University Commencement brings students from all of the George Washington University's (GW) schools together for the conferral of their degrees. While individual names are not called, graduates rise as their degrees are announced by their deans and conferred by President Knapp. This year, University Commencement takes place on May 15.
Speakers & Honorary Degree Recipients
Speakers and honorary degree recipients are also an important part of GW's Commencement celebration. Each year, the University Commencement speaker, school celebration speakers and student speakers provide insight and advice to graduates. Honorary degree recipients are presented with GW degrees as a tribute to their life’s work.
School Celebration Ceremonies
Doctoral Hooding Ceremony
The Doctoral Hooding Ceremony honors doctoral candidates acquiring the highest degree in academics. Each candidate will be formally presented with their hood. Tickets are required to attend. The Doctoral Hooding Ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 12, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. at the Charles E. Smith Center. A reception will immediately follow in Oglethorpe Great Hall in Duquès Hall.
Phi Beta Kappa Induction Ceremony
President Knapp invites students in the top 10% of the senior class and top one percent of the junior class to join Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest and most prestigious academic honor society in the country. The induction ceremony is invite only and tickets are required. This ceremony will be held on Friday, May 19, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. in Lisner Auditorium.
Interfaith Baccalaureate Service
This service celebrates the diversity of faith traditions at GW that support our community’s commitment to service and learning. The program includes remarks from President Knapp, musical performances, meditations representing various faith traditions and student reflections. Baccalaureate is open to the entire GW community and the service is scheduled on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. at Western Presbyterian Church (2401 Virginia Avenue, NW).
All graduates of any program (undergraduate, graduate or doctorate) must apply to graduate. While the process may differ slightly depending on what school you are a part of, it is important for all graduates to understand the requirements and deadlines you must follow to celebrate commencement.
Undergraduate and graduate students will receive their diploma in the mail after Commencement. Doctoral students may pick up their diploma on campus or have it mailed to them. No matter which option you need, it is important to make sure your information is up-to-date to receive yours.
Graduates must pick up tickets for their guests to attend University Commencement on the National Mall and individual recognition ceremonies. You are responsible for taking the necessary actions to obtain tickets, which are distributed by your school and University Events.
Alternate Site Plan
University Commencement is held rain or shine. However, if an unexpected situation develops, you may have to follow GW’s Alternate Site Plan. Current information on the status of events is available 24/7 from Monday, May 15-Sunday, May 21, 2017 through Campus Advisories (202-994-5050).
Transportation & Parking
We encourage all attendees to take the Metro to the National Mall for University Commencement.
GW's committment to accessibility also applies to all of our Commencement ceremonies. We provide services such as support for wheelchair users and sign language interpreters for graduates and guests in attendance who need them.
Take the Virtual Tour
Use the Virtual Tour to prepare for your visit to GW, D.C. and even Commencement ceremonies. You can come to Commencement Week 2017 prepared by finding the locations for all of the events on your schedule and understanding how to get there.