More than 40 doc­toral stu­dents in edu­ca­tion, phys­ical therapy and law and policy in the Col­lege of Pro­fes­sional Studies at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity received their long-​​awaited aca­d­emic hoods on Friday at the Colon­nade Hotel in Boston.

They joined their fellow CPS grad­u­ates on Sat­urday at the Westin Copley Place Hotel in a grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony for more than 820 stu­dents in the col­lege, which has achieved inter­na­tional recog­ni­tion as a leader in edu­cating working professionals.

The hooding cer­e­mony — which marked the first time since 1997 that North­eastern has con­ferred a doc­toral degree in edu­ca­tion — sym­bol­ized an aca­d­emic trans­for­ma­tion from stu­dent to scholar, said John LaBrie, interim dean of the Col­lege of Pro­fes­sional Studies.

Today, you change,” he told the new doc­tors. “You leave your place among stu­dents and join a place made ready for you in the circle of scholars — a place you had to earn.”

He praised the stu­dents for com­pleting their doc­toral theses in tough times. “You com­pleted your doc­toral work in a dif­fi­cult economy, when fields of study and work are changing dra­mat­i­cally,” he said. “The need for new knowl­edge could not be more urgent.”

The cel­e­bra­tion marked the cul­mi­na­tion of a long-​​term promise the doc­toral can­di­dates made to them­selves and their loved ones, noted John Caron, asso­ciate dean of edu­ca­tion pro­grams and col­lege part­ner­ships in the Col­lege of Pro­fes­sional Studies.

It is a promise you made to your­self — and per­haps to your family and friends gath­ered with you — to do the work, learn and chal­lenge your­self,” he said.

Most all of,” he added, “you promised your­self you would finish.”

The cer­e­mony included a moving tribute to Mary Jo Liv­ing­stone, a can­di­date for a doc­torate in edu­ca­tion who passed away this year.

As part of the tribute, LaBrie awarded Liv­ing­stone a posthu­mous degree. Bev­erly Cohen, her spouse, accepted Livingstone’s hood and diploma on her behalf.

Mary Jo has become the symbol of honor and respect that the degree is intended to bestow,” said LaBrie, who described the former super­in­ten­dent of the Wey­mouth, Mass., public schools as “respected, pro­gres­sive and dedicated.”

For those of you who knew Mary Jo,” he added, “I hope that your fond mem­o­ries of her have been your com­panion during these last months.”

Eugene Pavone, a grad­uate of the Doctor of Phys­ical Therapy Pro­gram, received the inau­gural Dean’s Medal for Out­standing Doc­toral Work for his thesis enti­tled, “Vestibular Reha­bil­i­ta­tion in a Patient with Labyrinthitis: A Case Report.”

His thesis advisor called his paper an excel­lent resource for prac­ticing phys­ical ther­a­pists. “The paper is one that a prac­ticing phys­ical ther­a­pist could read and apply the next day,” she said. “It presents an excel­lent appli­ca­tion of theory.”