Images of Past GW Commencement and Graduates

Commencement Details


Families and guests of our graduates are invited to Commencement Week events including University Commencement on the National Mall, school celebrations, receptions, and award ceremonies. We welcome visitors to our campus and want to make your visit as smooth as possible.

Commencement Week Schedule


Click on a topic below to learn more:




Know Before You Go


Commencement Day Schedule

We are thrilled to invite our Class of 2022 graduates and their families to the National Mall for University Commencement on May 15, 2022. The schedule for the day is: 

8:30 a.m.   Graduates should arrive wearing their regalia and line up by school

9:00 a.m.   Faculty should arrive wearing their regalia and report to the backstage check-in tent

9:30 a.m.   All guests should be seated

10:00 a.m.   Academic processions begin

10:30 a.m.   Remarks begin

12:00 p.m.   Ceremony ends

Graduate waving during commencement


National Mall Transportation


graphical presentation of Metro car


We encourage you to take the Metro. You can use the yellow, green, orange, blue, and silver lines. The most convenient exit stations for University Commencement on the National Mall are the Smithsonian Metro Station and Federal Triangle Metro Station. Use Metro’s trip planner and take travel time into consideration.

graphical presentation of bicycle

Alternative Transportation

There are also various Capital Bikeshare stations around the city, including near our campus and the mall.

graphical presentation of taxi

Driving & Taxis

Parking is extremely limited. Taxis are available throughout the city.

graphical presentation of cars


We urge guests to take the Metro, walk or take taxis during Commencement Week. If you do drive, parking is not guaranteed. For school celebrations or other events on campus, GW parking garages are available.  All GW parking garages are wheelchair accessible

Graduate Arrival & Checklist


Graduate Arrival to the National Mall

On Sunday, May 15, graduates should arrive by 8:30 a.m. at the processional lineup area behind the Commencement stage (near 7th and Madison Streets, NW). Graduates must show their Commencement credential to check in. Staff will direct you to line up by school.  Your school will assemble and process to its assigned seating area once the ceremony begins. Graduates with limited mobility may report to the backstage check-in tent located near Jefferson Drive.


Graduate Checklist

Please remember to:

  • Bring your Commencement credential
  • Wear your regalia; active service members may wear their dress uniform 
  • Limit personal items as there is no storage available 
  • Wear flat, closed-toe shoes and dress for the weather since the National Mall is an outdoor, grassy area



To make your check-in process as smooth as possible, please review the information below prior to your arrival.

There will be multiple checkpoints for guest and graduate entry on the National Mall for the Commencement Ceremony. Look for the entrance arches at each of the locations outlined below and see the map below. All graduates and guests will need a Commencement credential to attend. It is important to keep your credential with you at all times. If you lose your credential, you must either return to the Science and Engineering Hall (SEH) for a replacement or receive a temporary replacement from the tent located near the main entrance of guest seating at 12th Street and Madison Drive, NW (near the Smithsonian Metro station).

Guest seating is available to families and guests on a general admission basis after clearance at checkpoints. Guests must show their Commencement credential to check in. All guests should be seated and cleared of all aisles, by 9:30 a.m. This allows graduates to process in a safe, orderly, and timely manner.

ADA seating is available for guests with limited mobility;  they may be accompanied by one guest. Ushers will be available to assist with seating. 

Please see more information about guest check-in below.



Graduate Check-In

Class of 2022 graduates are requested to check in on 7th Street NW between Madison and Jefferson Drives. This is a graduate-only checkpoint. Graduates will be directed to line up for procession from there. 

Other guests are invited to enter Commencement at one of four checkpoints, as detailed on the Commencement map.



Guest Check-In

Other guests are invited to enter Commencement at one of four checkpoints, as detailed on the Commencement map.

Coming from the North:

  • 12th Street NW and Madison Drive
  • Madison Drive at the South entrance to the National Museum of Natural History

Coming from the South:

  • 12th Street NW and Jefferson Drive (entrance closest to the Smithsonian Metro)
  • Jefferson Drive at the North entrance to the Smithsonian Castle


National Mall Site Map

GW is the only university in Washington, D.C., to host Commencement on the National Mall. Surrounded by the iconic memorials and monuments of the Mall, graduates will gather together in celebration with their friends and family. 

