Northeastern Food Policy Expert Honored for 30 Years of Advocacy

In the time since an E. coli outbreak took his son’s life, CPS Associate Teaching Professor Darin Detwiler has advised USDA and FDA leaders, spoken at conferences, and taught, all with one goal–to prevent more families from experiencing the same tragedy.

Graduation 2021

College honors master’s and doctoral graduates, citing ‘ingenuity and resilience’, with ceremonies that emphasize service, perseverance and experiential learning.

Doctoral Hooding

A doctoral candidate gets hooded by her advisor at the September 9 doctoral hooding and graduation ceremony at Matthews Arena.

The words of Brent Musson, (Doctor of Law and Policy ’20), captured the mood at the Doctoral Hooding and Graduation Ceremony of the College of Professional Studies in Matthews Arena Sept. 9—and at the Master’s Graduation Ceremony in the same location the following day: “Humanity at its best,” the 2020 Dean’s Medal recipient said in his remarks to the successful doctoral candidates, “is humanity in gratitude.”

Gratitude was in abundance both days as faculty, administrators, students and their families—as well as friends of the College worldwide via livestream—celebrated the graduates’ achievements in the face of extraordinary challenges. Speakers at the ceremonies praised the degree recipients for their perseverance in scholarship despite a global pandemic, their passionate commitment to learning and their determination to address real-world problems in their project-based learning and research.

‘Both humility and pride’

In his opening remarks on Sept. 9, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs David Madigan, Ph.D., welcomed the College of Professional Studies (CPS) community, expressed his faith in the graduates’ future success and his pride in their accomplishments and celebrated their membership in Northeastern’s “powerful knowledge network” dedicated to the dream of a more just and equitable society. He was followed at the podium by Interim Dean of CPS Dr. David Fields, who noted the unusual degree to which CPS students break down the barriers between work and learning.

“Our doctoral students are already fulltime professionals and leaders in their fields,” Dr. Fields observed. “In true Northeastern fashion, they are researching what they live, and living what they research, every day.”

Dr. Fields went on to explain the significance of the hooding ceremony—so-called because doctoral students traditionally have the hoods of their academic regalia lifted over their heads by faculty.

“The symbolism of the hooding ceremony at our doctoral commencement honors both the doctoral candidate’s work and the network of relationships that make that work possible,” Fields said. “[It] embodies both humility and pride, on both sides of the relationship, as faculty members welcome a new peer into their community.”

Faculty speaker Dr. Mounira Morris (B.S. ’91, M.S. ’95), assistant teaching professor and the co-lead for the Master of Education in Higher Education Administration program, offered her congratulations to the graduates and acknowledged the special challenges that had arisen during their studies, including the pandemic and the persistence of racial injustice. She quoted James Baldwin, noting his achievements as a playwright, novelist and civil rights activist: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

“To me,” Dr. Morris said, “this means that at times we will collectively endure hardship; however, we can use these experiences, especially as doctors, to offer wisdom, hope, and a better path forward.”

A longtime leader in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)—and currently working with colleagues at Northeastern to develop a new academic credential in DEI—Dr. Morris emphasized the power for good inherent in the attainment of an advanced degree, encouraging the graduates to find creative solutions to the challenges in their professions, communities and personal lives.

“We, as faculty,” she said, “ask that you take your research, and go out and change your world, your profession, your workplace and make it just a little bit better than before. We, as faculty, believe you can persevere and persist.  We know you can.”

Intellectual explorers

Dr. Musson, whose acceptance of the 2020 Dean’s Medal had been previously postponed due to Covid-19 precautions, suggested in his remarks that the attitude of an academic researcher is “not that of an author or maker, but rather that of an explorer.” He praised the selflessness and commitment of his peers and made a critical distinction between an undergraduate education—which, he said, “teaches a student how to learn”—and a graduate education, in which students learn “to use tools … to solve other people’s problems” and to create value, going “from inward-facing to outward-facing.”

He noted that, soon after a doctoral candidate’s academic journey begins, “we become acutely aware of what we’re signing up for; to spend the next few years engaged in the most rigorous intellectual exercise of our lives, to extract a single, pure, tiny drop of insight to ever-so-slightly raise the sea level of the ocean of human knowledge.”

