I want to share with you a message that I sent to students earlier today.

This Friday, seniors and candidates for advanced degrees will gather with faculty, family and friends to mark an important milestone: Commencement.

In addition to celebrating the accomplishments of the class of 2010, we will award four honorary degrees to distinguished individuals who have honed distinctive talents and gifts.

Kenneth Chenault drew upon his business acumen to transform American Express into a premier global business, which he now leads. Vartan Gregorian’s keen intellect fueled his desire to advance educational opportunities for citizens around the world. Victoria Reggie Kennedy’s commitment to the common good and the ideals of democracy inspires her work. Jagdish Bhagwati’s passion for justice is at the heart of his pioneering economic research.

Each honorary-degree recipient has traveled a different path. What they share are rich and rewarding lives. They embody an important part of Northeastern’s mission, “to educate students for a life of fulfillment and accomplishment.”

Whether you are graduating on Friday or anticipating another year as a student—on campus or in another country—I encourage you to pursue the path that calls upon your unique strengths and talents. I trust you will discover gifts and interests you didn’t know you had.

In the fullness of time, your explorations and discoveries will lead to their own rich rewards.

Joseph E. Aoun