Mason Family Flash

Celebrate Mason’s Graduates!

2013 Commencement

Over 7,000 students will be eligible to take part in the 47th annual Spring Commencement and Convocation ceremonies at Mason.  The entire University community is invited to the Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 17 at 10 a.m. in the Patriot Center.  As part of the graduation festivities each school or college also holds a special celebration called convocation for its graduates. Graduates are encouraged to attend both the official University Commencement and their individual Convocation ceremony.  Convocation ceremonies may include a formal entry procession of graduates and faculty, an invited guest speaker, a student speaker, musical pieces, and the reading of the graduates’ names as they cross the stage.  Most ceremonies including Commencement last approximately two hours.

A complete list of all the ceremonies along with detailed event information may be found by clicking here.

Individuals eligible to participate in the annual Commencement ceremony include all Summer 2013 doctoral graduates, all Winter 2013 and Spring 2014 graduates, and all bachelor or master candidates planning to graduate in Summer 2014.  Guest tickets are needed for the Commencement ceremony as well as some of the individual convocations.  Eligible students may obtain six Commencement tickets at the Patriot Center between April 22 and May 14.  Commencement tickets that are not picked up by 5:30 p.m. on May 14 will be distributed to other graduates needing additional tickets.  If your student is interested in obtaining extra tickets, encourage him or her to visit the Patriot Center starting on Wednesday, May 14 at 6:30 p.m.  If tickets are still available, the final opportunity to acquire them will start Saturday morning, May 17 at 9 a.m. until the Commencement ceremony begins.

Parking lots on campus during the ceremonies are open and free for guest parking.  Accessible and special-assistance parking is available in Lot A adjacent to the Patriot Center’s south entrance and near the Concert Hall in specially marked areas. Most Convocation events will take place at either the Patriot Center or the Concert Hall on the Fairfax Campus.

Commencement morning begins with students gathering near the Johnson Center. There, they will be greeted by faculty marshals who will guide them to their place in the formal university processional line, which will begin at the iconic George Mason Statue.  Members of the Alumni Association will also be on hand to welcome the students with tokens in honor of their soon-to-be alumni status.  The festive atmosphere includes light morning refreshments, music, and a visit by President Cabrera.  As the processional passes the Mason statue  degree candidates traditionally rub George’s toe for good luck.  After the ceremony, it is a tradition to return to the statue for a photo in cap and gown.

Commencement at Mason is a traditional ceremony where graduates and faculty wear academic regalia.  Bachelor degree candidates wear a green mortarboard style cap and gown and may add a green tassel to the mortarboard.  Master degree candidates also wear a master’s hood that denotes by color the different fields of study.  All regalia may be purchased by clicking here or visiting the University Bookstore.

Personalized announcements, college rings, diploma frames, mugs and other mementos are also available at the University Bookstore.  Undergraduate students who have earned honors status will be notified by the Registrar’s Office via email.  Those students may wear Mason honor cords, also available at the Bookstore, to all graduation events.

As part of the ceremonies, degree candidates cross the stage and receive a “stage” diploma.  Actual diplomas are mailed to the address designated by the student during the online graduation application process.  Diplomas are mailed within five to seven weeks following degree conferral.

Graduation is a special time for both students and their families, and if the Office of Events Management can be of any help in your student’s transition from Mason this spring please do not hesitate to contact us by calling 703.993.2853 or emailing

Julie Gladbach
University Events Manager
Events Management