And he described a moment of inspiration in what he termed a spiritual awakening: a street soccer game he had observed in West Africa more than a decade earlier, where, when a beautiful goal was scored, both teams celebrated. Drawing a parallel between the players’ selfless joy and the academic community he had found at Northeastern, Dr. Musson said, “These happy boys had purpose; and that purpose made them work together, against all odds to orchestrate a moment of greatness—a moment of pure, unselfish greatness.

“I’ve never circled a soccer field making wings with my arms,” he continued, “but research has made me part of our team, and this humbling honor is our winning goal.”

As Dr. Musson finished his speech, the audience rose to deliver a sustained standing ovation.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Dr. Madigan returned to the stage to offer closing remarks, praising the successful doctoral candidates for their “drive, dedication and sense of purpose.”

“The world is ever changing,” he said, “but you are prepared to meet—and conquer—its challenges.”

Master’s Ceremony

844 graduates across 28 programs walked the stage at the September 10 master’s degree graduation ceremony at Matthews Arena.

‘A day full of promise’

The following afternoon, Dr. Madigan returned to welcome master’s graduates to the arena on “a day full of promise.” He praised their “clear-eyed determination, discipline and hard work,” and offered special recognition to the faculty who, he said, by guiding the graduates to success, “have strengthened a legacy of knowledge and helped shape the future in scores of fields of professional endeavor.”

Following Dr. Madigan’s remarks, Dr. Fields spoke, celebrating the graduates’ global engagement and their cultivation of “the cultural competencies needed for a lifetime of contribution in a fast-paced, diverse, global society.” He went on to emphasize the benefits of their embrace of experiential learning, noting that in so doing, they had “addressed pressing, real-world problems” and become “well-prepared to lead from experience in the workplace.”

Dr. Fiona Creed, associate teaching professor and faculty director of the Global Studies and International Relations program, next introduced student speaker Ebony Small, ’21.

Reflecting on a year of adversity, Small observed “the pandemic itself could neither make nor break us” and asked graduates to consider the ways in which the challenges of the past 18 months had taught them to know their own courage, ambition, and steadfastness.

“We did not make it to this moment merely because we just-so-happened to survive a global pandemic,” Small said. “No, we made it here because we made the choice to value education and then fiercely pursued it. My dear friends and colleagues, despite the unexpected challenges of this year, we thrived. We grew. We changed.”

“This,” she concluded, “is what it looks like to turn a choice into a change. This is what it looks like to champion growth. Congratulations.”

From humble roots to world-renowned

Following an introduction by Dr. Earlene Avalon, associate professor and lead faculty for Health Administration and Health Sciences, graduation speaker Carl H. Whittaker, a philanthropist whose life path has spanned business, engineering and music, addressed the community.

A director of the Herb and Maxine Jacobs Foundation—which supports the College’s “A2M” or “Associates to Masters” program, offering an accelerated pathway from a community college associate’s degree to a bachelor’s at the College of Professional Studies and a master’s degree in Biotechnology at Northeastern’s College of Science—Whittaker began by invoking Northeastern’s origins as a vocational school offering evening classes, run by the YMCA.

“We all know that Northeastern is now a world-renowned university, highly ranked in many fields,” Whittaker said. “But inside this world-class institution is still the legacy of that 1898 night school.”

Whittaker linked this history with Northeastern’s emphasis on internship experiences, co-ops, and other programs that connect students to “great employers and great jobs.” He applauded the graduates for their effort and creativity in juggling jobs, families, and studies, urged them to embrace the role of mentor for other aspiring scholars, and invited them to fight income inequality—as his foundation does in part by supporting scholarships at Northeastern.

“I am inviting each of you to join my fight against economic inequality by encouraging at least one or two others to join you in earning an advanced degree,” Whittaker said. “Just be ready when you see a family member or neighbor who would value your guidance. Your friendly support might be thing that leads someone to a more prosperous and fulfilling life.”

The Doctoral Hooding and Master’s Ceremony were livestreamed from Matthews Arena. Click the links below to view recordings of the ceremonies.

