The start of a new academic year is an excellent time to take stock of recent accomplishments and recognitions. There is much for us to celebrate.

Student Demand and Quality

This month our newest freshman class arrived on campus—women and men from across the country and around the world. Our freshmen were selected from a record-breaking 44,208 applicants—the highest in Northeastern history. They are diverse in every sense of the word and they are remarkably accomplished. The average SAT score of the new class is projected to be 1360; this score is up from 1230 just six years ago, an increase that is unparalleled among our peer schools.

Expanding the Faculty

As part of our ongoing effort to expand and deepen our faculty ranks, this year we welcomed 72 new faculty scholars—educators who are literally changing the shape of their fields. Our new faculty ranks include three new deans: Nadine Aubry (Engineering), Hugh Courtney (Business), and Jeremy Paul (Law). These academic leaders were recruited through extensive national searches.

Use-Inspired Research

Our faculty have driven the university’s research enterprise to new heights. During the 2011-2012 academic year, Northeastern was awarded $104 million in government research funding. Only a select few universities without medical schools surpass the $100 million milestone.

New Recognitions and Rankings

These successes have been recognized in some new rankings. Last week, the annual U.S. News & World Report rankings were unveiled and Northeastern is now ranked 56 in the “National Universities” category. This represents an increase of 6 positions over last year’s rank of 62—an increase of 42 positions over the past six years.

In another high-profile ranking, last month Northeastern was ranked first in the nation for career placement by The Princeton Review. We have consistently been ranked at the top of this career placement ranking. The university was also listed on the Princeton Review’s “Green Honor Roll,” which identifies schools with a strong commitment to sustainability.

While these rankings are merely byproducts of our success, consistent upward movement in some of the established rankings—combined with other external recognitions—reflect Northeastern’s rise in national and global stature.

The Power of Philanthropy

All of this good news culminated last Wednesday when we announced the historic philanthropic investment by Rich D’Amore and Alan McKim. The launch of the new D’Amore-McKim School of Business generated significant national media coverage and a flurry of social media traffic. All of us remain grateful to Rich and Alan for this remarkable gift—an act of vision and generosity that will inspire others.

As I have said in the past, we are happy but we are never satisfied. The momentum we have today is precious. It is both our privilege and our responsibility to leverage its impact across all dimensions of the university.


Joseph E. Aoun