This past weekend, President Joseph Aoun addressed 600 Northeastern alumni at a barbecue to kick off the sixth annual Huskies-Red Sox spring training game in Fort Myers, Florida.
The baseball game was one of several alumni events hosted in Florida, including the fifth Northeastern University Annual Alumni Dinner and Golf Outing hosted by Mel, '56, and Martha Aronson at the Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, Florida.
Nearly 130 alumni and guests attended the dinner that evening, where Aronson, Aoun, and Senior Gift Drive chair Jason Horton, ’09, spoke about the rewards of staying connected with the university.
The events have grown in popularity over the years, drawing from the more than 7,000 Florida-based alumni that comprise Northeastern’s Naples, Tampa Bay, Miami, and Palm Beach County Alumni Chapters.
At Saturday’s pregame barbecue, Huskies baseball captain Jeff Thomson, ’09, and Red Sox representative Ben Cherington spoke briefly before Vice President of Alumni Relations Jack Moynihan invited Aoun to address the guests.
Aoun began by recapping recent university achievements—including a recent $9 million federal grant to develop sensors to monitor the condition of U.S. roads and bridges, last year’s $10 million Department of Homeland Security grant to create explosives detection technology, and the College of Business Administration’s recent jump in entrepreneurship rankings.He also pointed to Northeastern’s no. 1 Princeton Review rating for job placement.
“To be the best in terms of job placement in this economy is a good place to be,” he told the alumni. Aoun’s central message for the audience, however, was this: Northeastern is focused on its core mission of teaching and research. He cited recent decisions by other universities to reduce faculty numbers, and explained that Northeastern has focused its cost containment measure on “peripheral endeavors” so the university can remain focused on strategic imperatives, such as its ongoing plan to hire top faculty.
“Others are retrenching, and we’re moving forward. It’s a great situation to be in,” he said. “This didn’t happen by itself. You, our alumni, laid the foundation.”
The first pitch of the game was delivered by Horton, and despite the eventual victory by the Red Sox, Husky spirit remained high throughout the game.