Watch the Ceremonies

The Doctoral Hooding and Master’s Ceremony were livestreamed from Matthews Arena. Click the links below to view the graduation pages and watch recordings of the ceremonies.

Doctoral Hooding

Master’s Ceremony

Learn more about our programs

The Pandemic Made the CPS Class of 2021 Double Down and Remain Focused

The pandemic was remembered at the College of Professional Studies’ master’s degree graduation ceremony on Friday as a unifying force that bred a kind of resilience and flexibility that allowed students to bend, but not break, under the pressure of a global health crisis.

“I Know He Would be So Proud” – Scholarship Donors Connect with Students

Written by Stephanie Krzyzewski

“Always, always be grateful to those who helped you.” These are the closing words of Marisa Lemus-Reynoso (Biotechnology, Class of 2023) as she addressed a crowded Raytheon Amphitheater at the annual College of Professional Studies undergraduate scholarship reception on the evening of August 19, 2021 on Northeastern’s Boston campus.

Marisa Lemus-Reynoso

Marissa has good reason to be thankful, as do the dozens of other students in the room. A few weeks ago, they received the news that they would be receiving additional financial aid for the 2021-2022 academic year thanks to philanthropic contributions made by alumni and friends of Northeastern.

The College of Professional Studies has more than 50 scholarship funds established and supported through philanthropy throughout the past 40 years. For the upcoming academic year, this translates to approximately $400,000 in scholarship funding being awarded to more than 200 undergraduate students. Each summer the College hosts an event on campus to celebrate scholarship recipients and recognize their generous benefactors.

Marissa Lemus-Reynoso is receiving two scholarship this year – the Charles E. and Gail A. Evirs, Jr. Scholarship and the David R. Johnson Memorial Scholarship – and her benefactors were in the room on August 19 to hear her personal story and support her academic journey.

Nancy Johnson, who spoke just before Marissa, established the David R. Johnson Memorial Scholarship in memory of her late husband in 2019 along with her sister and brother-in-law, Joan and Pete Johnson. Dave, who earned his business degree from Northeastern in 1976, passed away in June 2018, and establishing the scholarship was a way for his family to find solace in his loss.

Nancy Johnson

It was a special moment when Nancy introduced Marissa and invited her to take the stage, giving her an elbow-bump by way of welcome. Nancy had just finished sharing the story of Dave’s academic and professional journey, and you could hear her voice crack with emotion as she said, “Receiving this scholarship means Marissa’s life will forever be connected to Dave’s legacy, and I know he would be so proud of her if he’d had the chance to meet her.”

That sentiment is a tidy way to describe the purpose of this annual event – celebrating the impact of scholarships and the ability they have to transform lives and to foster lifelong connections among the Northeastern community.

College of Professional Studies Undergraduate Scholarship Program

Learn more about undergraduate scholarships at the College of Professional Studies and view photos and video from the 2021 annual reception event.

Read more

If you have any questions about the undergraduate scholarship program at the College of Professional Studies, please contact Stephanie Krzyzewski, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Funds, at [email protected].

Celebrating our Newest Graduates– Virtually

The college celebrated the achievements of undergraduate and master’s graduates in a virtual recognition ceremony on May 15.  Watch highlights from the ceremony below, and click here to watch the full ceremony, which includes candidates’ personalized messages and photos as well as messages from faculty members. Congratulations to our newest graduates! 

Mary Loeffelholz, Dean of the College of Professional Studies, welcomes students, families and friends to the virtual recognition ceremony. 


David Fields, Senior Associate Dean, Academic and Faculty Affairs and Professional Programs, introduces this year’s student speakers. 


Anh (Ann) Doan and Tien (Tiffany) Nguyen, this year’s student speakers, discuss their career goals and how the college has helped them on their journey to create a start-up that supports women’s development.  


Dave Hagen, Associate Teaching Professor, announces this year’s Excellence in Teaching award winners:  Dr. Margaret Gorman and Dr. Wendy Crocker. 


Dean Loeffelholz introduces the recognition ceremony speaker. Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Robert DeLeo, AS’72, gives his address to graduates.  


