University Kicks off Commencement Week 2017

GW community invites graduates and their families to celebrate May 15-21.

gw commencement
May 15, 2017

It’s officially commencement week at the George Washington University.

As always, the university will celebrate the achievements of its graduates during a week of events, May 15-21, which culminates in the university-wide 2017 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 21. Can’t make it in person? You can watch a live stream of Commencement and the individual school ceremonies online.

2017 Commencement speaker Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), M.A. ’92, will deliver the Commencement address before an expected 25,000 people. Sen. Duckworth was elected to the Senate in 2016 after serving two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and has been a staunch advocate for veterans.

Sen. Duckworth is also a former assistant secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs and was among the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. A member of the Reserve Forces for 23 years before retiring in 2014, she became an advocate for her fellow soldiers and others with disabilities while she was recovering from combat wounds she received after her Black Hawk helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

George Washington President Steven Knapp will award honorary degrees at the ceremony. The 2017 recipients are Sen. Duckworth, Lt. Gen. Nadja West and Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron.

Dr. West, M.D. ’88, is the 44th surgeon general of the United States Army and commanding general, U.S. Army Medical Command. Dr. West has served in a variety of leadership positions that span the globe and has commanded at the Army Community Hospital, Army Medical Center and Regional Medical Command levels. Before being named surgeon general, she served as the U.S. Joint Staff surgeon.

The university honored Dr. West in October 2016 with the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, and she will also address graduating students at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences’ M.D. celebration after university Commencement.

Mr. Baron, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, joined the Post in 2013 and manages its news operation. He is known for overseeing high-impact investigative journalism.

Newsrooms under his leadership have won 12 Pulitzer Prizes, including five since 2013 at The Washington Post for coverage of secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, reporting on the prevalence of food stamps in post-recession America, the disclosure of security lapses in the U.S. Secret Service, a project detailing every killing by a police officer in the United States in 2015 and political campaign coverage that cast doubt on Donald Trump’s assertions of generosity to charities.

Want more details about 2017 Commencement week activities? Find the full schedule here.

University News


University Announces 2017 Honorary Degree Recipients

March 06, 2017
Tammy Duckworth, Nadja West and Marty Baron will be honored at Commencement.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth to Deliver GW Commencement Address

February 21, 2017
The GW alumna, combat veteran and Purple Heart recipient said she looks forward to encouraging graduates to “go out and make a difference in the world.”