The crowd of graduates throwing their caps with the Washington Monument in the background


GW is the only university to hold Commencement on the National Mall. For one last time, the students from all 10 of our schools and colleges will come together for one final #OnlyatGW moment as students to celebrate their accomplishments. 

Planning for University Commencement on the National Mall

For University Commencement, graduates should look for their school flags and get into place no later than 9:00 a.m., as the processions will begin promptly at 9:30 a.m. Wear your cap and gown with your tassel hanging to the right. 

Guests can arrive as early as 7:00 a.m. and must be seated before 9:30 a.m. when the academic processions begin. Remain in the seating area behind the graduates and clear the aisles for processions.

Remember that the ceremony is a joyful, yet formal event. Please express your excitement in an appropriate manner that does not prevent others from hearing and enjoying it. Turn off or silence your cell phone.

Alcohol is not permitted on the National Mall. Water stations will be on site but we recommend that you also bring your own. Wheelchair-accessible seating areas and restrooms will also be available. Lost and found items can be given to ushers. Lost items on the National Mall are given to the First District U.S. Park Police, who can be reached at 202-426-6710. Please use provided recycling bins for paper and plastic materials.


Commencement Stage in front of the Washington Monument

Alternate Site Plan

University Commencement is held rain or shine on the National Mall. Should extreme circumstances dictate changes, the university has a comprehensive alternate site plan in place. 

Watch: Graduates, What Song is on Your Mind?