Dean Loeffelholz introduces the ceremony’s alumni speaker. Clifford Harrison, CPS’15, addresses graduates as this year’s alumni speaker. 


Congratulations to all of our newest graduates! Click here to watch the full ceremony, which includes graduates’ personalized messages and photos as well as individual messages from faculty members.

Faculty Promotions

Congratulations to 11 faculty members of the College of Professional Studies who have been promoted, effective May 1, 2020. The following faculty members have been recognized for their excellence in teaching and curriculum development. Promotion also recognizes their contributions to the college and university through their leadership, service, educational innovation, discovery and professional engagement in their fields. 

Jacques Alexis

Dr. Jacques Alexis

Dr. Jacques Alexis, Assistant Teaching Professor of Project Management in the College of Professional Studies, has been promoted to Associate Teaching Professor.

Earlene Avalon

Dr. Earlene Avalon

Dr. Earlene Avalon, Assistant Teaching Professor of Health Management in the College of Professional Studies, has been promoted to Associate Teaching Professor.

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Cynthia Baron

Cynthia Baron, Associate Academic Specialist of Digital Media in the College of Professional Studies, has been promoted to Full Academic Specialist.

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Dr. Darin Detwiler

Dr. Darin Detwiler, Assistant Teaching Professor of Regulatory Affairs for Food and Food Industries in the College of Professional Studies, has been promoted to Associate Teaching Professor.

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Dr. Constance Emerson

Dr. Constance Emerson, Assistant Teaching Professor of Project Management in the College of Professional Studies, has been promoted to Associate Teaching Professor.

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Patricia Goodman

Patricia Goodman, Assistant Teaching Professor of the Communications and Media programs of the College of Professional Studies, has been promoted to Associate Teaching Professor.

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David Hagen

David Hagen, Assistant Teaching Professor in the Security programs of the College of Professional Studies, has been promoted to Associate Teaching Professor.

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Cristine McMartin-Miller

Cristine McMartin-Miller, Associate Teaching Professor of NU Global in the College of Professional Studies, has been promoted to full Teaching Professor.

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Dr. Pamela Wojnar

Dr. Pamela Wojnar, Assistant Teaching Professor of Sports Leadership in the College of Professional Studies, has been promoted to Associate Teaching Professor.

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Dr. Xiamou Zhou

Dr. Xiamou Zhou, Assistant Teaching Professor of Informatics in the College of Professional Studies, has been promoted to Associate Teaching Professor.

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Dr. Elizabeth Zulick

Dr. Elizabeth Zulick, Assistant Teaching Professor of the Biological Sciences Biotechnology programs of the College of Professional Studies, has been promoted to Associate Teaching Professor.

Experiential Excellence Celebrated—Students and Employers Both See Benefit

With experience-driven learning a cornerstone of a Northeastern education, the College of Professional Studies presented its annual Experiential Excellence award to 10 students in June. Students, and the employers and sponsors who supervised their work and nominated them for recognition, gathered with faculty and other academic leaders to celebrate the power of applied learning at the undergraduate and graduate levels. All student winners engaged in meaningful professional experience in the form of co-op positions (working full-time for an employer), a sponsored project in their course or capstone, or an experiential project at their current place of work. Students’ experiences were directly aligned with their academic work, complementing the body of knowledge in their chosen field with an industry-embedded perspective.

Notably, the Excellence award winners demonstrated outstanding commitment to the university partners they partnered with on experiential opportunity. These opportunities are broad and representative of the global reach Northeastern and its student benefit from. This year, the students’ work included planning and implementing a talent acquisition strategy for an education organization, strengthening digital engagement for an arts and advocacy organization, and creating and managing a quality assurance program in the regulatory affairs unit of a contract development and manufacturing organization, among other outstanding experiences. The common thread though all of the students’ work is their enthusiasm for their chosen industries and their demonstrated ability to connect their academic learning to practice in the workplace, ultimately producing incredibly valuable work for their sponsors and employers.

