Frequently Asked Questions

The information below pertains to the graduation celebration being held in October 2021.

separator line

What is the October 2 University Commencement on the National Mall?

University Commencement takes place on the National Mall and is open to all 2020 and 2021 graduates, from associate's, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs, to come and celebrate their achievements. This event requires tickets and includes remarks from GW leadership and other speakers.

How is this Commencement on the National Mall different from the May 2020 or 2021 virtual celebrations?

The university-wide virtual celebrations allowed the university to confer degrees and host school and college events as scheduled on the university’s academic calendar. This in-person event on October 2 is the celebration previously promised to graduates that will allow the Classes of 2020 and 2021 to celebrate their achievements in-person with friends, family, and the GW community.

Commencement on the National Mall

When and where is the ceremony on the National Mall taking place?

We will celebrate the Classes of 2020 and 2021 in-person on the National Mall on Saturday, October 2 at 11am between 7th and 14th Streets. More information about the site will be forthcoming.

Will there be separate ceremonies for the Classes of 2020 and 2021?  

In order to celebrate this milestone occasion for all graduates who opt to return, we will host one special event that will provide an exciting, engaging experience for all. This joint event will recognize the achievements of each class individually.

In addition to the ceremony on the National Mall, will there be individual school and college celebrations?

The university does not plan to hold school and college graduation celebrations in October. 

Which graduates are being invited to participate in the ceremony on the National Mall?

All graduates from the Classes of 2020 and 2021, both undergraduate and graduate, are invited to participate in this ceremony.  This includes all graduates from Summer 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Summer 2021.

If I didn’t participate in the virtual Commencement celebrations in May 2020 and May 2021, can I still participate in the National Mall ceremony?

Yes. You will need to register to confirm your desired participation when registration opens.

If I applied to graduate at the end of summer 2021, can I participate in the National Mall ceremony?

Yes. You will need to register to confirm your desired participation when registration opens.

When does registration open?

Information about registration is forthcoming.

Will guests be able to attend?

Class of 2020 and 2021 graduates will be offered up to four guest tickets.

I am an alum from a class other than 2020 and 2021. Can I attend the Commencement ceremony on the National Mall as a guest?  Do I need a ticket?

Alumni from previous graduating classes are welcome to attend Commencement on the National Mall as guests. Please register with us to confirm your desired participation when registration opens.

Will there be faculty and administration participation? 

Information is forthcoming.

When should graduates and guests arrive at Commencement?

Arrival times for graduates and guests are forthcoming.

Will there be a Commencement speaker?

Yes. More information is forthcoming.

Will there be a speaker from the Classes of 2020 and 2021?

Yes. We will share more information as it is available.

Will GW cover costs for graduates who need to travel back to D.C. for Commencement?

We have negotiated with hotels to provide discounted lodging. Please see hotel information below. 

Hotel Information

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.

In addition, we have worked with Destination DC to secure blocks of rooms at several hotels for October 1 and October 2. See the hotel list below for details.

separator line

Regalia and Keepsakes

Is regalia required to attend the event on the National Mall?

Regalia for University Commencement is encouraged but not required. 

Where can I find more information about regalia purchase or rental?

The Academic Dress (Regalia) page has more information about ordering regalia.

What is the last day I can order regalia in order to receive it in time for the ceremony on October 2?

You must order regalia by the dates below in order to have it in time:

Bachelor or Master - September 10

Doctoral Rental Regalia - September 10

Doctoral Custom Purchase - August 17

J.D. Regalia Rental - August 13

I rented regalia for the virtual celebrations in May. Can I hold onto it until after the October 2 ceremony?

Herff Jones is allowing all 2021 doctoral and law graduates to hold onto their regalia at no additional cost until Tuesday, October 19 in order to accommodate those who may consider attending the in-person event. 

How and when do I return doctoral rental regalia?

Regalia returns are due back to the Herff Jones plant by Tuesday, October 19. A prepaid label will be included in your shipment for you to return your regalia.

If I rented regalia previously and sent it back to Herff Jones, will GW cover the cost of a new rental for the in-person celebration?   

Regalia rental costs are the responsibility of the graduate. Please note that regalia is encouraged but not required for participation in Commencement on the National Mall in October.

Can I still order keepsakes?

Herff Jones, Inc. offers several graduation keepsakes including personalized announcements to send to your family and friends, diploma frames to display your diploma, and class rings to showcase your GW affiliation.  

The GW Campus Store offers alumni clothing and gifts.

 

separator line

Celebrating Online

What if I can’t attend the in-person ceremony on the National Mall?

University Commencement will be live-streamed on the web and social media on the day of the event. Viewing options will be posted on the Commencement homepage in the weeks leading up to the event.

What if I can’t tune in for the Commencement live stream? 

Following the live streaming of the event, a video recording will be posted on the Commencement website for later viewing. Recordings will be posted soon after the original airing.

 

separator line

The GW Centuries Celebration Weekend

When is The GW Centuries Celebration Weekend?

The GW Centuries Celebration Weekend will take place the weekend of October 1, with the October 2 Commencement on the National Mall serving as an in-person celebratory welcome to the alumni community for the Classes of 2020 and 2021.

What activities are taking place during The GW Centuries Celebration Weekend?

The GW Centuries Celebration Weekend is the combination of the Commencement ceremony on the National Mall for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 on October 2, 2021, as well as in-person events and activities for alumni, students and their families beginning October 1, 2021. It will also include the closing of GW's Bicentennial Celebration. We are excited to share information about the remaining schedule of events for the GW Centuries Celebration Weekend when it becomes available.

How do I register for The GW Centuries Celebration Weekend activities? 

Information about registration is forthcoming.