Thou­sands of Northeastern’s newest stu­dents, along with fac­ulty and staff, helped the Uni­ver­sity cel­e­brate the re-​​opening of Matthews Arena on Monday after­noon, packing the grand old edi­fice for the annual President’s Convocation.

Northeastern’s 112th entering class was offi­cially wel­comed by the University’s aca­d­emic leaders in full regalia, led by Pres­i­dent Joseph Aoun, who chal­lenged stu­dents to make a mark on the world—both at North­eastern and throughout their lives. Citing Northeastern’s dis­tinc­tive expe­ri­en­tial approach to edu­ca­tion as the best prepa­ra­tion for the real world, Aoun called upon the University’s most diverse class to take advan­tage of the oppor­tu­nity to explore the globe in a deep and mean­ingful way.

The world is too inter­esting to ignore,” Aoun said. “And the most pow­erful way to learn is to inte­grate study and practice.”

North­eastern stu­dents’ unique edu­ca­tional experiences—which include co-​​op, study abroad, the Dia­logue of Civ­i­liza­tions pro­gram, and other over­seas oppor­tu­ni­ties in 52 coun­tries throughout the world—give them a one-​​of-​​a-​​kind glimpse into the dynamics of global con­nect­ed­ness that pre­vious gen­er­a­tions of stu­dents have not had.

The goal, Aoun noted, is not to pre­pare stu­dents for their first post-​​college job, but rather for a life­time that will likely include a first, second, third, or even fourth career. In our rapidly changing world, suc­cess will hinge on stu­dents’ ability to see beyond the bounds of the familiar and develop a global per­spec­tive, he said.

You are starting in a period of world­wide reces­sion,” Aoun explained. “You must explore the world in order to make it a better world, and also to make your­self a better person.”

To watch a video of Pres­i­dent Aoun’s remarks, please click here: http://​www​.north​eastern​.edu/​n​e​w​s​/​m​u​l​t​i​m​e​d​i​a​/​v​i​d​e​o​.​h​t​m​l​?​c​o​n​t​e​n​t​I​D​=​j​x​h​h​6​Q​z​p​-​E​q​L​N​G​j​M​m​9​f​11w

Pres­i­den­tial Scholar Jordan Clark echoed Aoun’s mes­sage by encour­aging his peers to get involved, both on campus and in the world beyond. “Don’t let this time pass without leaving your mark,” said Clark, who recently com­pleted a co-​​op at the White House Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Office. “You don’t need to wait until your second or third year. Start now.”

Clark, who also held an intern­ship in the late Sen.Edward M.Kennedy’s office, praised North­eastern for its com­mit­ment to urban engage­ment, pointing to his com­mu­nity ser­vice work as a tutor and mentor for high-​​school stu­dents in Charlestown and Rox­bury as a prime example of the University’s pas­sion for giving back.

North­eastern has made me want to do my best to give back,” he said. “Oppor­tu­ni­ties such as these have made my North­eastern expe­ri­ence amazing.”

Ryan Fox, pres­i­dent of the Stu­dent Gov­ern­ment Asso­ci­a­tion, also greeted the most accom­plished class in Uni­ver­sity his­tory (the new class includes approx­i­mately 40 National Merit and National Achieve­ment scholars; half grad­u­ated within the top 10 per­cent of their high-​​school class), telling his peers, “We are con­fi­dent that you will become the next gen­er­a­tion of stu­dent leaders… One of you could even become our stu­dent body president.”

From their very first day on campus, stu­dents will have an unpar­al­leled oppor­tu­nity to build lead­er­ship skills, make lasting friend­ships, and gain expe­ri­ence as leaders, he said. Whether through a cul­tural orga­ni­za­tion, fra­ter­nity, or club sport, he encour­aged the new class to dive head­first into life at Northeastern.

With such a diverse stu­dent body,” he said, “every stu­dent orga­ni­za­tion is unique and has a spe­cial place within the activ­i­ties of the Uni­ver­sity. Depending on your inter­ests, we are sure you will find the oppor­tu­nity to become an active part of the Husky community.”

Provost Stephen Director expounded upon the theme of explo­ration, citing Northeastern’s inter­dis­ci­pli­nary and use-​​inspired research for its influ­ence on the world beyond the Uni­ver­sity. Northeastern’s com­mit­ment to research pro­vides stu­dents with the chance to create solu­tions to some of society’s most daunting challenges.

You are begin­ning your col­lege careers in a great research uni­ver­sity,” Director said, “where you will join our fac­ulty and your fellow stu­dents in the adven­ture of extending the bound­aries of knowl­edge and applying your learning to the chal­lenges of the world out­side our walls.”

Director also acknowl­edged assis­tant clin­ical pro­fessor of phys­ical therapy Leslie Day, and Eng­lish pro­fessor Guy Rotella for both win­ning the Excel­lence in Teaching Award, and intro­duced the University’s col­lege deans, one by one.

Before heading off to a Wel­come Week bar­becue, stu­dents were treated to a rousing musical per­for­mance by stu­dent a cap­pella group the Down­beats, fol­lowed by the University’s pep band and cheer­leading squad.