One award winner, Michel Jennings, is a spring 2019 graduate of the Master of Education in eLearning and Instructional design program. She traveled from Denver, where she attended the program as an online student, to participate in the awards ceremony and celebrate her new job in instructional design over lunch with Melissa Fristrom, leadership development consultant and CEO of Core Allies, Inc., Jennings’ project sponsor. In her project for Core Allies, Inc., Jennings turned a Career Transition Lesson Plan into a 10-class interactive course, essentially creating a new product and revenue stream for Core Allies. Fristrom praised Jennings’ strategic approach to the project: “She asked the right questions to help me be creative and innovative. She demonstrated a desire to understand what I was looking for as a business person.” Jennings notes that another ingredient to the success of the project was her own interest: “It helped that I was super-passionate about this topic.” Jennings said that the two reasons she chose the Northeastern Master of Education in eLearning and Instructional Design program were the opportunity to create an ePortfolio of her work, which she saw as critical to landing a good job upon graduating, and the opportunity to undertake an experiential project.

Indeed, Northeastern faculty and staff in attendance were moved by each award winner’s sentiment on the importance of experiential work alongside their academic curriculum; all students remarked on the lasting impact their experience has had on their professional skillset and career trajectory.

Following are the 2019 Experiential Excellence Award winners:

Mariella Hidalgo Del Alamo—Master of Science in Leadership

Abhishek Jaiswal—Master of Professional Studies in Analytics

Sanchi Jain—Master of Science in Regulatory Affairs of Drugs, Biologics and Devices

Suwarna Kale, Weipeng Zhang, Yiyi Zhang, Jaspreet Kaur Sawhney—Master of Professional Studies in  Informatics

Amanda Nolan—Bachelor of Science in Health Management

Molly Chase—Master of Science in Corporate and Organizational Communication

For more information on experiential learning opportunities, please visit:

‘All Progress Scrapes and Claws Before It Glides and Soars’

by Greg St. Martin —

Forty years ago, Billy Starr founded the Pan-Mass Challenge, a charity bike ride across Massachusetts that raises money for cancer research. He said that a 400-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail and a 120-mile bike ride a couple of years earlier had helped him to discover what he wanted to do with his life: build a business that “serves a vast public need.”

On Friday, Starr urged graduates of the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern to find a way to nurture their own most fervent interests in life.

“Find a way somehow, utilizing all the skills and knowledge that you have acquired, to nurture that passion and maintain it as a central driving force in your life,” said Starr, who served as the graduation speaker at a ceremony for students who earned their bachelor’s and master’s degrees this year. “That pursuit does not come with guarantees. But I stand before you as a testament to its uniquely, exhilarating power on the path to success and happiness.”

Starr, who earned his master’s in education from Northeastern in 1978, traced back his job today as the executive director of the Pan-Mass Challenge to the early 1970s, when his mother, uncle, and cousin died of cancer. He also shared how the death of a rider in the fifth year of the event challenged him, recalling how he struggled to cope with the tragedy and pain that it caused the rider’s family.

But Starr said he never doubted the mission of his organization. Over the past 40 years, nearly 200,000 cyclists and volunteers have participated in Pan-Mass Challenge, and $654 million has been donated to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

“Triumph and tragedy often walk hand in hand,” Starr said. “To cope efficiently, it is essential that you have a clear grasp of who you are and why you set out on a particular path.”

Starr congratulated the graduates for earning their degrees. He told them to remember that most success is born of failure, and that “all progress scrapes and claws before it glides and soars.”

“That is why having a genuine passion for your work is so vital,” he said. “It is what keeps you going in the face of the inevitable obstacles on the road ahead.”

In opening remarks, Mary Loeffelholz, dean of the College of Professional Studies, told graduates that they represent “Northeastern’s global network of learners.” She said many students had earned their degrees online and through the university’s network of campuses in Charlotte, North Carolina; Seattle; the San Francisco Bay Area; Toronto; Vancouver; and London.

“You graduate already having begun to build a national and global network of your own making,” Loeffelholz said. “You have experienced learning without boundaries.”

Loeffelholz highlighted the diversity and accomplishments of the graduating class. She asked graduates to stand and be recognized if they had studied at Northeastern’s campuses outside of Boston, had come to Northeastern from another country, have served in the military, or attended the Lowell Institute School, through which students with previous college experience finish their bachelor’s degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or business.

