Video by Mary Knox Mer­rill, Mike Maz­zanti and Kristie Gillooly.

Anthony R. Man­ga­naro, E’67, H’08, pledged to place his Pres­i­den­tial Medal­lion, which he was awarded on Wednesday after­noon at Northeastern’s second annual Aca­d­emic Honors Con­vo­ca­tion, in the place he trea­sures most: his old cigar box.

Whether you are 17 or 80, rich or poor, infa­mous or famous, what mat­ters most is a memory that will fit inside a cigar box,” Man­ga­naro told stu­dents, fac­ulty and staff who filled the Curry Stu­dent Center Ball­room for one of the most impor­tant events on the university’s aca­d­emic calendar.

Noting that “cigar box mem­o­ries” trump fancy cars, houses or yachts, he added, “You can be sure that when I get home, I will place this Pres­i­den­tial Medal­lion safely in my cigar box.”

The Pres­i­den­tial Medal­lion, which North­eastern pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun described as “the university’s most pres­ti­gious honor,” has been pre­sented twice before, to George J. Kostas, E’43, H’07, and Neal F. Finnegan, BA’61, H’98.

Man­ga­naro is well-​​deserving of the award: The dis­tin­guished alumnus, leader and bene­factor was instru­mental in the founding of the Torch Scholars pro­gram, which iden­ti­fies highly moti­vated first-​​generation stu­dents who have over­come sig­nif­i­cant obsta­cles and gives them a chance to succeed.

As part of Wednesday’s cer­e­mony, Richard Day­nard, a pro­fessor of law, and Vladimir Torchilin, a dis­tin­guished pro­fessor of phar­ma­ceu­tical sci­ence, were both named Uni­ver­sity Dis­tin­guished Professors.

Stephen Director, provost and senior vice pres­i­dent for aca­d­emic affairs, described their achieve­ment as the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a North­eastern fac­ulty member. Those named Uni­ver­sity Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor have earned inter­na­tional recog­ni­tion and dis­tinc­tion for edu­ca­tional, artistic and schol­arly con­tri­bu­tions that have trans­formed their field.

We com­mend the many indi­vid­uals who have helped shape our suc­cess across this campus, throughout the nation and around the globe,” Aoun said. “Mem­bers of the uni­ver­sity endeavor to bring this insti­tu­tion to even greater heights.”

For his part, Torchilin thanked North­eastern for his award. “On behalf of all awardees, I sin­cerely thank the uni­ver­sity com­mu­nity and lead­er­ship for these awards pre­sented today,” he said. “I doubt there is any finer feeling than being hon­ored by your peers, your col­leagues and your university.”

The uni­ver­sity also bestowed the Hodgkinson Award, which honors grad­u­ating seniors who excelled in the class­room and on co-​​op; the Pres­i­den­tial Global Fel­lows award, which honors aca­d­emic standing, lead­er­ship and the under­standing of the impor­tance of expe­ri­en­tial learning; and the Inno­va­tion and Out­standing Ser­vice awards, which rec­og­nize staff mem­bers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.

We are not stop­ping,” Aoun told the award recip­i­ents at the end of the cer­e­mony. “You are dri­ving us, you are fueling our momentum.”

Visit the Aca­d­emic Honors Con­vo­ca­tion web­site for a full list of this year’s honorees.