Faculty and staff colleagues:

I’m writing to express my heartfelt gratitude for all that we have achieved together over the past decade. Because of your passion, creativity, and unwavering commitment to quality, our university has achieved remarkable success across every dimension of our mission.

This success has not been by chance. Rather, it is the result of a focused strategy that we developed together in our last academic plan. We decided to invest in our key differentiators: experiential learning and co-op, world-class faculty and research, a global network empowering new markets and partnerships, and a transformational student experience producing superior student outcomes.

To date, our achievements have been many:

  • Record number of applications fueling an exponential rise in academic quality of our students (three-quarters of this year’s incoming freshman were ranked in the Top 10 percent of their class and had an average two-part SAT score that exceeds 1425)—among the most selective in the country;
  • Six-year graduation rate up to 86 percent;
  • Global learning experiencesin more than 100 countries;
  • 92 percent of graduates employed full-time or enrolled in graduate school within nine months of graduation; 89 percent working in fields related to their major;
  • External research funding up 168 percent since 2006;
  • We have succeeded beyond our aspirations in generating philanthropic support, allowing us to increase the goal of our Empower Campaign from $1 billion to $1.25 billion. On an annual basis, fundraising has more than tripled from what it was a decade ago.
  • Four new campuses in Charlotte, Seattle, Silicon Valley and Toronto offering 200 online and hybrid degrees and certificates.

Our strategy continues to receive third-party recognition. In new rankings released yesterday, Northeastern ranks #39 in the national universities category of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges guide. This marks the 4th year in a row in which Northeastern has been listed in the Top 50. The new rank is an upward move of 59 places from the university’s #98 rank a decade ago.

This is just the latest external recognition of the university’s continued ascendancy. It follows other distinctions recently bestowed on Northeastern by respected institutions and publications. These include:

  • Moody’s Investor Service’s decision to upgrade Northeastern’s A2 bond rating from “stable” to “positive,” one of only 15 universities in the nation with a positive outlook;
  • Inclusion in the top tier “highest research activity” category of the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education;
  • An “A” rating for the School of Law in Health Law and in Public Interest Law from Pre-Law Magazine, which places us in the top 5 nationally in health and top 6 in public interest.
  • On the important measure of career services, a #1 or #2 ranking in every year since 2011 by the Princeton Review.

Our remarkable success serves as the launching pad for our future. Our goals for the “Northeastern 2025” academic plan are no less ambitious:

  • Extend our leadership by making undergraduate education personalized, customizable, and robot-proof;
  • Become the undisputed global leader in lifelong learning; and
  • Move Northeastern into elite status in research fields where we can make an impact on the world.

Through a network of learning and discovery spanning the globe, we will make the strategic investments necessary to create a resilient new model that will thrive within the rapidly changing higher education landscape. As we shape the university of tomorrow, I look forward to working in partnership with you to achieve these remarkable new heights.


Joseph E. Aoun