To all members of the Northeastern community:

I invite you to join me in celebrating a moment of great pride and fulfillment for our university community. Today, at Academic Honors Convocation 2019, we will recognize a record-setting number of students and faculty who have achieved the highest levels of distinction in scholarship, teaching, and service over the past academic year.

The honorees reflect the very best of Northeastern and indeed, of higher education: students and faculty who are creators and innovators, culturally agile, connecting across disciplines and cultures to change the world.

The following are just some of the many Northeastern students and faculty who have earned recognition for their outstanding achievements this year.

Northeastern’s record nine Fulbright award winners—Ngenyi Beja, Zoe Bishop, Tim DiFazio, Megan Doe, Claire Frey, Isaac Kresse, Eleanor Patten, Kevin Ryan, and Cathy Tripp—will immerse themselves in challenging new learning experiences, teaching or conducting research in countries ranging from Belgium and Germany to Brazil and South Korea.

Juan Gallego and Kritika Singh are winners of the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship, the highest U.S. honor for students planning careers in public service. Juan aims to transform politics and policy to empower disadvantaged communities, while Kritika hopes to thwart the spread of infectious disease as a physician and public health leader.

Claire Celestin, winner of the coveted Marshall Scholarship, has a powerful record of achievement in research, service, and experience, helping solidify her future as a physician focused on women’s and children’s health. Mitchell Scholar Minhal Ahmed, who has studied the critical gut-brain interface as a bioengineering major, will continue on that promising research path at University College Cork.

Minhal, Kathleen Brody, and Jameson O’Reilly, winners of the Harold D. Hodgkinson Award—Northeastern’s top undergraduate honor—have excelled inside and outside the classroom, demonstrating a deep commitment to experiential learning. Northeastern’s Outstanding Graduate Student Award winners, Emma Fridel and Ehsan Keyvani-Someh, have shown an ability to conduct high-level research and inspire students through teaching.

And Northeastern’s own Presidential Global Fellows—Ryan Maia, Eleanor Patten, Adrienne Peng, and Daniel Sneyers Pont—have built impressive records of global study and experience on six continents.

Our faculty honorees are shaping the future and setting new standards of excellence through interdisciplinary, use-inspired research and mentoring and teaching that prepares learners to be tomorrow’s change-makers.

Just last week, we learned that University Distinguished Professor of Psychology Lisa Feldman Barrett was named a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow, among the highest honors in academia.

Albert-László Barabási, the Robert Gray Dodge Professor of Network Science and a Distinguished University Professor, was elected to two prestigious international academies—the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and the Romanian Academy of Sciences.

Christo Wilson, winner of Northeastern’s Excellence in Research and Creative Activity Award, is a leader in the study of equity, privacy, and accountability in artificial intelligence and online algorithms. Michelle Beauchesne and Carolyn Lee-Parsons, our Excellence in Teaching Award winners, inspire students through their delivery of rigorous and illuminating course content. And our newly named University Distinguished Professors, David Lazer and Dagmar Sternad, have pioneered novel research methods and created new paradigms in their fields, becoming world-renowned experts in computational social science and the study of human movement, respectively.

Seven of our junior faculty have earned National Science Foundation CAREER Awards, a signal honor recognizing early career promise in research and teaching: Sidi Bencherif, Pau Closas, Eno Ebong, and Hui Fang in engineering; Javier Apfeld in biology; David Choffnes in computer sciences; and Paul Hand in mathematics and computer sciences.

Finally, our Trustee and Chair Emeritus Henry Nasella, an alumnus and true citizen of Northeastern, is the recipient of the Presidential Medallion, the university’s top honor. Since graduating with a degree in accounting in 1977, Henry has shown an indelible commitment to advancing the university through his passionate leadership, generosity, and advocacy.

All of these honorees represent Northeastern’s highest ideals. They are expanding the arc of Northeastern’s achievement as a university redefining the future of higher education. Please join me in congratulating them.


Joseph E. Aoun