Messages to the Community
May 18, 2021: What You Need to Know – Commencement at Nationals Park
April 13, 2021: Commencement 2021 Update
March 23, 2021: Message from President DeGioia on Commencement 2021
Q. Is Georgetown having an in-person ceremony in May?
A. Yes. Georgetown University will host an in-person Commencement for the Class of 2021 at Nationals Park in Washington, DC, on Monday, May 24, 2021. Our ceremonies will take place in two parts, with a ceremony for undergraduate students in the morning and a ceremony for graduate and professional students in the afternoon.
Graduates attending the ceremony in-person are invited to bring two guests. All attendees will need to adhere to DC public health and travel guidelines. Ceremonies will be broadcast virtually for graduates, friends, and family who are unable to attend.
Q. What do I do if I test positive for COVID-19 following Georgetown’s Commencement at Nationals Park?
A. If you attended Commencement, and test positive for COVID-19 in the two weeks following the ceremony (before June 7, 2021) please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org (new window).
Q. How can I access the live streamed ceremony?
A. The undergraduate and graduate ceremonies, as well as the pre shows, can be accessed live on the Georgetown Class of 2021 Website as well as on the University Facebook. Recordings will also be accessible after the ceremonies conclude.
If you are unable to access the ceremonies through the Georgetown website (streamed via Vimeo), or on the University Facebook, you can access a Zoom Webinar for the Undergraduate Ceremony, and a Zoom Webinar for the Graduate Ceremony. Both Zoom webinars will occur live, beginning with the pre show one hour in advance of each ceremony.
Q. I’m a graduating student who cannot attend the in-person ceremony. Will there still be an in-person celebration at a later date for the Class of 2021?
A. We made a commitment to the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 that we would provide an opportunity to gather on campus and celebrate graduation with family and friends. As we see the possibility for large gatherings again emerging, we are beginning to plan for these events in 2022 and are thinking creatively about how we can make these moments most special for the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021, in recognition of the unique and challenging circumstances of their final years at Georgetown.
Q: How do students, families, and friends get tickets? How do I access tickets I signed up for?
A: For students who registered for tickets, you should have received an email with information on how you and your guests can access the tickets you requested. As a reminder, all attendees (including the graduating student as well as all children and infants, regardless of age) need a ticket for admission.
Ticketing is now closed, and we are unable to accommodate any additional ticket requests. Family, friends, and graduates who are unable to attend in person should plan to watch virtually on our Class of 2021 website.
Q. What time is the ceremony? Are there any logistics I need to know to get into Nationals Park?
A: Gates will open at 9 a.m. for the undergraduate ceremony and 4 p.m. for the graduate and professional ceremony. The undergraduate ceremony will begin promptly at 10 a.m., and the graduate and professional ceremony will begin promptly at 5 p.m. We encourage you to arrive early to enjoy the pre-program, visit the installation for your school (for more information, see below) and have plenty of time to find your seat. The ballpark and garage will be open for one hour following the ceremony, and all guests and cars will need to have exited by then.
Guests are requested to enter and exit the ballpark according to the color-coded gate location listed on their ticket. Directional and color-coded signage will be located outside of the ballpark to assist in locating the appropriate gate. Guests who require ADA-compatible entry may enter at any ADA-compliant entrance, even if it does not match the color on their ticket.
For the safety of everyone at Nationals Park, the Nationals require that all persons entering Nationals Park walk through a metal detector or be screened with hand-held metal detectors to search for prohibited items. You can find a list of prohibited items and other guest policies for Nationals Park in the Guest Conduct Policy.
Q: What will seating look like?
A. Tickets will be distributed in seat blocks (“pods”) to maintain physical distance between groups of people who do not regularly interact. The location and configuration of these pods has been predetermined by Nationals Park and approved by the District of Columbia. The configuration therefore cannot be altered by Georgetown.
Each ticket has a specific seat number. All individuals are required to sit in their assigned seat; changing or switching seats is not permitted.
