Northeastern University President Joseph Aoun. Photo by Craig Bailey.
June 24, 2009
Today, Northeastern University President Joseph Aoun addressed the graduating class of American College of Thessaloniki, Greece, the first of three overseas commencement addresses he will deliver in coming weeks. He will also address graduates in Turkey and Lebanon.
Aoun began by telling the graduating class he was humbled to be with them on this special occasion in a city with a commitment to education that dates back to Aristotle.
“When people come to Greece, they understandably focus on its glorious past,” noted Aoun, citing the birthplace of democracy, philosophy, the Olympic Games, and key principles of math and science. “We are also mindful that history is not made by monuments or universities, but by talented and visionary people.”
Speaking at a college that will host 67 Northeastern students this fall as part of an ongoing exchange program, Aoun shared his global perspective, noting that this "international, interconnected and interdependent world" is where the graduating students will live and where their generation will make contributions and solve problems.
Aoun urged the graduates to embrace change, take risks, follow their passions, and engage with their communities—four guiding principals that he said helped anchor him on his own journey. An engaged life leads to achievement, added Aoun. “I can assure you that your personal fulfillment will be complete if you can commit your passion to something larger than yourself—if you can find the harmony that comes from knowing that our individual destinies are linked to the destinies of those around us.”
Aoun will speak to graduates of Bahcesehir University in Istanbul, Turkey, on June 28. Bahcesehir's many partnerships with colleges and universities around the world include a joint master's degree program with Northeastern. On July 11, Aoun will address the graduating class of Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK) in Beirut, Lebanon.