2021 Commencement Celebration: Journey Through GW, Request for Information, & More

April 22, 2021

The trees are blooming, the birds are singing, and we’re just 23 days away from our university-wide virtual Commencement Celebration! Please see below for updates and reminders.


Commencement Speaker: Lonnie G. Bunch III

We were excited and grateful to announce this week that Lonnie G. Bunch III, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, will give GW’s university-wide commencement address. Secretary Bunch is the first African American and first historian to lead the Smithsonian Institution. He previously served as the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, one of the Smithsonian museums, and he has a strong connection to GW, having served as a museum studies and history professor at GW from 1990 to 2000. He’s an inspiring icon and we are honored that he will be our speaker this year for this #OnlyatGW moment.

Our schools and colleges are in the process of announcing their celebration speakers – stay tuned for those announcements.


Foggy Bottom Photo Opportunities: Journey Through GW

We’re excited to announce Journey Through GW, an in-person, choose-your-own-adventure experience that will take you to key locations on and around the Foggy Bottom campus that have played a significant role in shaping your experiences and personal journey at GW. As you walk through campus, keep an eye out for the new photo op installations, paired with signs that will direct you to a page on the Commencement website. The site will have a complete map of installations, along with featuring social media prompts for sharing your photos and reminders of social distancing guidelines while on campus

Journey Through GW will be ready for visitors the week before the university-wide Commencement, and some installations will remain on campus into the fall.

For students who can’t travel to Foggy Bottom or GW's other campuses to take photos, we’ll provide a virtual photo booth of GW graphic backgrounds, as well as photos of GW's campuses, for you and your families to engage with at home.


Get Ready to Graduate

The Get Ready to Graduate page on the Commencement site puts all of the information you need to graduate in one place. It provides links to apply to graduate, application deadlines, and information about updating your address and confirming your name for your diploma.

It also links to the Virtual Grad Fair, offered by Herff Jones, GW’s partner for ordering regalia and other graduation keepsakes. The Virtual Grad Fair allows students to learn more about the graduation products available and provides contact information for GW’s Herff Jones representative. Students can visit the Virtual Grad Fair here or text “GWU” to 844-411-4740.


Celebrate Anywhere

To help you celebrate your graduation anywhere, our Marketing and Creative Services team has designed an incredible set of downloadables, including printable and digital assets, which can be used on social media. Use them to celebrate this exciting occasion, no matter where you are – and don’t forget to tag GW’s accounts and use the hashtag #GWCommencement in all of your posts!



Share Your Favorite Memories

Please share your favorite memories from your years at GW for a chance to be featured in the 2021 virtual university-wide celebration! Go here to submit your photos and videos by Friday, April 23, 2021. Your photos and videos will help to personalize your Class of 2021 celebration.



You don’t need to order regalia for our virtual celebrations, but you have the option to do so if you would like to take photos at Journey Through GW or elsewhere. The Academic Dress (Regalia) page on our website has more information.


School Celebration Individual Recognition Slide

You should have received numerous emails encouraging you to complete your Commencement celebration individual recognition slide, which will be shown during your school celebration. 

To have your photo shown, you must submit a photo by midnight EDT on April 26, 2021. If no photo is submitted, a GW image or logo will be used on your slide.

Recent emails contained instructions for registering to complete your slide, including a personalized password link that is unique to your account. When registering, please make sure to use the email address that is on file with GW and your school. The email you have on file with GW was listed in the “Create Your School Celebration Individual Recognition Slide” email.

If you don't wish to participate in the Commencement celebration or have your name included in graduate recognition, you can opt out after logging in.

Reminder: graduates from GW Law and the M.D. program in the School of Medicine & Health Sciences are submitting individual recognition information via a different process than the one listed above. Law school and Medicine graduates should have received separate communications from your schools regarding their process for your individual recognition. Please reach out to your schools directly with any questions.


Raise High!!

GW Commencement