The Catholic University of America

  Law School Graduation 


Commencement Speaker

Schedule of Events

General Information

Commencement Day
Information for Graduates

After the Ceremony

Graduates Questionnaire Form

Class Picture Order Form

Class Photo Framed Order Form

Diploma Frame Order Form

Photograph Receiving Diploma

Graduation Video Form   
Printable Commencement Info 


Monday, May 21

Caps and gowns will be distributed in the interview rooms from 12 noon until 7 p.m.    
The deadline to purchase tickets for the Class of 2012 Celebration is 6 p.m.

Thursday, May 24

Institutes and Special Programs Certificate Ceremony — 2 p.m., Byron Auditorium, Law School

A certificate presentation ceremony for students in the Communications Law Institute, the Comparative and International Law Institute, the Law and Public Policy Program, the Securities Law Program and Jurisprudence Studies will take place at 2 p.m., with a reception to follow.  For further information, please call the Office of Institutes and Special Programs (319-6205).

Mass — 4:30 p.m., St. Vincent’s Chapel, John McCormack Road

A Mass of Thanksgiving will be celebrated for the graduates at 4:30 p.m. at St. Vincent’s Chapel.  All graduates are invited to attend with family and friends.   Academic apparel should not be worn to the Mass, and graduates should sit with their families.  Please contact the Office of Student Life and Special Events no later than May 17 if you have a relative who is a Roman Catholic priest who would like to concelebrate the Mass.

Mass Parking:  The University garage adjacent to the law school will be open for those attending Mass.

Class of 2012 Celebration— 8-11 p.m.,
The Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel –

The Graduation Committee will sponsor the Class of 2012 Celebration reception for parents, family and friends, 8 – 11 p.m., 415 New Jersey Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C. 20001.
Ticket costs:  $25 adult; $10 for children 6-18 years; free for children 5 and under.   For those using Metro, Union Station on the Red Line is the nearest station. Note: The deadline for ticket sales is 6 p.m. on Monday, May 21, and no tickets will be sold at the door.  Click here to buy your tickets!

Friday, May 25

Distribution of Caps and Gowns — 8-9:45 a.m., Interview Rooms adjacent to OCPD, Ground Level

CCLS Robing Breakfast for Clinic Graduates — 8-9:15 a.m., Clinic Suite, Ground Level  
For more information, contact Alvita Barrow at

Commencement Ceremony — 11 a.m., Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Seating for guests attending the law school commencement will begin after 9:30 a.m.  The academic procession will enter the Shrine at 10:50 a.m.

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All graduates are required to attend the ceremony. If you cannot attend, you are required to write a letter to the University Provost, Dr. James F. Brennan, requesting permission to be excused.  The letter should indicate the address to which the University Registrar should mail your diploma, and should be sent to Dr. Brennan at 105 McMahon Hall, The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.  20064.  Please send a copy of this letter to Stuart Schept, Registrar, Suite 343, Law School.

Graduates should return the 2012 Commencement Questionnaire for Graduates to the Office of Student Life and Special Events indicating the number of guests attending each graduation-related event no later than May 14th.   Forms can be also faxed (202-319-4470) or sent via email to

Caps & Gowns
All graduates are required, according to University policy, to attend the ceremony and wear academic regalia.  Graduating students who are members of the United States Armed Services are allowed to wear dress uniform in lieu of academic apparel.  If you have not yet ordered your cap & gown, contact the Office of Student Life and Special Events at (202) 319-6126 immediately.

Cap and gown distribution will be in the interview rooms adjacent to the Office of Career and Professional Development on the ground floor on Monday, May 21, from 12 noon until 7 p.m. and again on commencement day, from 8 a.m. until 9:45 a.m. 

The graduates' procession will enter the church at 10:50 a.m., with the ceremony beginning promptly at 11 a.m.  The commencement exercises will last approximately one and one-half hours.  

Special Needs Seating

We are reserving a limited number of seats for guests with special needs.  All special needs tickets must be reserved through the Office of Student Life and Special Events.  The tickets can be picked up from Suite 341; or if you prefer, we can mail them to your home.  If you have any questions or concerns about disability seating or other accommodations, please call us at (202) 319-6126, or email Tess Dewhirst at   The wheelchair entrance to the Shrine is located at the front of the Shrine.

The number of guests that you may invite to the ceremony is unlimited.  Although there will be room for all guests of law school graduates at the ceremony, we urge you to have your family arrive early at the Shrine.  We will begin seating guests no earlier than 9:30 a.m.

Please Note:  We understand that there will always be a need to “save a seat” for a mother, father or brother who dropped the family off and will return after parking the car.  Our ushers will allow one or two seats to be held for this purpose, but “holding” a row will not be permitted

Parking and Shuttle Bus Service  
Parking will be available in the university garage adjacent to the law school on Thursday for the Institutes ceremony and Mass at St. Vincent’s Chapel.

