Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,
The first Thanksgiving I ever celebrated was here in Boston, as a newly-arrived graduate student. Even though I was a stranger in a strange land, my teachers and classmates welcomed me into their homes to share this most resonant of American traditions. I was profoundly moved by their kindness. Today, I again find myself deeply grateful for the blessings of the past year, particularly for our amazing Northeastern community.
Here at Northeastern, we have many reasons to give thanks. We’re privileged to belong to a community that is immensely diverse, talented, and dedicated to impacting the world. Every day, we work alongside friends and colleagues to heal, to sustain, and to secure a better tomorrow. Every day, we contribute to the great endeavor of improving the human journey.
At every level, our community is advancing that goal. A few months ago, a team including undergraduate students from Northeastern placed second in the world—and first in the U.S.—in a global competition to design pods for SpaceX’s Hyperloop project. Their design brought Elon Musk’s vision of high-speed transportation a step closer to reality. 
The scholars at our Network Science Institute, including innovators like Albert-László Barabási, Alessandro Vespignani, and David Lazer, are mapping the role genetic networks play in the spread of disease, modeling epidemics and pandemics, and discovering how diverse groups learn and form opinions. They’re making enormous advances toward understanding our world and building a healthier future.
The professionals on our staff continue to support our global community of learners. As an example, a resourceful group of people—Vice President for Student Affairs Madeleine Estabrook, Associate Director of Public Safety Khushal Safi, Assistant General Counsel Jigisha Patel, Vice President for Government Relations Tim Leshan, and others—provided expert advice and assistance to members of our community on increasingly complex immigration matters. They’re ensuring that Northeastern continues to be a global university, open to people from every part of the world.
All year long, we’ve moved forward as one community. Indeed, there’s no better illustration of Northeastern’s collective spirit than the spectacular success of our Empower campaign, which would never have been possible without the contributions of an impressive 1,700 faculty and staff members. What an extraordinary expression of our community’s commitment to Northeastern’s mission!
None of this happened spontaneously. Northeastern is exceptional because of our exceptional people—including each and every one of you. Your tireless work makes this university unique among all others, a diverse academic enterprise wholly engaged with the world. Your energy and dedication advance knowledge, improve lives, and set the foundation for an even greater future.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, Zeina and I offer our heartfelt thanks for all that you do, and also our most profound gratitude to all of your family, friends, and loved ones who support you throughout the year.
With best wishes,
Joseph E. Aoun