Commencement Information

COVID-19 Update

Due to recent guidance from the CDC, the Elliott School Commencement ceremony and Commencement on the National Mall will not be held in person. We are working diligently to determine how we can, appropriately and safely, celebrate our graduates within the constraints of the current circumstances. Please share any suggestions you have to help mark this milestone for our graduates at [email protected].

Graduation 2020

Congratulations! We are excited that you will be joining us during commencement week as we celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates. Please direct any questions regarding the Elliott School Graduation Celebration to [email protected].

Schedule of Events

Elliott School Graduation Celebration

Friday, May 15, 2020

11:00 AM

Graduates check-in and line up for procession
Funger Hall, 2201 G Street NW
All graduates are required to wear their caps and gowns; graduate students must bring their hoods.

11:00 AM Smith Center doors open to guests
Charles E. Smith Center, 600 22nd Street NW
Tickets required for all guests.
12:00 PM Ceremony begins
Charles E. Smith Center, 600 22nd Street NW
2:15 PM Ceremony concludes (approximate)

GW Commencement on the National Mall

Sunday, May 17, 2020

8:30 AM Graduates line up for procession
The National Mall, between 7th and 14th streets
Graduates will line-up according to his or her school. Each area will have a sign and a representative to assist graduates. Graduates are required to wear their caps and gowns. Visit for more information.
9:30 AM

University Commencement
The National Mall, between 7th and 14th streets
Registration of guests requested. This is a University-wide event for all graduating students and their guests.

Elliott School Student Speaker Competition

We know that your time as a student at the Elliott School has been challenging, rewarding, and memorable. If you would like to represent your class and share your experiences, enter for the chance to be selected as the 2020 Elliott School Student Speaker.

One student will be selected to share their experiences, lessons learned, and words of encouragement on stage in front of fellow graduates, family, friends, faculty and staff at the Elliott School Celebration on May 15, 2020.


Undergraduate and Graduate students meeting one of the following criteria:

  • graduated in Summer 2019 (did not attend 2019 commencement)
  • graduated Fall 2019
  • applied or planning to apply to graduate in Spring 2020 or Summer 2020

Speech Submission and Selection Process

  1. Prepare a speech of less than four minutes that is of general interest to all graduates (both undergraduate and graduate students), faculty, staff and guests and is relevant to graduation. The speech you submit should be the one you intend to deliver at the Elliott School Celebration.
  2. Upload the text of your speech. The submission form will close on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 5:00pm. No late submissions will be accepted.
  3. Students chosen for in-person auditions will be contacted via e-mail no later than Friday, March 27, 2020.
  4. In-person auditions will take place tentatively March 31 - April 3, 2020.

A selection committee will choose one Elliott School Celebration student speaker. The speaker will then work with our staff to modify their remarks for the celebration. Please direct any questions regarding the Elliott School Student Speaker Competition to [email protected].

Submit Your Speech

Tickets, Regalia and Additional Information

Tickets are required for guests to attend the Elliott School Graduation Celebration and guest registration is requested for the University Commencement on the National Mall.

Each graduating student who has applied to graduate is eligible to receive up to 5 tickets for the Friday, May 15, 2020 Elliott School Celebration. Graduating students are not required to have a ticket.

Ticket Distribution

Tickets for the Elliott School Ceremony will be in the form of electronic tickets and can be claimed online. More information regarding this process is forthcoming.

Distribution will take place from April 23 through May 6, 2020. All summer 2019, fall 2019, spring 2020, and summer 2020 graduates who have completed the mandatory graduation surveys will receive ticket access codes via email during this distribution period.

Mandatory Graduation Surveys

Please complete the mandatory online graduation surveys (links coming soon) in order to receive the instructions for claiming your tickets. 

Extra Tickets for the Elliott School Celebration  

Students who wish to request additional tickets must submit a request online. The extra ticket request form will be available from March 15 through May 6, 2020 at 5:00 PM. Please submit only one request. If multiple requests are submitted, then only your last request will be considered. No exceptions will be made.

Extra tickets are not guaranteed. If extra tickets are available, then students who have requested extra tickets will be notified via email on May 11, 2020 with access instructions.  

Some unclaimed tickets may be available on a first-come-first-served basis on the morning of the Elliott School Celebration outside of Funger Hall.

Students are required to wear academic dress (regalia) to participate in commencement ceremonies. 

Please see the Commencement website for ordering/purchasing regalia. A very small number of gently-used regalia will be available for purchase through the Graduate Student Services (GSS) office.  Note: the Elliott School does not provide cords for commencement. 

For further information about regalia including purchase costs, please visit the Commencement websiteGW Campus Store website, or call the GW Campus Store at 202-994-6870.


We encourage you to take the Metro to the Elliott School graduation celebration at the Smith Center. You can use the blue or orange lines to arrive at the Foggy Bottom Metro Station. Use Metro’s trip planner and take travel time into consideration.

Metro service begins at 5:00 a.m. on Friday morning.

Driving & Taxis

Parking is extremely limited around campus during the graduation celebrations and we encourage you to use the Metro. Taxis are available throughout the city and should be able to get you to the Smith Center. Please note that 22nd and G streets in that block will be closed for pedestrian traffic. Drop-offs and pick-ups can be coordinated on 23rd street. Pricing depends on distance and the number of people. They are usually available after the ceremony concludes.


We urge guests to take the Metro, walk or take taxis to get to the graduation celebration. If you do drive, GW parking garages on campus are available though parking is not guaranteed. All GW parking garages are wheelchair accessible. While you may be redirected to seek parking in public locations off campus, GW Transportation & Parking Services has more information. If your car is towed from campus, contact the GW Police Department.