On Friday, parking will be available in the garage, the university parking lots adjacent to the Shrine and the Shrine parking lot on Harewood Road and Michigan Avenue.  Shuttle buses will run from the front entrance of the law school to and from the Shrine before and after Commencement for those who wish to park in the law school garage.

Pictures: Class Photo, Individual Pictures and Video
Panoramic Visions is a local photography company which specializes in large group events.  Order forms for purchasing the class photo and commencement video can be downloaded from the links above, along with instructions on how to order photographs of graduates receiving diplomas. Panoramic Visions will also be available to take formal photographs in Room 311 on commencement day.   Forms can either be turned into the Office of Student Life and Special Events anytime before May 25 or mailed directly to Panoramic Visions Photography.

The commencement ceremony will be Webcast and will be available for viewing online after 6 p.m. on Friday, May 25.  There will be a link on our Web page  The program will be available online through early August. 


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Pre-Ceremony Organization

On graduation day, graduates should report to the Byron Auditorium at 9:30 a.m., wearing your gown, tam and hood.
   We ask that you stay in the auditorium until instructed to leave and remain with the class from this point until the end of the commencement ceremony. You will wear your hood for the class photo, but then take it off and carry it over your right arm during the procession to the Shrine.  

Name Cards / Order of Procession
Members of the administrative staff will be in the Byron Auditorium distributing name cards and giving you final instructions for the photograph assembly and procession.

The name card is important.  Please do not lose it.  During the commencement ceremony, you will give the card to the Faculty Marshal who will be at the podium to read the graduates’ names during the ceremony. Once you have your name card, you should wait in the auditorium until you are instructed to go outside for the class photo.  After the photograph has been taken, we will ask you to assemble in alphabetical lines behind appropriately marked signs at the back of the Pryzbyla Center.  

Inclement Weather
In case of inclement weather, graduates should report to the Byron Auditorium as directed above to receive name cards and be in the class photograph which will be taken in the Atrium.  In case of rain, there will be no procession from the law school to the Shrine. Following the photo session in the atrium, graduates will be sent directly to Memorial Hall (in the lower level of the Shrine) to line up for the procession.
Panoramic Class Picture
Following instructions in the auditorium, the graduates will be directed to the back lawn for the class photograph.  Please listen carefully to the photographer’s instructions.  We have only about 30 minutes to have the class picture taken and reassemble for the procession.

Marching to the Shrine
After the picture has been taken, please be alert and follow directions to line up behind the Pryzbyla Center for the academic procession.  Once the alphabetical line-up is finalized, the procession will walk up the path to McMahon Hall and across the mall, entering the Shrine via the front door.  The academic procession will enter the Church at approximately 10:50 a.m.

Graduates will be divided alphabetically for the procession and seating in the Shrine: A - K (Adams – Kuhn) in a single file line on the right, and, L - Z (LaPlante – Zuber) in a single file order on the left. Once the group is lined up alphabetically, we will move the group together so that the procession will be in a double line, with A- K walking on the right and L-Z walking on the left.

The Ceremony
The graduates will occupy the front section of the Shrine.  Our “A - K” graduates will sit in the front right section of the Shrine, and the “L - Z” graduates will sit in the front left section.  The faculty and honored guests will be seated on the altar.  Please remain standing in your place for the Invocation and the National Anthem.  Dean Miles will then instruct you to be seated.  Men should remove their tams during the National Anthem.

After short preliminary speeches and the Student and Commencement Addresses, Dean Miles will ask the graduates to stand.  President John Garvey will read the degree conferral and ask you to “don your hood” before lining up to go to the altar.  Ushers will assist graduates in moving up the right stairwell to the main altar.  You will present your name card to the Faculty Marshal and proceed to walk across to the center stage where you will first shake hands with President Garvey and then move to Dean Miles who will present your diploma. You should shake Dean Miles’ hand, taking the diploma with your left hand and pause for a photograph with the Dean and President.


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During the graduation ceremony you will receive a “decorative diploma.”  You should report to the Academic Affairs office in Suite 343 from 1 to 3 p.m. to pick up your official diploma.

Cap and Gown Return
Please return your academic apparel to the Herff Jones Company representative in the interview rooms.  All caps, gowns and hoods must be returned by 3 p.m.  The replacement cost of the apparel is approximately $600.00, and you will be billed if the apparel is not returned.

Dean Miles and the faculty will host a reception graduates, families and friends on law school lawn and in the Keelty Atrium immediately following the graduation ceremony.  In case of inclement weather, the reception will take place in the Atrium, the Student Lounge and Cafeteria. 

If you have any questions about the ceremony, or any other graduation-related events, please feel free to call us at 202-319-6126.        


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