Families & Guests

Families of graduates watching Commencement

The families and guests of our graduates are a key part of Commencement ceremonies at the George Washington University (GW). While you need to obtain tickets from your graduates to attend ceremonies, you are invited to a variety of events including University Commencement on the National Mall; school celebration ceremonies, receptions and award ceremonies; Phi Beta Kappa Induction Ceremony; and interfaith baccalaureate.

GW welcomes visitors to campus and to our events. To make your visit as smooth as possible, there are various accessibility-related services you can use, transportation advice and maps to help you get to where you need to be.

Congratulations on celebrating your graduate. We hope to see you during the 2019 Commencement Week.


Some families need visas to attend Commencement. If you are an international guest and do need it, your graduate must complete the Office of the Registrar’s Request for Certification form and indicate an “invitation letter” as the certification type. Take into account the processing time when planning for Commencement. Please complete this form by Friday, May 3, 2019.

IMPORTANT: President Trump's executive order "Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Entry into the United States" includes a ban on entry in to the U.S. of nationals from six countries (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) for 90 days subject to certain exceptions and case-by-case waivers where visas may be granted. The new executive order does not apply to individuals from the six countries who hold a valid visa to depart and re-enter the U.S. However, travel for current valid visa holders is still risky until it becomes clear how the order will be implemented. Dual nationals who present a passport of a non-designated country and lawful permanent residents (green card holders) are excluded from the order. GW's International Services Office will update the university community periodically on the implementation of the order.


Plan for Commencement

Preparing for Commencement

Map of the 2018 Commencement site

Last Year's (2018) Map of the Commencement Site (PDF)

Download a map of this year's Commencement site to see seating, graduate line-up locations and more.

Front of One Washington Circle, an official GW Hotel

Book a Hotel

There are two official GW Hotels: The George Washington University Inn and One Washington Circle. If these hotels are booked or you chose to stay elsewhere, there are many options across the city. Be sure to ask any hotel if they offer a discount for GW’s Commencement.

Commencement for Families & Guests

GW Commencement schedule

Commencement Schedule for Families & Guests

Guests can arrive to University Commencement as soon as 7:00 a.m. and must be seated by 9:00 a.m. Graduate processions begin at 9:30 a.m. Review the alternate site plan and stay informed with Campus Advisories.

Find the schedule
Icon of sign language


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.

Use our accessibility services
Icon of Metro car

Transportation & Parking

We encourage all attendees to take the Metro to the National Mall for University Commencement. 

Find transportation options
GW Commencement Tickets

Get Tickets from Your Graduate

While families and guests are invited to celebrate their graduate, tickets are required for University Commencement and individual recognition ceremonies. Your graduates are responsible for obtaining these tickets and distributing them to you prior to each event.

Remembering Commencement

View of graduates sitting in front of the Capitol.

Photos & Videos

Within seven days, graduates should receive a link and proof of a photo of them walking across the stage at their school ceremony. You can order online or call 800-261-2576. You can also purchase DVDs of school celebrations and University Commencement or order by email or phone (301-938-0468).

GW graduate with GW sunglasses and a GW sticker on her face


If you’re interested in other memorabilia, like t-shirts, mugs or hats, the GW Campus Store has many offerings. You can visit while you are on campus or order your gear online.