Three students in GW graduation clothing

Frequently Asked Questions

The information below pertains to Commencement Week 2022. 

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Commencement on the National Mall

 

What is Commencement on the National Mall?

University Commencement brings together students from all of The George Washington University's (GW) schools for the conferral of their degrees. The ceremony takes place on the National Mall and is open to all 2022 graduates, from associate's, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs, to come and celebrate their achievements. This event includes remarks from GW leadership and other speakers.

When and where is the Commencement Ceremony taking place?

We will celebrate the Class of 2022 on Sunday, May 15, 2022, on the National Mall. More information is forthcoming.

When does registration open?

Registration is now open. Visit the How to Register page for more information.

If I was unable to participate in the October 2021 Commencement celebrations for the Classes of 2020 and 2021, can I still participate in Commencement on the National Mall 2022?

Only eligible graduates from the Class of 2022 may attend. 

Will guests be able to attend?

Class of 2022 graduates who have registered for Commencement on the National Mall may bring up to six guests. The registration system will provide an opportunity to submit their details at the time of registration.

I am an alum. Can I attend Commencement 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 registered guests of 2022 graduates.

When do graduates receive individual recognition during Commencement Week celebrations and ceremonies?

At school celebrations, graduates' names are read aloud, and they walk across the stage and shake hands with their dean. No graduate names are announced at Commencement on the National Mall; the deans of each school will call graduates to stand at their seats as a group and the president of the university confers the degrees to the entire graduating class. Diplomas are not distributed at either ceremony; they are mailed to graduates over the summer to the address on file with the Registrar's office.  Please visit the Commencement Week Schedule for information about school and college celebrations and special ceremonies.

I am a member of the Class of 2022. Can I apply to be the Student Commencement Speaker?

All members of the graduating Class of 2022 were invited to apply for the #OnlyatGW opportunity of a lifetime to address their classmates and other members of the GW community at the May 15, 2022, university-wide Commencement on the National Mall. 

Voting for the Student Speaker Competition finalists has now ended. GW’s ten schools and colleges each selected a semifinalist to participate. The five finalists with the most votes will be invited to a final round audition in front of a committee comprising GW community members. Please stay tuned for the announcement of the 2022 Commencement student speaker.

What happens if it rains during Commencement?

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 at the Smith Center for graduates and speaking participants only. Please check the Commencement website periodically on May 15 for the latest information.
 

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School Celebrations


What are School Celebrations?

All schools and colleges will host a celebratory experience for their graduating students. Graduating students will receive individual recognition, including having their names announced and walking across the stage, during these celebrations, and they will hear from school leaders and other prestigious speakers.

When and where will School Celebrations occur?

Please visit the Commencement Week Schedule for dates, times, and locations of school and college celebrations.

 

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Registration

 

Is registration required to participate in Commencement Week?

Registration is required to attend Commencement on the National Mall and other weekend activities. You can register online by Friday, April 29th.

Can I register for Commencement Week after April 29th?

Registration after the April 29th deadline will be accommodated on a case-by-case basis.

Which events can I attend?

Members of the GW community eligible to attend Commencement (graduating students, faculty, and staff) will see their names have been pre-loaded into the registration site. Find your name, enter some basic details, and select a Registration Group that matches the events you want to attend during Commencement Week.

I’m a graduating student. What do I need to do to register?

If you are a graduating student, you must apply to graduate and complete the mandatory graduation survey before registering for Commencement. 

I can’t find my name in the registration system. What should I do?

‚Äč‚ÄčOnce you begin the registration process, members of the GW community eligible to attend Commencement will see their names have been pre-loaded into the site. If you can’t find your name, contact [email protected] for assistance.

How do I register guests?

Once you’re done entering your own information into the registration system, you can then add the other guests in your party. Be sure to include a valid email address for each guest so that they receive a confirmation email with their check-in details. Should you have a desire to bring more than the allowed number of guests to a particular event, please submit a request for assistance. Requests will not be accepted after May 4.

Will the registration system save my information if I close the window or it times out before I finish?

We recommend completing your registration in one session. Should you wish to change part of your event registration at a later date, just click the personalized link provided in your confirmation email.

I want to change my event registration/update my event selections. How do I do that?

If you wish to change part of your event registration at a later date, just click the personalized link provided in your confirmation email.

I was registered as a guest by someone else but there is an event missing from my list of selections. Can I add it to my selections?

The primary registrant of your party may have forgotten to sign you up for that particular event. Please have them go into their confirmation email and click the designated link to update your list of events.

Will I need to pay for any activities during Commencement Week?

Commencement Week activities are free.

I’m having problems using the registration site. Can I contact someone to help me?

Please email [email protected]. Someone will contact you within 1-2 business days. 

I no longer wish to attend Commencement Week. Can I cancel my registration?

Primary registrants can cancel their own or a guest’s registration by using the Update Registration Link in their confirmation email or going to the registration portal and entering the email address used to register for GW Commencement Week 2022. Please contact [email protected] if you have questions.

 

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Check-In

Who are primary registrants?

Primary registrants are the GW community members (graduates, faculty, or staff) who filled out the registration form on behalf of themselves and their guests. After registering, the primary registrants will receive a confirmation email containing QR codes for all their guests, which they will be able to use to check in their party at Commencement Check-In.

Where is check-in for Commencement Week 2022? When will it be open?

Commencement Check-In will be located on the first floor of the Science and Engineering Hall (SEH) at 800 22nd Street, NW, Washington, D.C. The schedule is posted on the Commencement Week Check-In page.