Q: Do students and guests need to follow any specific health and safety precautions to access the venue? Is testing or vaccination required?
A. All guests planning to attend the ceremony in person will be required to comply with DC guidelines, including DC Travel Guidance if traveling.
Per DC’s guidance, guests who are not fully vaccinated and are arriving from outside Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia must take a COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to arrival and not travel until a negative test result has been received. For guests staying more than 72 hours, you must quarantine for 3-5 days upon arrival and obtain a negative test on day 3-5. Fully vaccinated individuals or individuals who have tested positive within 90 days do not need to test before traveling (though they may be required to show such documentation by the airlines) and are not required to quarantine. Guests should bring their vaccination card if fully vaccinated, a copy of their negative test result if not fully vaccinated, or proof of a recent COVID-19 infection to Nationals Park.
Anyone needing to test once they arrive in DC can find testing resources on the Coronavirus DC Website.
Q. Will masks be required at Nationals Park?
A. All attendees at Nationals Park are required to wear an approved face covering. Attendees who arrive without masks meeting the required minimum will be asked to wear a mask provided at the park. Masks may only be temporarily removed when guests are actively eating or drinking within their assigned seating pods. At this time, the mandatory use of masks remains in effect for all guests at Nationals Park, regardless of vaccination status.
Q. What if I or my family/guests are traveling from outside the United States?
A. Georgetown is not able to assist with any travel. All students and guests should review the latest U.S. travel guidance to ensure they are able to follow all current guidelines and procedures. International travelers should also be tested prior to departure (most airlines require a negative test 72 hours prior to departure) and quarantine for 3-5 days upon arrival, regardless of vaccination status.
Q. I’m a graduating undergraduate student. Will I be able to walk across the stage at the ceremony?
A. While the ceremony will include many of the traditional elements of a formal academic ceremony, stadium rules and the timing within the baseball season do not allow for a traditional commencement stage. Graduates will be individually recognized by name from their seat. Each graduating senior (regardless of whether attending in-person or not) will have their name read aloud during the ceremony, accompanied by their name and photo displayed on the jumbotron and other screens throughout Nationals Park. In addition, there will be numerous photo opportunities throughout the Park to take individual photos and connect with leadership from your school.
We are extremely grateful to the Nationals for allowing Georgetown to use the Park on a day in between two Major League Baseball games. Unfortunately, in this context, it is not possible for us to build a stage on the field to create this aspect of the traditional ceremony.
It is critical that you submit your photo and other information to your school. You should hear from school leadership with instructions on how to submit.
Q. I’m a graduating graduate student. Will I be able to walk across the stage at the ceremony?
A. The Graduate Commencement Ceremony at Nationals Park will recognize students from across Georgetown’s graduate and professional programs. While the ceremony will include many of the traditional elements of a formal academic ceremony, stadium rules and the timing within the baseball season do not allow for a traditional commencement stage. There will be numerous photo opportunities throughout the Park to take individual photos and connect with leadership from your individual school and program.
We are extremely grateful to the Nationals for allowing Georgetown to use the Park on a day in between two Major League Baseball games. Unfortunately, in this context, it is not possible for us to build a stage on the field to create this aspect of the traditional ceremony and individual names will not be read during the event at Nationals Park.
In addition to this in-person ceremony, graduate schools and programs will host virtual events that provide individual recognition of graduating students, including reading each graduating student’s name, accompanied by the student’s name and photo. These will be dependent on the school or program. You should hear from school leadership with further information or instructions.
