Mason gears up to celebrate the Class of 2023


George Mason University will graduate its largest class in history this week, and perhaps its most traveled as well—the nearly 11,000 honorees hail from 111 countries, 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and military installations.

graphic gmu graduates by the numbers

Spring Commencement is set for 10 a.m. Thursday, May 18, at EagleBank Arena on the Fairfax Campus, with doors opening at 8:30 a.m. Tickets are required for guests to enter the arena, and wristbands are required for students.

Mason, the largest and most diverse public university in Virginia, will award 10,220 degrees for graduates who have filed an intent to graduate from Summer 2022, Fall 2022, and Spring 2023. The university also will award 721 certificates.

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin is the featured speaker, continuing a long tradition of the state’s chief executive addressing Mason graduates. Galilea Sejas-Machado, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and another in criminology, law and society, is the student speaker.

The university will present its highest honor, the Mason Medal, to Kimmy Duong, a Northern Virginia tech entrepreneur who supports Mason in many ways, including by awarding scholarships through her foundation.

The Class of 2023 reflects the university’s mission of access as well as its leading role in supplying tech talent to the region. About one in four graduates reports that they are first-generation degree earners and one in three bachelor’s degree recipients are in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Two of the top three master’s programs with the most 2023 graduates are data analytics engineering and computer science, and two of the top five doctorate majors are information technology and computer science.

The new graduates might find encouragement in the success of their predecessors. According to a Mason Career Plans Survey, 87% of Class of 2022 graduates report a positive career outcome with a median salary of $72,000.

Some Commencement day procedures for graduates and their guests have been changed. Graduates participating in Spring Commencement must check in with their Mason ID or G# at Wilkins Plaza no later than 9 a.m. Thursday to receive a wristband, then line up for the procession to the arena.

Non-ticketed guests and students without wristbands will be directed to the Concert Hall at the Center for the Arts on Mason Pond Drive where they can watch the ceremony live on screen. The livestream will be available on Mason’s main YouTube channel and on the Mason homepage.

As in previous ceremonies, doctoral candidates will be individually recognized and hooded. Graduates receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees will be recognized as a group at their seats.

The top five undergraduate majors among the 6,265 undergraduates in the Class of 2023 are business; information technology; psychology; criminology, law and society; and computer science.

For the 3,478 students earning master’s degrees, the top five majors are data analytics engineering, curriculum and instruction, computer science, special education, and business administration.

The top majors for the 337 students earning doctoral degrees are education, psychology, economics, information technology, and computer science.

There also are 140 law school graduates. The Scalia Law School will hold a convocation Friday at the Center for the Arts.