At the annual President’s Convocation, Northeastern University’s incoming 113th Class was challenged by university leaders and upperclassmen to explore the diverse amount of opportunities Northeastern has to offer, and to experience the world beyond the borders of campus.
Speaking to the 2,800 freshmen at Matthews Arena, President Joseph E. Aoun urged the new students to take advantage of co-op and experiential learning—a hallmark of education at Northeastern—by taking courses outside their majors or pursuing opportunities that offer new challenges.
“The purpose of you coming here is to explore your passions and explore the world,” said President Aoun. He also asked students to repeat a promise and a charge: “We won’t play it safe.”
President Aoun reminded freshmen the world is rapidly changing and becoming more interconnected on a global scale. He said Northeastern will help students discover for themselves how they will shape the world—by integrating themselves in different cultures and exploring various careers.
“Experience what you don’t know,” he told them and added, “every career you have will give you a different view of the world.”
At the morning convocation, enthusiastic freshman sang, cheered, applauded, and laughed. Representatives from other upper classes also came together to collectively light a candle on the stage, an annual symbolic gesture welcoming the new class to Northeastern.
The event also served as an introduction for the founding deans of Northeastern’s three new colleges: Xavier Costa, dean of the College of Arts, Media and Design; Georges Van Den Abbeele, dean of the College of Social Sciences and Humanities; and J. Murray Gibson, dean of the College of Science.
Ryan Fox, president of the Student Government Association, highlighted the more than 200 unique student organizations freshmen can pursue. Later, student speaker Danielle Dobson, a senior and double major in international affairs and economics, also encouraged freshmen to find inspiration in these opportunities and establish lasting connections with faculty.
Dobson recalled her own freshman year, when she began thinking about social entrepreneurship after participating in the Global Corps program. In total, Dobson has worked, studied, and lived on four continents during her time at Northeastern.
“Through Northeastern, I’ve had a lot of incredible and life changing experiences. Small ideas and interests I had as a freshman have turned into what I hope to be life-long pursuits,” Dobson said. “The path I’ve taken isn’t unusual at Northeastern. You will find your path you if look at a subject from more than one perspective.”