It’s here, Class of 2014: Commencement!

North­eastern Uni­ver­sity will honor grad­u­ates as well as an accom­plished group of influ­en­tial leaders and scholars receiving hon­orary degrees on Friday in the 112th com­mence­ment exercises.

The cel­e­bra­tion will be streamed live. In prepa­ra­tion for the big day, news@Northeastern has launched a spe­cial news page with full cov­erage of this year’s com­mence­ment exer­cises and the Class of 2014. Follow @Northeastern on Twitter for play-​​by-​​play from com­mence­ment and use the offi­cial North­eastern com­mence­ment hashtag, #NU2014.

The morning cer­e­mony for under­grad­uate stu­dents begins at 10:30 a.m. at TD Garden in Boston. Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun will lead the uni­ver­sity in cel­e­brating an accom­plished group of some 3,500 grad­u­ating seniors.

Janet Napoli­tano, the former U.S. Sec­re­tary of Home­land Secu­rity who is now pres­i­dent of the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­fornia, will deliver the under­grad­uate com­mence­ment address. North­eastern will present hon­orary degrees to Napoli­tano; LL COOL J, an award-​​winning enter­tain­ment icon who cur­rently stars in the CBS prime-​​time drama series NCIS: Los Angeles; and former NFL player Wade Davis II, who is cur­rently the exec­u­tive director of the You Can Play Project, an orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to ending dis­crim­i­na­tion, sexism, and homo­phobia in sports.

Emily Izzo, SSH’14, an inter­na­tional affairs and cul­tural anthro­pology com­bined major, will deliver the stu­dent commence­ment address.

The cer­e­mony for grad­uate stu­dents begins at 3:30 p.m. at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena. Pres­i­dent Aoun will pre­side over the cer­e­mony, and Victor J. Dzau, the pres­i­dent and CEO of Duke Uni­ver­sity Health System and incoming president of the Insti­tute of Med­i­cine, will deliver the grad­uate com­mence­ment address. North­eastern will present honorary degrees to Dzau and Donald G. Comb, founder and chairman of the board of New Eng­land Bio­labs and founder of the Ocean Genome Legacy.

Com­mence­ment activ­i­ties began on Thursday after­noon in the Cabot Phys­ical Edu­ca­tion Center, where Northeastern’s third-​​annual hooding cer­e­mony for grad­u­ates receiving their doctor of phi­los­ophy degrees took place.

In wel­coming remarks, Stephen W. Director, provost and senior vice pres­i­dent for aca­d­emic affairs, noted that on Friday North­eastern will present diplomas to 186 stu­dents who’ve earned their doctor of philosophy—the most number in one year in the university’s history.

Thursday’s hooding cer­e­mony, Director said, “marks the com­ple­tion of a pro­found intel­lec­tual journey that advisers and grad­u­ates travel together” and cul­mi­nates with grad­u­a­tion on Friday, when grad­u­ates join their advisers as col­leagues. Grad­u­ates and advisers, he noted, have formed strong bonds that will con­tinue to be strength­ened over their lifetime.

The doc­toral hood, he said, is a symbol of the recip­i­ents’ enduring com­mit­ment to their dis­ci­plines’ highest stan­dards. “It is the mark of a tremen­dous per­sonal achieve­ment, and also the devo­tion to the highest level of schol­ar­ship, teaching and men­toring in their fields, and it’s a cause for cel­e­bra­tion,” he said.

Director intro­duced the keynote speaker Rupal Patel, an asso­ciate pro­fessor with joint appoint­ments in the Bouvé College of Health Sci­ences and the Col­lege of Com­puter and Infor­ma­tion Sci­ence. She is an inter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized scholar and an expert in motor speech dis­or­ders, par­tic­u­larly in chil­dren. She recently launched VocaliD, an attempt to crowd-​​source the cre­ation of per­son­al­ized syn­thetic voices for indi­vid­uals with severe speech impairments.

In her keynote, Patel lauded the grad­u­ates for their hard work and ded­i­ca­tion to earning their doctorates.

“Just as an ath­lete trains for years to com­pete in the Olympics, you have trained, you were coached, and you may have over­come obsta­cles,” Patel said, “but today you have earned this degree and all of its rights and responsibilities.”

The grad­u­ates, Patel noted, will achieve great things—from dis­cov­ering new phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals to battle cancer and creating behav­ioral treat­ments for dementia to designing inno­v­a­tive ways to combat cyber­crime and devel­oping new policies to address global cli­mate change.

“The pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less,” she said. “Your job is to create new knowl­edge, share it with others, and change the world.” To achieve these lofty aspi­ra­tions, she urged grad­u­ates to define their own mile­stones and chart their own paths in the world.

– By Greg St. Martin

Published On: May 2, 2014 | Tags:
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