Welcome to the beginning of a truly momentous school year at Northeastern University.

For four years now, our community has worked aggressively to propel our University to new heights by developing and implementing our Academic Plan. This year more than ever, our labors are coming to fruition. The results of our efforts have never been more evident.

This morning, the 113th undergraduate class filled Matthews Arena with the energy and enthusiasm worthy of one of the most talented classes ever to enroll at Northeastern. The procession included three new flags, one for each of the new colleges we have established this year. The College of Arts, Media and Design; the College of Science; and the College of Social Sciences and Humanities—and their founding deans—now take their place alongside the five established colleges and the School of Law that have long distinguished Northeastern.

Forty new scholars join our ranks this year, extending our unparalleled success in recruiting new faculty. Hailing from every corner of the world, these dynamic scholars symbolize Northeastern’s commitment to providing all our students with an excellent academic experience and a truly global education.

At the same time, our University continues to lead the way in advancing path-breaking research aligned with the national imperatives of health, security and sustainability. This week, we break ground in Burlington on the George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security. When it opens in the spring, the institute will further solidify Northeastern’s position as a leader in national-security research.

Finally, because we believe the world is too interesting to ignore, we continue to expand our signature education program—co-op. This year, thousands of students will have the opportunity to work, study, conduct research and undertake service projects in dozens of countries. Co-op remains at the heart of our identity, an ever-growing part of our efforts to help all our students develop a global perspective.

None of these developments is an accident. We have embraced a vision of excellence, and we work hard to achieve it. While other institutions behaved cautiously during the economic downturn, we saw it as an opportunity to forge ahead. We charted our own path. We created our own destiny.

Now the results of our hard work are in full bloom, and our University’s accelerating momentum can be felt in every corner of campus and beyond. We continue to meet—and exceed—the ambitious goals we set for our institution. As a result, we are receiving significant external recognition of our success, including an unprecedented surge in national rankings.

As Northeastern boldly charges forward, I encourage each of you—students, faculty and staff—to chart a bold path as well. Take risks. Challenge assumptions. Question your beliefs. Follow your passions. Discover the world.

I invite all of you to join me at our annual State of the University Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, October 13. Together, we’ll discuss the opportunities that lie ahead for Northeastern during this exciting year.

Very truly yours,

Joseph E. Aoun