Graduation speaker, author Dennis Lehane, demonstrates how a career is shaped by life experiences

November 29, 2012

867 Graduates Receive Diplomas in Biannual College of Professional Studies Graduation Ceremony

“Your faculty have noted on numerous occasions that the diverse mix of backgrounds and life experiences have provided our classrooms an engaging and rewarding experience that is unique to the College of Professional Studies,” said John LaBrie, dean of the College Professional Studies (CPS), in his opening address to the fall 2012 graduates. “This serves as a reminder of what makes this College special — the people. The stories of our students and alumni are truly remarkable.”

Over 2,500 people attended the fall 2012 graduation ceremony – graduates, families and friends, staff and faculty, administration leaders, Philomena Mantella, senior vice president at Northeastern University, and graduation speaker Dennis Lehane, Boston native and author of nine novels including the New York Times bestsellers Gone, Baby, GoneMystic RiverShutter Island; and The Given Day —as well as Coronado, a collection of short stories and a play. His newest book, Live by Night: A Novel, will be published in early October.

In a speech on life lessons and the beauty and power of a diverse society, Lehane said, “The first lesson I learned from my father, without him knowing he was teaching me, was not to be fearful.” And, Lehane repeated his father’s advice, “Don’t judge anyone until you know what kind of day they’ve had and what kind of life they’ve had.”

Before building a career that now encompasses writing, teaching, film and television, Lehane worked a wide-range of jobs, all while pursuing his dream of writing.

Like Lehane, persistence is a quality that CPS students possess, as noted by Dean LaBrie in his closing remarks: “I applaud each of you for weathering long days and nights — for skillfully balancing work, life, and school — for remaining dedicated and faithful to your education.”

The College of Professional Studies awarded 11 associate, 271 bachelor’s, 547 master’s, and 47 doctoral degrees in the ceremony at Matthews Arena on the Northeastern University campus in Boston.

More about graduation
To read about the College of Professional Doctoral Hooding Ceremony on September 28, 2012, the celebration of the completion of doctoral studies, visit: A celebration marking the completion of studies at the highest level.

To view the archived video from the fall 2012 graduation ceremony, visit: http://www.cps.neu.edu/cps-graduation-ceremony-videos/graduation-video-fall-2012.php.

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 earn diplomas in 61 different degree programs at the associate, bachelor’s, 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.

Founded in 1898, Northeastern is a comprehensive, global research university. The university offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and more than 165 graduate programs, ranging from professional master’s degrees to interdisciplinary PhD programs. Northeastern’s research enterprise is aligned with three national imperatives: health, security and sustainability. Northeastern students participate in co-op and other forms of experiential learning in 90 countries on all seven continents.