from WCL's campus in YT15 during the following days/times:

  • Tuesday, May 12: 12 pm-3 pm
  • Wednesday, May 13: 12 pm-3 pm
  • Thursday, May 14: 12 pm-7 pm
  • Friday, May 15: 12 pm-6 pm
  • Saturday, May 16: 11 am-2 pm
  • Sunday, May 17: 9 am-6 pm

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: Regalia can be returned on WCL's campus beginning on Sunday, May 17 following the ceremony through Monday, May 18 to YT15. Graduates who ordered regalia for home delivery can return the regalia via return mail (shipping labels were provided in your order). The University requires that we hold transcripts and bar forms of those who do not return regalia.

  • Sunday, May 17: 9 am-6 pm
  • Monday, May 18: 10 am-6 pm

Graduates who are unable to return their regalia by the deadline, 5/18 at 6 pm, 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. HerffJones will fill your dual degree (e.g. MBA, MA) order out of the spare regalia.

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

Graduating LL.M. and MLS students should be robed and at Bender Arena no later than 11:15 am for the group photo. Graduating J.D. students should be robed and at Bender Arena no later than 11:30 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.

  • 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).

  • 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.

A reception for graduates and their guests will be held in the Mary Graydon Center (next to Bender Arena) immediately following the ceremony. Tickets are not necessary.

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:

You may call the Office of the Registrar (202-274-4080) on Friday afternoon (May 15) 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.

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.

Do you have a family member who is also a WCL alumnus/a attending graduation? If so, Dean Camille Nelson and the Office of Development & Alumni Relations would like to extend an invitation to a brunch before commencement on May 17.

Please call Alumni Relations at 202-274-4050, or email with the names of the people who will be attending.

AUIDs and Lockers

Your AU ID card has been automatically extended until August 15th even though your card has an expiration date of 5/31/2020.  

Your locker will be cleaned out and reassigned for new incoming students starting July 1st. If you would like to use your locker during the summer as you study for the bar exam, please renew your locker by May 31st. This will extend your locker reservation until August 1st at which time we will begin the clean out and reassignment process.

Instructions for Renewing Lockers

  1. Go to and enter your AU username and password
  2. This will show the locker assigned to you. Click the button at the bottom to renew.

Shower Locker Room Access

Graduates who have requested access to WCL's locker rooms will have access using their AUIDs until August 15th.


Students who have purchased a year-long parking pass or Spring 2020 parking pass do NOT need to purchase additional parking passes for the bar prep period. Special parking passes for graduates studying for the bar are available through the WCL Facilities office. Passes are good through the end of July and cost $135. They can be purchased in person in the Facilities office (YT05).

Gym Membership

A supplemental gym membership will be available to graduates studying for the bar. The membership will run from June 1st through July 31st and will cost $59 total. Graduates can sign up at the fitness center front desk starting on May 18th, and the fee can be paid in person via cash, check, Eaglebucks, or credit card.


The last day of academic year 2019-2020’s UPass program is May 20th. Your UPass will be active through that date.