In his State of the Uni­ver­sity address today, Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun declared that North­eastern Uni­ver­sity is stronger than ever and its “enor­mous momentum” is accel­er­ating. He said the Uni­ver­sity is attracting more top stu­dents and fac­ulty, expanding co-​​op and expe­ri­en­tial learning oppor­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents around the world, and fos­tering inno­v­a­tive fac­ulty research aimed at addressing the globe’s greatest soci­etal needs.

Specif­i­cally, Pres­i­dent Aoun pointed to more appli­ca­tions to the same number of seats than ever before, and more than 200 scholars joining the fac­ulty since 2006. North­eastern stu­dents are also par­tic­i­pating in more global expe­ri­en­tial learning pro­grams than ever — in 160 cities, 69 coun­tries and on all seven con­ti­nents. Click here to see a video of Pres­i­dent Aoun’s address.

We have accom­plished a lot. I am happy, but never sat­is­fied,” Pres­i­dent Aoun told hun­dreds of stu­dents, fac­ulty and staff who gath­ered in the Curry Stu­dent Center Ballroom.

The University’s co-​​op pro­gram is a dis­tinc­tive and trans­for­ma­tional model of edu­ca­tion that merges study and prac­tice, requiring the entire North­eastern com­mu­nity to be engaged locally and glob­ally, Pres­i­dent Aoun said. “We have some­thing spe­cial,” he said.

In his address, Pres­i­dent Aoun unveiled the North­eastern Uni­ver­sity Inno­va­tion and Entre­pre­neur­ship Ini­tia­tive, high­lighted by the forth­coming estab­lish­ment of a Center for Research Inno­va­tion. The center will pro­mote inno­va­tion and entre­pre­neur­ship — sig­na­ture strengths in Northeastern’s char­acter — that will form the basis for new enter­prises and strate­gies in the com­mer­cial, public and non­profit sectors.

Entre­pre­neurial spirit is flour­ishing at North­eastern, as stu­dents take part in co-​​op, spe­cialize in entre­pre­neur­ship through sev­eral degree pro­grams, and engage in other ini­tia­tives, stu­dent groups and work­shops that inspire inno­va­tion, imag­i­na­tion and creativity.

Through the center, newly devel­oped “Inno­va­tion Teams” of industry experts will work with fac­ulty and stu­dents to iden­tify com­mer­cial appli­ca­tions for their ideas, and guide them through the busi­ness, finan­cial and product devel­op­ment stages.

The ini­tia­tive is meant to foster a cul­ture of risk-​​taking and inno­va­tion,” Pres­i­dent Aoun said.

Looking to the future, Pres­i­dent Aoun out­lined the broad themes of the University’s Long Range Plan, which is rooted in the Aca­d­emic Plan devel­oped in 2007. He also encour­aged the entire North­eastern com­mu­nity to help shape the Long Range Plan going forward.

The plan is an invi­ta­tion,” he said. “It is merely a frame­work and not the answer. It’s you who have the answer,” he added calling on the com­mu­nity to take the cur­rent suc­cess to a higher level.

Later, Provost Stephen W. Director described the University’s plans to imple­ment the Long Range Plan over the next five years in four pri­mary areas: edu­ca­tion, fac­ulty, research and stu­dent experience.

This con­tinues to be an exciting time for North­eastern,” he said. “The suc­cessful imple­men­ta­tion of this Long Range Plan will cer­tainly help North­eastern con­tinue its mis­sion of edu­cating stu­dents for a life of ful­fill­ment and accomplishment.”

Director said the Uni­ver­sity remains com­mitted to devel­oping a broader range of aca­d­emic pro­grams that are inno­v­a­tive, flex­ible and incor­po­rate inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research. He also pointed to plans to increase the number of under­grad­u­ates pur­suing inter­na­tional expe­ri­ences and design more master’s degree pro­grams that offer expe­ri­en­tial learning opportunities.

In addi­tion, Director said, North­eastern plans to hire 150 new tenured or tenure-​​track fac­ulty and fill an esti­mated 150 fac­ulty vacan­cies. He said the Uni­ver­sity would cluster fac­ulty exper­tise around cur­rent and emerging areas of strength at the inter­sec­tion of disciplines.

The Uni­ver­sity will also build new inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research pro­grams focused on devel­oping prac­tical solu­tions to soci­etal issues while attracting top fac­ulty and grad­uate stu­dents and invig­o­rating the under­grad­uate curriculum.

To bol­ster the stu­dent expe­ri­ence, Director said, North­eastern will work to increase finan­cial aid and sup­port broader stu­dent extra– and co-​​curricular offerings.