Skip to content

It’s here, Class of 2014: Commencement!

North­eastern Uni­ver­sity will honor grad­u­ates as well as an accom­plished group of influ­en­tial leaders and scholars receiving hon­orary degrees on Friday in the 112th com­mence­ment exercises.

The cel­e­bra­tion will be streamed live. In prepa­ra­tion for the big day, news@Northeastern has launched a spe­cial news page with full cov­erage of this year’s com­mence­ment exer­cises and the Class of 2014. Follow @Northeastern on Twitter for play-​​by-​​play from com­mence­ment and use the offi­cial North­eastern com­mence­ment hashtag, #NU2014.

The morning cer­e­mony for under­grad­uate stu­dents begins at 10:30 a.m. at TD Garden in Boston. Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun will lead the uni­ver­sity in cel­e­brating an accom­plished group of some 3,500 grad­u­ating seniors.

Janet Napoli­tano, the former U.S. Sec­re­tary of Home­land Secu­rity who is now pres­i­dent of the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­fornia, will deliver the under­grad­uate com­mence­ment address. North­eastern will present hon­orary degrees to Napoli­tano; LL COOL J, an award-​​winning enter­tain­ment icon who cur­rently stars in the CBS prime-​​time drama series NCIS: Los Angeles; and former NFL player Wade Davis II, who is cur­rently the exec­u­tive director of the You Can Play Project, an orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to ending dis­crim­i­na­tion, sexism, and homo­phobia in sports.

Emily Izzo, SSH’14, an inter­na­tional affairs and cul­tural anthro­pology com­bined major, will deliver the stu­dent commence­ment address.

The cer­e­mony for grad­uate stu­dents begins at 3:30 p.m. at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena. Pres­i­dent Aoun will pre­side over the cer­e­mony, and Victor J. Dzau, the pres­i­dent and CEO of Duke Uni­ver­sity Health System and incoming president of the Insti­tute of Med­i­cine, will deliver the grad­uate com­mence­ment address. North­eastern will present honorary degrees to Dzau and Donald G. Comb, founder and chairman of the board of New Eng­land Bio­labs and founder of the Ocean Genome Legacy.

Com­mence­ment activ­i­ties began on Thursday after­noon in the Cabot Phys­ical Edu­ca­tion Center, where Northeastern’s third-​​annual hooding cer­e­mony for grad­u­ates receiving their doctor of phi­los­ophy degrees took place.

In wel­coming remarks, Stephen W. Director, provost and senior vice pres­i­dent for aca­d­emic affairs, noted that on Friday North­eastern will present diplomas to 186 stu­dents who’ve earned their doctor of philosophy—the most number in one year in the university’s history.

Thursday’s hooding cer­e­mony, Director said, “marks the com­ple­tion of a pro­found intel­lec­tual journey that advisers and grad­u­ates travel together” and cul­mi­nates with grad­u­a­tion on Friday, when grad­u­ates join their advisers as col­leagues. Grad­u­ates and advisers, he noted, have formed strong bonds that will con­tinue to be strength­ened over their lifetime.

The doc­toral hood, he said, is a symbol of the recip­i­ents’ enduring com­mit­ment to their dis­ci­plines’ highest stan­dards. “It is the mark of a tremen­dous per­sonal achieve­ment, and also the devo­tion to the highest level of schol­ar­ship, teaching and men­toring in their fields, and it’s a cause for cel­e­bra­tion,” he said.

Director intro­duced the keynote speaker Rupal Patel, an asso­ciate pro­fessor with joint appoint­ments in the Bouvé College of Health Sci­ences and the Col­lege of Com­puter and Infor­ma­tion Sci­ence. She is an inter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized scholar and an expert in motor speech dis­or­ders, par­tic­u­larly in chil­dren. She recently launched VocaliD, an attempt to crowd-​​source the cre­ation of per­son­al­ized syn­thetic voices for indi­vid­uals with severe speech impairments.

In her keynote, Patel lauded the grad­u­ates for their hard work and ded­i­ca­tion to earning their doctorates.

“Just as an ath­lete trains for years to com­pete in the Olympics, you have trained, you were coached, and you may have over­come obsta­cles,” Patel said, “but today you have earned this degree and all of its rights and responsibilities.”

The grad­u­ates, Patel noted, will achieve great things—from dis­cov­ering new phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals to battle cancer and creating behav­ioral treat­ments for dementia to designing inno­v­a­tive ways to combat cyber­crime and devel­oping new policies to address global cli­mate change.

“The pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less,” she said. “Your job is to create new knowl­edge, share it with others, and change the world.” To achieve these lofty aspi­ra­tions, she urged grad­u­ates to define their own mile­stones and chart their own paths in the world.

– By Greg St. Martin

More Stories

Photo of the Capitol Building at night

High stakes for politics, SCOTUS in 2018

Photo of the crashed truck that was used in the October 31st attack in Manhattan.

Weaponizing Language: How the meaning of “allahu akbar” has been distorted

Northeastern logo

Why I love studying Spanish