Words of advice from Lindsay Levin as the College confers nearly 1,500 degrees
“In these times, it is more important than ever that we learn to be wise as well as smart. To listen to our own intuition – the still small voice inside – and choose how you will respond to whatever life brings up. What we spend our time on, how we behave towards others – the means as well as the ends. This is our agency in the world. The imprint we leave behind.”
This was the message offered to nearly 1,500 graduates at the Northeastern University College of Professional Studies ceremony by Lindsay Levin, entrepreneur, leadership expert, and Founder and Partner, Leaders’ Quest, a social enterprise organization.
Levin, whose work focuses on the transformation of companies and organizations, has created a model for learning and social change through Leaders’ Quest. She believes that leaders can be found in communities and neighborhoods, in addition to corporate offices, and that tapping into one’s own network can provide extraordinary outcomes and opportunities.
Thousands of family members and friends attended the ceremony on the Boston campus, celebrating a total of 1,491 degrees conferred— 315 Bachelor’s, 1,011 Master’s, 164 Doctoral and 1 Associate’s.
Read more about two graduates: Ryan Daley, a veteran who is looking ahead to apply his dedication and ambition to a future of politics and Fran Lee Hutton, a lifelong learner who parlayed her love of maps and her degree into a one-of-a-kind job.
Faculty Recognized for Teaching Excellence Award
During graduation, the College presented the Excellence in Teaching Award to two outstanding faculty members: Dean He and Yufeng Qian.
Nominated by students in the Doctor of Education program, Professor Qian is described by one student as "actively engaged in cultivating a dynamic online learning community, and assigns relevant coursework and discussion prompts that challenge student thinking and provide the opportunity for students to critically examine their role in the research process." Professor He, faculty member in the Master of Science in Commerce and Economic Development program, was praised for embracing teaching as an opportunity to engage and inspire his students. One student noted: “"Professor He enhanced my confidence on a career choice. He is a teacher I respect and will keep in touch with after graduation."
Doctoral Candidates Earn Symbol of Academic Achievement
On May 11, the College hosted a Doctoral Hooding Ceremony for candidates in the Doctor of Education, Doctor of Law and Policy, and Doctor of Physical Therapy programs symbolizing their transition from student to scholar-practitioner. Candidates received their doctoral hoods from their thesis advisers at this annual ceremony.
At every doctoral hooding ceremony, one student is selected to receive the Dean’s Medal for Outstanding Doctoral Work, the highest honor awarded by the College to a doctoral graduate. The award was established to acknowledge exemplary academic achievement and to recognize demonstrated creativity and writing quality.
This year, the Dean’s Medal winner was Dr. Ted Johnson, of the Doctor of Law and Policy program, for his thesis, “Beyond the Veil: The Electoral Uniformity and Political Heterogeneity of African American Voters.” Dr. Johnson, who is a National Security Research Manager at Deloitte's Center for Government Insights and an Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fellow at New America, noted in his speech that he went into his doctoral studies not believing the literature reviews he conducted.
“So, I did what scholars do – I questioned it. I challenged assumptions and tackled the open questions. And I set out to create myself into the man I wanted to be: A scholar. A professor. An author. And a public intellectual on black American politics,” he said.
“The College of Professional Studies made this possible,” he went on to note. “It showed me that the reason I didn’t believe the literature reviews wasn’t because the findings were wrong – but because they were incomplete. The assembly of knowledge about any given topic – to include who you are and who you aspire to be – is never complete. Adding to the body of knowledge is our charge as doctors and a duty we each owe to ourselves.”
Dr. Chris Unger, Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Education, was the faculty speaker at the ceremony.
“Your work has just begun,” Unger stated to all the graduates before him. “And hopefully you are graduating not only with the brain of a scarecrow…but the heart of a tinman…and, importantly, the courage of a lion. I harken back to these three gifts from the movie the Wizard of Oz because I see each of these as important to your future, as both change agents and as ambassadors of Northeastern.”
“I hope we have told you to follow your passion,” Unger said in his closing remarks. “Amidst the hard work and the challenges, don’t forget from time-to-time to reflect on what it is that you care about, what drives you, and your passion. Don’t forget that. And then use your brain, your heart, and your courage to make that difference.”
About Northeastern University College of Professional Studies
The College of Professional Studies is one of nine colleges of Northeastern University, a nationally ranked private research university in Boston, MA. Founded in 1960, the College teaches undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students on campus and online in more than 65 degree programs and is part of The Professional Advancement Network.
About the Professional Advancement Network
The Northeastern University Professional Advancement Network helps professionals participate in dynamic, experiential learning opportunities, earn degrees and certificates, build connections, and keep pace with the rapidly evolving business world—now and in the years to come. This is achieved through real-world experiences and rigorous curriculums, a supportive learning environment, and comprehensive academic and career coaching—all powered by an extensive network of alumni and employer partners. The Professional Advancement Network is an innovative approach to lifelong learning, offering access to over 200 distinctive, high-quality educational programs, degrees, certificates, and boot camps.