The ‘culmination of a long-term promise’

September 19, 2011

More than 40 doctoral students in the College of Professional Studies received their long-awaited academic hoods on Friday at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston. Photo by Christopher Huang.

More than 40 doctoral students in education, physical therapy and law and policy in the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University received their long-awaited academic hoods on Friday at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston.

They joined their fellow CPS graduates on Saturday at the Westin Copley Place Hotel in a graduation ceremony for more than 820 students in the college, which has achieved international recognition as a leader in educating working professionals.

The hooding ceremony — which marked the first time since 1997 that Northeastern has conferred a doctoral degree in education — symbolized an academic transformation from student to scholar, said John LaBrie, interim dean of the College of Professional Studies.

“Today, you change,” he told the new doctors. “You leave your place among students and join a place made ready for you in the circle of scholars — a place you had to earn.”

He praised the students for completing their doctoral theses in tough times. “You completed your doctoral work in a difficult economy, when fields of study and work are changing dramatically,” he said. “The need for new knowledge could not be more urgent.”

The celebration marked the culmination of a long-term promise the doctoral candidates made to themselves and their loved ones, noted John Caron, associate dean of education programs and college partnerships in the College of Professional Studies.

“It is a promise you made to yourself — and perhaps to your family and friends gathered with you — to do the work, learn and challenge yourself,” he said.

“Most all of,” he added, “you promised yourself you would finish.”

The ceremony included a moving tribute to Mary Jo Livingstone, a candidate for a doctorate in education who passed away this year.

As part of the tribute, LaBrie awarded Livingstone a posthumous degree. Beverly Cohen, her spouse, accepted Livingstone’s hood and diploma on her behalf.

“Mary Jo has become the symbol of honor and respect that the degree is intended to bestow,” said LaBrie, who described the former superintendent of the Weymouth, Mass., public schools as “respected, progressive and dedicated.”

“For those of you who knew Mary Jo,” he added, “I hope that your fond memories of her have been your companion during these last months.”

Eugene Pavone, a graduate of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, received the inaugural Dean’s Medal for Outstanding Doctoral Work for his thesis entitled, “Vestibular Rehabilitation in a Patient with Labyrinthitis: A Case Report.”

His thesis advisor called his paper an excellent resource for practicing physical therapists. “The paper is one that a practicing physical therapist could read and apply the next day,” she said. “It presents an excellent application of theory.”

For more information, please contact Jason Kornwitz at 617-373-5729 or at [email protected].

For more Northeastern University News, visit: http://www.northeastern.edu/news/index.html.   

More about graduation

To read Interim Dean John LaBrie’s graduation speech, visit Interim Dean John LaBrie delivers graduation address.

To read about graduates’ experiences at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies (CPS), plans after graduation, and advice to current CPS students working towards their degrees, visit We Learned from Each Other’s Life Experience: Voices from Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies Fall 2011 Graduation.   

To read about the CPS Fall 2011 Graduation, visit Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies Confers 821 Degrees.

The College of Professional Studies celebrates two graduations, fall and spring, in keeping with the College’s flexible approach to education offering an array of options to students including part-time and full-time studies, Fast-Track, online, and hybrid formats. Graduates earned diplomas in 61 different degree programs at the associate, bachelor, master’s, and doctoral levels.

To learn more about graduation, visit: http://cps.neu.edu/student-resources/graduation/index.php.


Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies (CPS) is committed to providing career-focused educational programs that are designed to accommodate the complex lives of motivated learners. Offered in a variety of innovative formats, CPS courses are taught by accomplished scholars and practitioners who have real-world experience. The result is an educational experience founded on proven scholarship, strengthened with practical application, and sustained by academic excellence.

Northeastern University is a global university with a tradition of partnership and engagement that creates an innovative, distinctive approach to education and research. Northeastern integrates classroom studies with experiential learning opportunities in 70 countries, and pursues use-inspired research with a focus on global challenges in health, security, and sustainability.