The College of Professional Studies offers 95 undergraduate, master’s, graduate certificate, and doctoral programs, many of which are available online or through a combination of online and in-classroom learning. More than 1,600 students from 42 states and 44 countries received bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees from the College of Professional Studies this year, including over 200 students who were recognized for receiving their doctorates at a ceremony on Thursday.

Philomena Mantella, senior strategic advisor to the president at Northeastern, told the graduates that their education has positioned them well for a “lifetime of growth, discovery, and learning.”

“Learning will never cease, nor will your relationship with your university and those who comprise it,” Mantella said. “As you continue to grow, we are here to remind you that the Northeastern network will always be accessible to you.”

In addition to the graduates, Friday’s ceremony honored professor of the practice Baktybek Beshimov and assistant teaching professor David Hagen for receiving the college’s 2019 Excellence in Teaching Award.

To see more pictures from the college’s 2019 graduation, visit the photo gallery

Husky Proud

From supportive faculty, to the convenience of online classes. Find out why CPS Students are Husky Proud! 

Brian LaPointe – Leadership

“Being a returning student after a 10+ year gap In my academic career, it was frightening to take my first class back. I have now been back for several semesters and I am happy that all of my professors were caring and assisted in my learning curve. Getting used to the online format and working at the same time wasn’t as difficult as I had thought and having professors that care made a huge difference.”

Magdalena Kawalkowski – Project Management


“I had never taken an online program until I started my journey at Northeastern University. The professors I had so far are experts in the field and extremely accommodating especially since the classes are online. So far the coursework helps my career based on the readings, professors’ knowledge, and discussion from other students. I am happy I chose Northeastern and proud to be a Husky!”

Urja Patel – Project Management


“Being a part of Northeastern University has changed my life for good. I am so proud to be a husky. Northeastern has amazing professors and i would personally want to thank my academic advisor. He has been a very important part of my journey at northeastern. The help and guidance from him has turned my academic journey for good. I would also want to mention the XN projects under CPS. I believe it is an excellent program to expose the students to real work life. Thus, having so much exposure at northeastern has boosted my confidence and made me a better person. Thank you for everything. I am so proud to be a husky.” 

Jacquelyn Collins – Finance and Accounting Management

“Choosing Northeastern CPS to complete my Bachelor’s degree was the best decision I have made in my life so far. The flexibility of the online option has allowed me to embrace being able to work and go to school. My professors are so passionate about what they teach, which can be hard to find sometimes in online classes. I love how involved everyone is. This program has helped me in my line of work. I’ve found a lot of what I learn can be applied directly to my actual job. I’m so proud to be a part of this school, it really has changed my life. Everyone is supportive and encouraging. I can’ wait to finish my degree and maybe even go to grad school here!”

Kara Fulginiti – Global Studies and International Relations, Global Student Mobility Concentration


“I am proud to be a Husky and to have the chance to pursue my educational goals online without sacrificing quality! The online Global Studies and International Relations masters program has really helped to push my career in U.S. Immigration forward. I recently obtained a position as an Immigration Specialist at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. The NIH is the nation’s largest biomedical research institution, inviting scientists and medical doctors from around the world to the United States in order to further critical research in cancer studies and other diseases. I credit a large portion of my obtaining this new position to the skills and education I have gained through Northeastern University, which really help with my intercultural communication in my day to day work. The online format also allows me to take courses at a pace that I can manage while working full-time. I am very excited to graduate with my master’s degree in 2019 as a Northeastern Husky!”

Lisa Bolduc – Corporate & Organizational Communication – Concentration in Human Resource Management


“I am proud to be a Husky! Having graduated with my undergraduate degree over ten years ago, Northeastern made the process of returning to school easy. My program is flexible with both online and on the ground classes. My favorite part of Northeastern is how welcoming and helpful the students, professors and faculty are. Everyone is eager for you to get the most out of your education. Lastly, the campus and online resources are incredibly well organized. Northeastern runs like an efficient ship, that will encourage you to never stop sailing.”

2017 CPS Graduation

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 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 EducationDoctor 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.