Q. How can I get to Nationals Park?
A. Use of public transportation and rideshare services are strongly encouraged for all attendees.
Nationals Park is easily accessible from WMATA’s Navy Yard-Ballpark stop on the Metro’s Green Line and bus routes. More information about WMATA’s COVID-19 safety guidelines is available on the WMATA website. For those traveling by Metro from the Georgetown area, continuous-looping GUTS shuttle bus service from the bus turnaround near McDonough Gymnasium to the Dupont Circle Metro stop—and back to campus following the ceremonies—will operate from 8-9:30 a.m., 12:30-2 p.m., 3-4:30 p.m. and 7:30-8:30 p.m. The Dupont GUTS route will operate on its regular schedule during other times of the day, and the Rosslyn route will operate on its regular schedule the entire day. Please note that GUTS buses currently operate with limited capacities, and masks are required to be worn at all times when on the bus. Guests of graduates are welcome to ride on GUTS buses. We recommend budgeting at least one hour for the commute from Georgetown to Nationals Park if traveling by GUTS bus and Metro.
Taxi and rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft are also encouraged due to the limited parking available. Information about pick-up and drop-off locations can be found on the Taxi & Ride-Hailing Services page.
Parking at the ballpark is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Two Nationals parking facilities, Garage C (entrance on First Street SE) and the GEICO Garage (entrance on N Street SE) will be open. These are the only garages/lots that will be open during Georgetown’s Commencement ceremonies. The garages open at 8 a.m. for the morning ceremony and 3 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony. Parking costs $10, payable by credit card only. Information about ADA drop off can be found on the 2021 Disability Access Guide.
Q. What if I need to request an accommodation?
A. Accommodation requests should be submitted using this accommodation request form as soon as possible. The form should be filled out by the graduate using their Georgetown email address. A good-faith effort will be made to fulfill requests made after May 10, 2021.
Q. Is there a bag policy? Can I bring food or drinks?
A. Following Nationals’ Guest Conduct Policy, the following items are restricted inside ticketed areas:
- Bags (except for clutch bags measuring 5” x 7” x ¾” or smaller, and diaper bags or bags used for ADA/medical reasons measuring 16” x 16” x 8” or smaller). Bags purchased inside the Nationals Baseball Stadium Complex during the event will be tagged and permitted for that day only.
- Metal, plastic or glass containers of any kind. The only water bottles allowed in the park are clear, factory-sealed or empty plastic water bottles no larger than one liter. Only one water bottle per person will be permitted. Bottled water will be available for purchase inside the park, and refilling stations are located throughout the park. Juice boxes, insulin containers and baby food are also permitted.
- Most food items. Single-serving food items may be brought into Nationals Park, as long as they are contained in one of the approved bags or carried in your hands so the food items can be safely screened by security. Concession stands will not be open during the ceremonies, and food will not be available for purchase.
Q. Can I bring a sign or banner?
A. Information on allowable banners and signs can be found in the Nationals’ Guest Conduct Policy.
Q. What should I do in the event of bad weather? Can I bring an umbrella?
A. We encourage all guests to check the weather and dress appropriately; the event will take place, rain or shine. In the event of severe inclement weather, we will provide additional information, which could include a move to an all-virtual ceremony in the event of extremely severe weather that would prevent an outdoor ceremony from being safely held. Even in inclement weather, we will make all efforts to proceed with the Commencement ceremony as planned, so please prepare accordingly. Small purse umbrellas will be allowed inside the ballpark. Larger, non-collapsible and golf umbrellas are not permitted.
Q. What about the postponed event for the Class of 2020?
A. We know that members of our Class of 2020 are eager to be together for a celebration on campus and that the trajectory of the pandemic has delayed your return longer than we originally anticipated. As we look ahead, we see promising signs about the overall trajectory of the pandemic and the possibility of a return to our regular activities in the coming months. We will be in communication as soon as possible with further details around in-person Commencement celebrations for the Class of 2020.
Q. Should students wear academic regalia for the ceremony? If we want to order caps and gowns for our student, how do we do that?
While we hope it will be possible for you to wear academic regalia to the ceremony, it is not required to participate. If you still wish to purchase regalia or any other commemorative items, the Georgetown University Bookstore is taking orders for shipment.
Q. What about class rings or announcements?
A. You may order those items from our Georgetown/Jostens website.