Photo Credit: Washington College of Law

Commencement Information

Overview Information for Commencement

WCL's ceremony will be held in Bender Arena on Sunday, May 20. 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.

Saturday, May 19, 2018
American University Washington College of Law
Claudio Grossman Hall, Terrace Level
11:00am – 1:00pm

RSVP here*
Deadline to RSVP: Friday, May 11

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 2018. We welcome guests to enjoy the new AUWCL 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 2017 graduates (who have not already participated in last year's ceremony), December 2017 graduates, and May 2018 graduates are invited to participate in the Commencement Ceremony on May 20, 2018.

Prospective August 2018 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. Submit the Commencement Ceremony Participation Request form for approval to attend this year's ceremony.

Only the names of August 2017, December 2017, and May 2018 graduates will appear in the printed commencement program. Names of August 2018 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 2018: We have made arrangements with the following hotels for discounts at the Courtyard by Marriott Chevy Chase. May 18-May 21 guests of graduates can stay for $139.00 per night (plus tax). 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.

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 Butler Pavilion, 2nd floor, Bridge Lounge (formerly the lower level of the Campus Store) from May 18 to 20. 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

On Commencement 2018 weekend (May 19-20), Metro will be running free shuttle buses, instead of trains, between Dupont Circle and Van Ness-UDC stations in order to do important maintenance and repair work. Trains will run every 10 minutes on the Red Line during the day and every 15 minutes in the evening.

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 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.

PICK-UP OF REGALIA: Graduates must pick up regalia in the Butler Pavilion, 2nd floor, Bridge Lounge (formerly the lower level of the Campus Store) on the main campus above Bender Arena during the following days/times:

  • Friday, May 18 anytime from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Saturday, May 19 anytime from 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
  • Sunday, May 20 beginning at 10:00 am

RETURN OF REGALIA: Sunday, May 20, following the ceremony, until 6:00 pm, in the Butler Pavilion, 2nd floor, Bridge Lounge (formerly the lower level of the Campus Store). The University requires that we hold transcripts and bar forms of those who do not return regalia.

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

Graduating LL.M. 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.

  • 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 18) 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 20.

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