George Washington University Kicks Off Commencement Week 2016

GW community invites graduates and their families to celebrate May 9-15.

Grads
George Washington University graduates celebrate at Commencement last May. (File Photo)
May 09, 2016

By Brittney Dunkins

During the past few weeks George Washington University students who will graduate Sunday have completed finals exams, packed away their textbooks and planned farewell dinners with friends and professors as they look toward a future of new jobs, travel, military or other public service, or graduate degree programs.

But before embarking on those new journeys, it’s time to celebrate.

At GW, the achievements of graduates—whether in the classroom, in student organizations or on the court and field—are commended during a week of events, May 9-15, that culminate in the university-wide 2016 Commencement on the National Mall.

Notable events include individual school celebrations for all 10 GW undergraduate and graduate schools, Athletics Commencement, the senior class toast, the doctoral hooding and the university interfaith baccalaureate service.  

The university-wide Commencement ceremony is May 15. Watch a live stream of Commencement and the individual school ceremonies online.

The 2016 Commencement speaker Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) will address an audience of approximately 25,000 people at the ceremony. The social media savvy junior senator from New Jersey, New York Times bestselling author and avowed vegan accepted the university’s invitation to speak via Snapchat in March.

Mr. Booker is the former mayor of Newark, N.J., and was elected to the Senate in 2013. During his tenure, he has advocated for bipartisan policies that address criminal justice reform, economic development and mobility and increased access to healthy food for all Americans.

George Washington President Steven Knapp will award honorary degrees at the ceremony. The 2016 recipients are Mr. Booker, philanthropist and Southern Engineering Corporation President Albert H. Small and Baroness Joanna Shields, M.B.A. ’87, undersecretary of state and minister for internet safety and security for Her Majesty’s government of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.

Mr. Small, a veteran of the U.S. Navy and longtime friend of the university, is known for his prowess as a collector of historical artifacts commemorating the history of Washington, D.C. What began as a hobby has amounted to an unparalleled collection of nearly 1,000 manuscripts, photographs, letters, prints and other ephemera. In 2011, Mr. Small donated the Washingtoniana Collection to the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum.

Ms. Shields was a success in the burgeoning tech industry of the ’90s and has helped to build companies such as Facebook, AOL, Google and RealNetworks. Her tech expertise and appointment as a parliamentarian led her to found WeProtect, a global initiative under which 60 countries are working together to combat online child abuse and exploitation.

Want more details about 2016 Commencement week activities? Check out the list of events:

Tuesday, May 10

Athletics Commencement
3 p.m., Marvin Center, Dorothy Betts Theatre, 800 21st St. NW
For students competing in tournaments during Commencement weekend.

Thursday, May 12

Milken Institute School of Public Health Celebration
9 a.m., Charles E. Smith Center, 600 22nd St., NW
Speaker: Debra Eschmeyer, executive director of the “Let’s Move!” campaign and White House senior policy advisor for nutrition policy

School of Business Undergraduate Programs Celebration
1 p.m., Charles E. Smith Center, 600 22nd St., NW
Speaker: Mitchell E. Blaser, B.B.A. ’73, chief operations officer of Ironshore Inc.

Senior Toast and Class Picture
4 p.m., University Yard, H Street NW, between 20th and 21st streets

Multicultural Student Services Center Multicultural Graduation Celebration
4 p.m., Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St., NW

Doctoral Hooding Ceremony
5 p.m., Charles E. Smith Center, 600 22nd St., NW

Friday, May 13

Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Commissioning Ceremony
8 a.m., Marine Corps War Memorial, Arlington, Va.
Rain location: Marvin Center, Dorothy Betts Theatre, 800 21st St., NW

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Master’s and Doctoral Programs Celebration
8:30 a.m., Charles E. Smith Center, 600 22nd St., NW
Speaker: Ben Vinson III, dean of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Elliott School of International Affairs Celebration
11:30 a.m., Charles E. Smith Center, 600 22nd St., NW
Speaker: Reuben E. Brigety II, dean of the Elliott School International Affairs

Legacy Family Commencement Reception
1 p.m., Alumni House, 1918 F St., NW

Phi Beta Kappa Induction Ceremony
3 p.m., Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St., NW

School of Business Master’s and Doctoral Programs Celebration
3:30 p.m., Charles E. Smith Center, 600 22nd St., NW
Speaker: Baroness Joanna Shields, M.B.A. ’87, undersecretary of state and minister for internet safety and security for Her Majesty’s government of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland

School of Nursing Celebration
6:30 p.m., Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St., NW
Speaker: Pamela S. Hinds, associate center director of the Center for Translational Science and director of nursing research and quality outcomes at the Children’s National Health System

School of Engineering and Applied Science Celebration
7:30 p.m., Charles E. Smith Center, 600 22nd St., NW
Speaker: Emilio A. Fernandez, vice chairman of the Wabtec Corporation board of directors

Saturday, May 14

Graduate School of Education and Human Development Celebration
8:30 a.m., Charles E. Smith Center, 600 22nd St., NW
Speaker: LaRuby May, D.C. councilmember, Ward 8

University Interfaith Baccalaureate Service
9:30 a.m., Western Presbyterian Church, 2401 Virginia Ave., NW

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Programs Celebration 1
Noon, Charles E. Smith Center, 600 22nd St., NW
Speaker: Ben Vinson III, dean of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences
Participating Majors: economics, human services, human services and social justice, journalism and mass communication, political communication, political science and public policy focus, psychology, sociology/criminal justice

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Programs, Celebration 2
3:30 p.m., Charles E. Smith Center, 600 22nd St, NW
Speaker: Ben Vinson III, dean of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences
Participating Majors: All majors not listed under CCAS Celebration 1

School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Health Sciences Celebration
4 p.m., Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St., NW

College of Professional Studies Celebration
7:30 p.m., Charles E. Smith Center, 600 22nd St. NW
Speaker: Mark Kennedy, director of the GW Graduate School of Political Management

Sunday, May 15

University Commencement
9:30 a.m., the National Mall, Constitution Ave. and 15th St.
Speaker: Sen. Cory Booker, (D-N.J.)

School of Medicine and Health Sciences M.D. Celebration
2:30 p.m., Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St., NW
Speaker: Jonathan B. Perlin, president of clinical services and chief medical officer of Hospital Corporation of America

Law School Celebration
2:30 p.m., Charles E. Smith Center, 600 22nd St., NW
Speaker: Gregory Garre, J.D. ’91, partner at Latham & Watkins LLP and 44th solicitor general of the United States