tGeorgetown University celebrates Commencement weekend each year in May.  The School of Nursing & Health Studies hosts several events during the course of the weekend for its undergraduate and graduate students, some of which are listed below.


2018 NHS COMMENCEMENT announcement

The 2018 NHS Commencement ceremony for NHS undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students will take place Saturday, May 19, at 2 p.m. in McDonough Arena. Students should arrive to the tent outside of the gym at 12:45 p.m. to check in and line up. Guests who arrive early may wait in the guest seating area of the tent until the doors open for NHS Commencement ceremony seating. Please wait to enter the gym until the preceding ceremony concludes and NHS staff open the doors for seating. The NHS reception and diploma distribution will take place in the Leavey Center Ballroom immediately following the ceremony. 

2018 Schedule of Events 

  • Senior Convocation Ceremony, Thursday, May 17, 2 p.m., McDonough Arena

    Senior Convocation inaugurates the university’s official undergraduate Commencement events.  No student degrees are conferred. Please see additional details at

  • NHS Tropaia Ceremony, Friday, May 18, 2 p.m., Rafik B. Hariri Building, Lohrfink AuditoriumAll NHS seniors and their families are invited to attend Tropaia, the NHS Awards Ceremony. Students do not wear academic regalia to this event or process into the auditorium. Attire for the Ceremony is business casual. Students and families are asked to arrive and be seated by 1:45 p.m.  Tickets are not required and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. “Tropaia” is the plural of an ancient Greek word that refers to a monument celebrating a military victory.  The word in the context of our Tropaia Exercises means “trophies” or “awards.”  This is the main NHS awards ceremony, at which the deans and faculty mark the accomplishments and glories of members of the Senior Class. Faculty select outstanding seniors to receive a variety of NHS awards.  Some of these medals and awards are historic, given every year to an NHS senior. Additionally, a member of the senior class will be selected by the faculty to give a Commencement Address to be delivered at Tropaia.  

  • Senior Ball, Friday, May 18, 9 p.m., Union Station. Information about Senior Ball is available at

  • NHS Graduate & Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony, Saturday, May 19, 2 p.m., Healy Lawn. The NHS Commencement Ceremony for NHS doctoral, graduate and undergraduate students will take place at 2 p.m. on Healy Lawn. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. in McDonough Arena. The NHS Commencement Ceremony is not ticketed, and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

  • NOTE: A reception and diploma distribution will take place on the Leavey Center Esplanade following the Commencement Ceremony. In the event of inclement weather, the reception and diploma distribution will take place in the Leavey Center Ballroom. 

  • Baccalaureate Mass, Sunday, May 20, 9 a.m., Healy LawnThe Office of Campus Ministry celebrates this Mass for students and their families, as well as members of the campus community. (Rain site: McDonough Arena).

Did you know...

NHS has hosted diverse figures over the years as Commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients.  Just a few examples:

  • James H. Shelton III, president of Chan Zuckerberg Education at the Chan Zukerberg Initiative
  • Beverly Malone, CEO of the National League for Nursing
  • Vikram Patel, professor of international mental health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
  • Alan Leshner, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • The Honorable Mark Green, former U.S. ambassador to Tanzania
  • Dorothea Orem, founder of the Self-Care Deficit Nursing Theory
  • First Lady Laura Bush
  • Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii)
  • David Satcher, former Surgeon General
  • Lisa Simpson, president and CEO of AcademyHealth
  • Colleen Scanlon (NHS'76), senior vice president for advocacy at Catholic Health Initiatives
  • AHRQ Director Carolyn Clancy
  • Helen Varney Burst, author of Varney's Midwifery
  • Paul O'Neill, former Secretary of the Treasury
  • John Howard, director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health


The school's first graduation speaker, back in 1906, was physician Joseph Taber Johnson (M'1865), who spoke in Gaston Hall on June 13.  He addressed, among other topics, ethics and nursing.