American University announced it will be inviting AU’s 2020 and 2021 graduates back to campus for in-person commencement processions. Graduates will join President Sylvia M. Burwell and school deans and university administrators to cross the stage in Bender Arena to commemorate their graduation.
In a message to the community, Burwell said, “Our graduates have worked so hard and achieved so much, and now they can have this special moment that is so well-deserved.”
The in-person events will be in addition to online graduation celebrations by the university, and its eight schools, including Washington College of Law.
The goal to welcome graduates back to campus came after extensive planning, safety precautions and coordination with Washington, D.C. health officials.
While this experience will be different from traditional commencement ceremonies, graduates will have formal photographs taken (from a distance, wearing masks) and names of each graduate will be read as they cross the Bender Arena stage.
The in-person events will take place over a series of weekends in May, with COVID health and safety protocols in place. Families and friends will be invited to watch the events on a livestream but will not be able to attend in person due to COVID restrictions.