Media credit: Krishna Rajpara | photo editing assistant
This spring’s launch will follow the same COVID-19 safety protocols as last fall’s in-person ceremony.
For the first time in three years, GW will hold its traditional Spring Start Saturday at the National Mall.
University spokesperson Tim Pierce said the event will attract around 25,000 attendees who will hear remarks from guest speaker Elana Meyers Taylor, an alumnus and five-time Olympic medalist, before capping off their GW careers. The event will kick off at 10 a.m., marking the first in-person spring start since the COVID-19 pandemic moved commencement ceremonies online for two years until classes of 2020 and 2021 return to the National Mall. for a joint start in October.
“We are thrilled to reunite the Class of 2022 for the National Mall launch for a truly Unique Time at GW,” Pierce said in an email. “With approximately 25,000 people expected, it will be a great day of celebration with the graduates, their family and friends.”
Further opening celebrations for University schools, multicultural groups and ROTC cadets will begin Thursday and continue through Monday. You can find the full schedule of celebrations on the GW launch website, along with information on registration, COVID-19 safety protocols, and accessibility.
This spring’s launch will follow the same COVID-19 safety protocols as last fall’s in-person ceremony. GW registrants must provide a copy of proof of full vaccination for all their guests over the age of 5 who must have received their last dose more than two weeks in advance. All guests, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask for all indoor events, unless eating or drinking.
Graduate students receive individual recognition at celebrations specific to each college or school, where they will walk through a stage while school administrators announce their names. Graduate students and their guests will also hear from speakers like Dr. April Kapu, president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, who will address the School of Nursing, and Representative Gregory W. Meeks, DN.Y. , who will speak. at the Elliott School of International Affairs.
Following a tradition that began over a decade ago, the Multicultural Student Services Center will hold its graduation celebration in the Lisner Auditorium at 10 a.m. Thursday. Everyone is invited to this celebration which honors senior graduates who identify with Black, Asian and Pacific Islander, South Asian, Latina, Native American, Religious and Faith-based, and LGBTQIA+ communities. This event features student guest speakers and award winners as well as a parent and family reception.
Elana Meyers Taylor, alumnus and launch speaker, earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science in 2006, a master’s degree in sports management in 2011 and an honorary doctorate in public service in 2018 after being inducted into the GW Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014. During his bobsleigh career, Meyers Taylor made history as the most decorated black athlete to ever compete in the Winter Olympics, winning a total of five medals. She also advocates for equal opportunities for girls through her work with the Women’s Sports Foundation.
The University chose Vishva Bhatt, a first-generation American and international business major, as Commencement’s student lecturer. During her time at GW, she was a senior delegate for the Model United Nations team and ran College Next Door, a nonprofit that matches GW mentors with DC high schoolers to serve as a support system.
“The big message I want to leave with students and the community at large is that we all want to make a difference in the world, and we can all make a difference in the world, but it’s okay if that difference is only in a small corner or if you only help one person or only do one positive thing because it will cause a ripple effect,” Bhatt said.
Journalists and alumni Dana Bash and Chuck Todd will receive honorary degrees at Commencement. Bash, who earned a bachelor’s degree from GW in 1993, is CNN’s chief political correspondent and co-host of the Sunday morning talk show “State of the Union.” Todd, who dated GW between 1990 and 1994, is the political director of NBC News and moderates NBC’s Sunday morning talk show “Meet the Press.”
Early registration will take place on the first floor of the Science and Engineering Hall, where GW registrants can print credentials for themselves and their registered guests to access the events. The check-in schedule is available on the Start Week Check-in website.
A reserved seating area will be available for mobility impaired attendees who can be dropped off and picked up on Jefferson Drive between 7th and 12th Streets. Golf carts, controlled by Commencement staff, can transport guests from the drop-off area to the seats.
The celebration will be streamed live for everyone to enjoy on the University’s website on the day of the event. The live stream will also be posted on the website as a video after the ceremony for students and their families to watch or re-watch at their convenience.