View the Commencement site map to find graduate and guest check-in areas, bathrooms and water stations, ADA drop-off, accessible seating, first aid stations and more.

For more information on attending Commencement on the National Mall, visit the Frequently Asked Questions.

Commencement on the National Mall Map


Prohibited Items

The following items are prohibited on the National Mall:


  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Aerosols
  • Ammunition
  • Balloons
  • Explosives
  • Firearms


  • Fireworks
  • Glass containers
  • Laser Pointers
  • Mace/Pepper Spray
  • Structures (folding tables, chairs, tents, etc.)


  • Supports for signs
  • Unmanned Aerial System (Drones, Remote Control Aircraft)
  • Weapons of Any Kind
  • Any other item determined to be a potential hazard


More Info

In the event of inclement weather, umbrellas are allowed only outside of the guest seating area. We suggest that guests in the seating area bring ponchos or other wearable rain gear instead. 

Packages are permissible, but subject to inspection.

Reusable Water Bottles & Filling Stations


As part of GW’s commitment to eliminate single-use plastics and avoid waste, the university is asking Commencement attendees to bring their own reusable water bottle to events whenever possible. GW has installed water bottle filling stations in dozens of buildings and in eight outdoor locations on the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses. GW will also provide additional water bottle filling stations (GW-branded “Water Monsters”) during Commencement in six locations on the Foggy Bottom campus, including Kogan Plaza, University Yard, and outside the Charles E. Smith Center. Commencement on the Mall will also include a series of Quench Buggies, or large water dispensing trucks, where attendees can use their own bottles to fill up. There will be paper cups for attendees to use if needed. Please view the site map for locations.




In Case of Emergency

This event is held rain or shine, but if the National Park Service determines it is not safe to allow guests on the National Mall due to potential severe inclement weather, we will attempt to hold the ceremony on Sunday, May 15, at 11 a.m. for graduates only.  The delayed ceremony will be livestreamed at  Check the Commencement website periodically on May 15 for the latest information.


COVID-19 Health and Safety

Masks will not be required on the National Mall, but we will be abiding by the University’s COVID vaccine guidelines. All guests aged 5 and older are required to be fully vaccinated. Guests with a medical condition or a closely-held religious belief that prevent vaccination must show proof of a negative PCR or antigen test result within 24 hours of the event. GW has partnered with CLEAR Health Pass to provide an easy and secure way to demonstrate your proof of vaccination. Enrollment in the CLEAR Health Pass prior to the event is encouraged, but not required. Instructions on how to enroll are available online. Individuals who do not enroll in the CLEAR Health Pass will need to be prepared to show a copy of their vaccination card or a negative PCR or antigen test result within 24 hours of the event and a government-issued photo ID prior to entering the event.

separator line

Getting to Foggy Bottom Campus

Foggy Bottom is conveniently located in the heart of Washington, D.C., close to three major airports, including Ronald Reagan Washington National, Washington Dulles International, and Baltimore Washington International, as well as to Union Station where you can take the bus or train. The Foggy Bottom/GWU Metro stop is located right on campus, with service to the Orange, Blue, and Silver Metro lines.

Another popular way to get anywhere in the city is by bike. You can take advantage of over 4,000 bikes and 500+ bike stations around the District to bike to any of our events. Visit Capital Bikeshare for maps and details on how to access your bike to beat the traffic. 

Taxis are available throughout the city. Pricing depends on distance and the number of people. 


Foggy Bottom Campus Map (PDF)

Virtual Tour of Foggy Bottom Campus


separator line

Hotels and Lodging in Washington, D.C.


There are many options for lodging across the D.C. area, including some options that are close to the National Mall. Be sure to ask any hotel if they offer a discount for the weekend of GW’s Commencement.




separator line



separator line

Speakers and Awardees

Elana Meyers Taylor



Elana Meyers Taylor, B.S. ’06,
M.T.A. ’11, HON ’18, to Deliver Keynote Address

The two-time GW alumna and former softball star is the most decorated Black athlete in Winter Olympic history.

Speakers and Awardees




More Resources


Frequently Asked Questions         COVID-19 Health & Safety