Law Commencement FAQs
See below for details about Law Center Commencement and related events for graduating students.
LAW COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY FAQs
WHEN AND WHERE IS COMMENCEMENT?
Law Center Commencement will take place on Sunday, May 17, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. on Georgetown University’s Hilltop Campus, at 37th & O Streets, NW, Washington, DC.
HOW DOES LAW COMMENCEMENT WORK?
Three events make up Law Commencement: The Main Ceremony, the Individual Recognition Ceremonies, and the Celebratory Receptions.
First, there is a Main Ceremony on Healy Lawn. After the graduates, faculty, and University President process, university leaders address the graduating class, we confer honorary degrees, and one of our Honorary Degree Speaker presents his or her Commencement Address. The Main Ceremony typically lasts about one hour.
Immediately following the Main Ceremony, there are nine smaller ceremonies (seven J.D. sections and two LL.M./S.J.D. groups) held in various locations across campus. These smaller ceremonies are a chance for graduates to be individually recognized (i.e. have their name read and walk across the front) and for the group to hear from its elected student speaker. Please refer to the Graduation Events FAQs (below) for more information about auditioning and selecting the student section speakers.
Each individual recognition ceremony is followed by a celebratory reception with champagne and light hors d’oeuvres.
HOW LONG DOES THE DAY LAST?
Graduates should arrive at their designated locations no later than 1:00 p.m. for robing and line up. The academic procession will begin at 1:30 p.m. Guests should be seated prior to the start of the procession.
The Main Ceremony will begin at 2:00 p.m. and will last about an hour. Graduates and guests immediately go to their individual recognition ceremony at the conclusion of the main ceremony. The smaller ceremonies usually begin around 3:30 p.m. and are followed by a reception. Most commencement activities are done around 5:00 p.m.
HOW ARE THE SECTIONS DIVIDED? CAN I SWITCH SECTIONS?
J.D. graduates are divided into seven sections corresponding with their first-year section assignments. J.D. transfer students are assigned to Section 6. LL.M. and S.J.D. graduates are split into two sections (A & B) based on type of degree. The Law Commencement Locations site has detailed information on individual sections and locations.
Student are given the option to attend different section’s individual recognition ceremony. Graduates will receive an email from the Office of the Registrar during the spring semester with instructions on switching sections.
IS THERE A REHEARSAL FOR COMMENCEMENT? HOW DO I KNOW WHERE TO GO AND WHEN?
Graduating Students will receive full instructions on line-up and procession from email@example.com in the beginning of May. There is no rehearsal for the ceremony. Important instructions will be reviewed during the line-up before the academic procession, so it is imperative graduates report to their robing and line-up location no later than 1:00 p.m. on Sunday.
ARE GRADUATES REQUIRED TO WEAR ACADEMIC ATTIRE? (REGALIA)
Caps and gowns are not required for Commencement, but most graduates choose to wear them. All Georgetown Law graduates wear the same regalia (cap, gown, and hood). You may order your regalia through the Georgetown Law Jostens Webpage. Online orders must be placed by April 9, 2019.
Graduates may return their regalia in one of three ways: (1) Drop it off at the Leavey Center Bookstore after Sunday’s commencement activities; (2) Drop it off at the Georgetown Law Center Bookstore the week following Commencement; or (3) Follow the directions on your order and mail it back directly to Jostens.
WILL THERE BE PHOTOGRAPHERS AT THE CEREMONY? HOW CAN I ORDER MY PICTURE?
Each Individual Recognition Ceremony will have a formal photographer present to take a picture of each student graduating. We will send instructions on ordering these pictures to your Georgetown email account after the ceremony.
DO GUESTS NEED TICKETS?
Tickets are not required for either ceremony. However, in the case of inclement weather, the main ceremony will be held in the McDonough Arena. Due to the limited space indoors, each graduate will only be permitted to have two (2) guests seated inside the arena. Additional guests will be able to view the main ceremony at a number of different sites around main campus.
Tickets are not required for the individual recognition ceremonies that follow the main ceremony, even in inclement weather. Seating is limited and first come first serve.
WHAT IS THE LIMIT OF GUESTS A GRADUATE CAN INVITE TO ATTEND THE COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY?
There is no limit on the number of guests a graduate can invite to attend Commencement. However, because Commencement is held on Georgetown University main campus, it is subject to some space limitations, especially in inclement weather (see above). Seating is limited and is first come, first serve. In addition, most seats are in direct sunlight. If you believe a guest would have trouble sitting outside for a period of time, or would have difficulty navigating an uneven outdoor area, we recommend having that guest watch the main ceremony in an indoor location and move directly to the smaller ceremony.
WHAT IS APPROPRIATE GUEST ATTIRE?
We recommend dressing for the weather and being prepared for varying conditions (sun, wind, rain, and moving indoors for many of the diploma presentations). We also recommend bringing a rain jacket and umbrella if there is rain in the forecast and to wear shoes appropriate for traversing a grassy lawn (flat or low heeled shoes). The ceremony is held on a grass lawn and there are many steep hills and stairs leading from one location to another.
