2013 Commencement

  • Kerry Washington speaking at commencement

    2013 Commencement Highlights

    Commencement speaker Kerry Washington, B.A. ’98, urged graduates to go beyond their comfort zones and live their own stories at the 2013 ceremony.

  • Students talking about GW

    GW in One Word

    The 2013 graduates of the George Washington University describe their time at GW and their commencement experience on the National Mall in just one word.


2013 Speakers

2013 Commencement Speaker Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington, actress, activist and GW alum

Kerry Washington, who graduated from the university magna cum laude in 1998 and previously served as a Board of Trustees member, has achieved acclaimed film success for her roles in “Django Unchained” and “Ray.” On TV, Ms. Washington stars as crisis communications consultant Olivia Pope in ABC’s “Scandal.” She is the first African American woman to headline a network TV show since 1974. Ms. Washington was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and also advises V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls.

Download a Transcript of Commencement
2013 Student Speaker, Alexander Zafran

Alexander Zafran, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences

Alexander Zafran, a classical studies major, made use of his Latin roots in a stirring speech that underscored core GW values— leadership, service and education. Mr. Zafran conveyed the development GW facilitates for students, noting that, though he entered as a political science major, it was the “resources, opportunity and support” that GW offered that allowed him to flourish and find his way to the classical studies program.


2013 Honorary Degree Recipients

Thad Allen

Thad Allen

Adm. Allen, senior vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton, gained national recognition in 2001 for his Coast Guard leadership following 9/11. He also helped manage the response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and the Deepwater Horizon Spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Adm. Allen is a member of the Trachtenberg School Advisory Board, a fellow at the National Academy of Public Administration, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the director of the Coast Guard Foundation and Partnership for Public Service.

Harriet Mayor Fulbright

Harriet Mayor Fulbright

Ms. Fulbright, former executive director of the Fulbright Association and honorary president of Harriet Fulbright College, has dedicated her life to the legacy begun by her late husband, Sen. J. William Fulbright. Ms. Fulbright’s teaching experience includes positions at Washington, D.C.’s historic Maret School and Ewha Women’s University in South Korea. She currently serves on the National Council for Education and Human Development. In 1997, President Bill Clinton named Ms. Fulbright the executive director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.


2013 Commencement Photos


Ordering photos and videos

Individual photos were taken of graduates as they crossed the stage during the school celebrations, and graduates should have received an email link and free passport-sized digital proof of their photos three to seven days after the celebrations. Graduates can place their orders online or call 800-261-2576. Individual photos of students are not taken during Sunday’s University Commencement.

Celebration DVDs

Commencement Weekend 2013 graduates and parents can purchase DVDs of school celebrations and Commencement from CYP Audio/Video Service, LLC by:

  • calling (301) 938-0468
  • visiting the website
  • emailing a request

2013 Commencement Social Media