At Check-In, primary registrants will be able to print out credentials for themselves and their registered guests that will provide access to events during the weekend.

I don’t have a GWorld card. Can I still access the Science and Engineering Hall for check-in?

Graduates without a GWorld card can speak to a representative when they arrive at the 22nd and H Street NW Entrance of SEH and will be permitted to check in.

Can my registered guests check themselves in at Commencement Check-In?

We ask that primary registrants check in themselves and all of their registered guests, in order to streamline the check-in process. Primary registrants may check in their guests using the documentation listed under the “What documents must primary registrants provide at check-in?” question below.

What documents must primary registrants provide at check-in?

Primary registrants must provide the following

  • A print or digital copy of your confirmation email with QR codes for all registered guests
  • A print or digital copy of government-issued photo IDs for all registered guests (attendees aged 18+ only)
  • A print or digital copy of proof of full vaccination for all registered guests (attendees aged 5+ only). It must be 2 weeks since the last dose by the time guests arrive to campus for Commencement Week. This means that a guest will have received both doses in a two-dose vaccination series (like Pfizer or Moderna), or a single dose (like Johnson & Johnson).
  • If proof of full vaccination cannot be provided: An approved vaccination exemption or digital or printed evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result from an antigen or PCR test taken 24 hours prior to check-in.

Who needs to produce a government-issued photo ID at check-in?

Primary registrants must provide proof of a government-issued photo ID for their registered guests who are 18 and over. Children under the age of 18 who are accompanied by a parent or guardian do not need to produce photo ID.

Why do we need credentials?

The credentials will be all-access passes for you and your guests for all your registered events. They signal that you completed the registration and check-in process and that all guests have had their proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test checked.

I lost my credential. What should I do?

If you or a registered guest loses your credential, you must return to SEH and visit the Help Desk for assistance.

 

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Regalia and Keepsakes

 

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

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

Can I 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.

Where do I find information about cords, medals, certificates, or pins?

For more information contact your school or society.

 

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Celebrating Online

 

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

University Commencement on the National Mall 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 on the day of 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.

 

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COVID-19 Health and Safety

 

What are GW’s COVID-19 protocols during Commencement Week?

All guests, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask for all indoor events.

In addition, we will require that all guests aged 5 and over visiting campus attest that they are vaccinated, or if they are unvaccinated, attest that they will show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of their visit. Primary registrants will attest on behalf of their guests at registration and will be asked to provide their registered guests’ proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test upon check-in.

We are also asking all of our guests to self-monitor for COVID symptoms throughout the week. If you develop any COVID symptoms before or during arriving to campus, please stay home and/or seek medical attention.

Who do these guidelines apply to?

All guests, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask for all indoor events unless they are actively eating or drinking.

All guests over the age of 5 must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test if they are not vaccinated. Guests under the age of 5 who are not vaccinated do not need proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

I am a GW graduate/student/faculty member/staff member. Do I need to provide proof of vaccination for myself when I check in?

GW graduates, students, faculty and staff are already confirmed to be part of the university’s vaccination protocols and do not need to show proof of vaccination at check-in. However, you must provide identification and proof of vaccination for your registered guests.

What documents must primary registrants provide at check-in?

Primary registrants must provide the following

  • A print or digital copy of your confirmation email with QR codes for all registered guests
  • A print or digital copy of government-issued photo IDs for all registered guests (attendees aged 18+ only)
  • A print or digital copy of proof of full vaccination for all registered guests (attendees aged 5+ only). It must be 2 weeks since the last dose by the time guests arrive to campus for Commencement Week. This means that a guest will have received both doses in a two-dose vaccination series, or a one-dose vaccination.
  • If proof of full vaccination cannot be provided: An approved vaccination exemption and digital or printed evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result from an antigen or PCR test taken 24 hours prior to check-in.

What vaccines will GW accept?

GW will accept any vaccine authorized for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the World Health Organization (WHO). View the list of current FDA-authorized vaccines and authorized WHO vaccines. As of now, the WHO and/or FDA have authorized Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, the Serum Institute of India, Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines.

What if I lost my vaccination card or documentation?

If you received your vaccination through a hospital or pharmacy, contact them directly to obtain a new card. You can also check with your state’s health department. If you cannot obtain a new copy of your COVID-19 vaccination documentation, please plan to show the results of a negative COVID-19 test to attend GW’s Commencement Week 2022.

Will GW accept a religious/medical exemption in lieu of providing vaccination documentation?

Limited exemptions will be permitted for those who submit a medical or religious exemption.  Unvaccinated guests must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within the required time frame. Exemption requests will not be accepted after May 4.

What if I am not able to meet the vaccine or negative test requirement?

We appreciate your desire to participate in these events, however, our health and safety protocols preclude us from permitting anyone who does not meet our requirements. 

For individuals who cannot attend Commencement on the National Mall or school celebrations in person but are interested in watching online, these events will be live-streamed on the day of the event. Following the live streaming of the event, a video recording will be posted online soon after the original airing.

What does “fully vaccinated” mean?

To be considered fully vaccinated, you must complete the full series of the vaccination, and it must be 2 weeks since your last dose by the time you arrive on campus for Commencement Week. This means that you will have received both doses in a two-dose vaccination series (like Pfizer or Moderna), or a one-dose vaccination (like Johnson & Johnson).
 

COVID-19 Health & Safety