IS THERE PARKING AVAILABLE AT MAIN CAMPUS?
Parking is very limited on the main campus and we urge you to consider taking a taxi from your hotel to campus. Drop-offs at 35th & N, O or P Streets, NW or Reservoir Road & 38th Streets, NW will avoid unnecessary congestion. Please leave ample time for travel to and from the commencement ceremony.
Limited parking is available without charge on Sunday in the Southwest Garage. This parking deck is approximately a 10-minute walk from the Commencement sites, under the Southwest Quad and accessible by Canal Road, NW.
WHAT IF MY GUEST(S) NEED A LETTER OF INVITATION TO SUPPORT THEIR VISA REQUEST TO ATTEND?
The Georgetown Office of Global Services provide guidelines on how to invite family and friends to visit.
IS ASSISTANCE FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES AVAILABLE?
Transportation shuttles will be available to take individuals with disabilities from the parking lots to the Commencement sites. Disability accessible parking is available around campus and on a first come, first serve basis. Complimentary wheelchairs will be available on site, on a first come first serve basis. A sign language interpreter will be on stage for the main ceremony. Wheelchair seating is first come first serve and one (1) additional guest can sit with the person needing accommodations. Please note the location of wheelchair seating (near the stage and the paved entrance) is in full sun. If additional services are needed, graduates can contact the Office of Special Events at (202) 662-9505 or the Office of Disability Services at (202) 662-4042 as soon as possible to discuss accommodations for themselves or their guests.
WHERE DO I LOCATE LOST & FOUND
Any lost items will be returned to the Law Center Campus and be stored with the Office of Public Safety, (202) 662-9325.
GRADUATION EVENTS FAQs
WHERE AND WHEN IS THE GRADUATION GALA? WHAT HAPPENS AT THE GALA?
The Georgetown Law Graduation Gala will take place Saturday, May 16, 2020, from 8:00 – 11:00 p.m. at The Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art & Portraiture. This festive evening includes a dinner buffet, beer and wine bar, dancing, and the chance to explore the first, second, and third floor gallery, including the Presidential Portrait Gallery. Graduates will also have the opportunity to introduce family and friends to Dean William Treanor, faculty, and senior administrators in a receiving line.
HOW DO I PURCHASE TICKETS TO ATTEND THE GALA?
Graduating students may purchase one (1) student ticket at $55 and a maximum of three (3) guest tickets at $85 each. Georgetown Law subsidizes this event to keep these prices reasonable for graduates and guests.
Tickets for the 2020 Graduation Gala will be sold through Eventbrite starting at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 27, 2020. Graduates will receive a separate email with the Eventbrite invitation link to purchase tickets.
This is a sell-out event each year and tickets are not guaranteed to each graduating student. In previous years, tickets have sold out within 24 hours.
DO ALL GUESTS NEED A TICKET TO ATTEND THE GALA? WHAT IF I WOULD LIKE TO INVITE MORE THAN THREE GUESTS?
Guest tickets are required for all guests; however if you have a guest under the age of twelve (12) years old that you wish to attend, please contact the Office of Student Life at LawGala@georgetown.edu or 202.662.9292.
Please fill out the 2020 Graduate Gala Waitlist Form if you would like to be added to a waitlist to purchase additional guest tickets after the initial round of ticket sales. Should additional tickets become available, individuals on the waitlist will be given a chance to purchase additional guest tickets on a first come, first serve basis. Additional tickets are not guaranteed.
HOW CAN I TAKE A FORMAL GRADUATION PORTRAIT IN MY REGALIA?
The Office of Student Life organizes graduating student portraits in late February. They provide the robe, hood, tam, and tassel for use during the portrait. This year, the portraits will take place February 24-February 27, 2020 in Hotung 3102. Students must register for an appointment during the available times. Slots are first come, first serve and fill up quickly.
HOW DO I AUDITION TO BE THE STUDENT SPEAKER AT MY SECTION CEREMONY? HOW IS THE SPEAKER SELECTED?
Graduating students from each section will select one student in that section to speak during the Individual Recognition Ceremony. The Office of Student Life provides detailed instructions on how to audition for this role. Interested students must submit their audition video and speech by 11:50 p.m. on March 15, 2020.
Graduating students in each section vote online to select their section speaker. Voting will take place March 25 – 26, 2020. Instruction on how to vote will be sent via email by the Office of Student Life.
WHERE AND WHEN WILL WE TAKE OUR CLASS PHOTO?
Photos for both graduating J.D. and LL.M. classes will take place April 1, 2020. Graduating J.D. students should arrive by 3:15 p.m. on the front steps of McDonough Hall for a 3:30 p.m. photo. Graduating LL.M. students should arrive by 3:30 p.m. for a 3:45 p.m. photo. The rain date is April 22, 2020 (same location and times).
WHAT IS LAVENDER GRADUATION?
Lavender Graduation is a special ceremony for LGBTQ and Ally undergraduate and graduate students to acknowledge their achievements, contributions, and unique experiences at Georgetown University. This year’s ceremony will take place on Monday, April 27, 2020. Please visit Lavender Graduation 2020 to register and find detailed information.