Fall 2013


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When you look at the Northeastern of today, you see a spectacular campus, a world-class reputation, unmatched momentum in our ranking and unparalleled attractiveness to students from around the globe. The university is moving forward, yet staying true to its roots. Empower: The Campaign for Northeastern is the catalyst for the next phase in our transformation.

Because you are a valued member of the Northeastern community, this newsletter will bring you insider campaign updates, invitations to special events, and stories that celebrate Northeastern as a global leader in higher education. Thank you for your investment, partnership, and support, which have been integral in positioning Northeastern for future success.


Rich D’Amore, DMSB’76 and Alan McKim, MBA’88
Campaign Co-Chairs
Empower: The Campaign for Northeastern

we inspire

The OGL is Making Waves


A priceless collection of marine life DNA and tissue samples, plus a $3.6 million dollar gift, have the power to inform wildlife conservation and create new classes of painkillers, antibiotics, and even cancer treatment.

Don Comb, a scientist and avid environmentalist, founded the Ocean Genome Legacy in 2001. Now, Comb has donated this collection to Northeastern, supported by a $3.6 million gift from New England Biolabs (NEB) and OGL to administer the collection and renovate related space at the university’s Marine Science Center in Nahant. “The mission of OGL is to put aside the DNA of many marine species that we think might go extinct very soon,” says Comb, founder and former CEO of NEB.

Comb’s aim is to preserve and protect the environment—so what does this have to do with drug development? It turns out the sea holds a treasure trove of potential breakthroughs in medicine. For example, Prialt®, a non-opiate painkiller, comes from cone snails while Yondelis®, used to treat cancer, is derived from sea squirts.

The move to Northeastern will provide OGL with a location more conducive to marine research while raising its profile in the international scientific community through its association with a university known for its marine science and sustainability research.

In turn, Northeastern students will gain new opportunities for experiential learning, while faculty will gain access to the enormous collection for research. The university will mount a fundraising effort from private donors and create a matching endowment for the collection. “This is all about collaboration, because obviously it’s too big a job for any one organization to do on its own,” says Dan Distel, director of OGL.

Donor spotlight: Joy Gilbert



Joy Gilbert UC’69, MeD ’72, got some great advice at Northeastern—then she built a long and successful career around giving advice of her own.

Now she’s giving back to the university by empowering its students.

While pursuing her undergraduate degree and then a master’s degree in education at Northeastern in the early 1970s, Gilbert volunteered to fill a vacancy for a guidance counselor position in Lexington, Mass. “I didn’t have my degree yet, so I was just helping out a few days a week, but they wanted me to work additional days.” Gilbert remembers her Northeastern adviser telling her, “Don’t do it unless they pay you!” Twenty-five years later, Gilbert looks back on a career in counseling that she loved, helping high school students find their own way in the world. She retired in 1997.

Gilbert went on to establish the Richard and Joy Gilbert Scholarship Fund with her late husband. Their $100,000 donation supports students majoring in either civil engineering or education. Richard passed away in 2008, and Gilbert continues to make gifts to the fund.

Still very much the devoted counselor, Gilbert is touched by the gratitude and communication she receives from the scholarship’s recipients. Asked about the overarching reason for her lifelong support for the university, Gilbert reflects on the people who empowered her and the faculty and advisers she worked with. “Northeastern was good to me,” she says.

MacGillivray Minute


“The MacGillivray Minute” is a series of videos featuring Senior Vice President of University Advancement Diane MacGillivray. Designed to bring you exciting insider views and information about the latest developments at Northeastern University, a new video will appear in each issue of the Empowereader.





Experiential. Relevant. Entrepreneurial. Empowering. Some things about Northeastern will never change. But the Empower campaign will–with your help–transform higher education for today’s students and professionals. And it will fuel our efforts to solve the greatest global challenges of our time.



franfranFran Janis, DMSB’82

Northeastern’s volunteer leaders and ambassadors embody the university’s mission of excellence, innovation, service–and giving back. Visit weserve to learn about our volunteer leaders and how you can empower by example.

Click here to learn more about volunteer service at Northeastern.




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Terrell Hunt, DMSB’13

I’m beyond grateful for Brenna McCarthy’s leadership, friendship, and support. She has instilled confidence in me, empowering me to follow my dreams. I’m ready for anything.

Read his Empower story here.