Years of Hard Work Culminate With Receiving Northeastern Diploma

September 21, 2013

Thousands of friends and family packed Matthews Arena on the morning of Saturday, September 21, to watch friends, colleagues, and family members receive their diplomas at the Fall 2013 Northeastern University College of Professional Studies (CPS) Graduation ceremony.

“I am excited for all graduates today who are embarking on a new journey, whether this is their first degree, or if they are receiving a graduate degree to further their career,” said John LaBrie, dean of the College of Professional Studies. “Here at Northeastern, we believe that there’s a powerful relationship between learning and work, and all of our graduates here today have experienced this in their studies through the curriculum, course content and the experience of their faculty and classmates, preparing them to be successful leaders.”

Five hundred degrees were conferred: 178 bachelor’s, 288 master’s and 34 doctoral degrees.  In attendance were the first graduates of Northeastern University’s Charlotte campus: Cory Los Schumacher and Joanna Schimizzi, who both earned their Master’s in Education degrees, completing the program in less than 18 months.  Schimizzi is a MacFarland Scholar, a scholarship program of the Anna and Helen MacFarland Memorial Scholarship Fund that provides tuition support to students who are committed to careers in public school education in large urban areas.

“My charge to you is that the investment you have made in yourselves and the investment your university has made in you, requires that you live a life out loud,” said Bratton during his address. “Put your name in the history books, not the guest book.  In a world that is constantly changing, it needs positive change from you.” Bill Bratton , international security expert, NBC news analyst and former Boston Police Commissioner, addressed graduates at the ceremony.

Bratton started his career in Boston as a police officer in 1970, patrolling the streets at night while taking college courses during the day.  He rose to become one of America’s premiere police chiefs, leading the New York Police Department (NYPD) and Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).     Along with these posts, Bratton’s had a successful career in the security industry; today he is president and CEO of The Bratton Group LLC and senior advisor of Kroll Advisory Solutions of Altegrity, Inc.    

Students Receive Degree of the Highest Honor: Their Doctorate

The previous day, Friday, September 20, 49 students received their hoods at the annual doctoral hooding ceremony; 13 Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy, three Doctor of Law and Policy, and 33 Doctor of Education students.

At each 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.

This year’s recipient is Joan Wilkinson Burkhardt, a Doctor of Education graduate whose doctoral thesis is entitled: A Qualitative Study of Undergraduate International Students’ Everyday Experiences with Cross-Cultural Interactions and the Student Adjustment Process.  In nominating Dr. Burkhardt, her doctoral thesis advisor, Dr. Elisabeth E. Bennett, described Burkhardt’s innovative research this way: “…her study addressed a conceptual gap in the literature that, when filled, would give voice to the experiences of international students from diverse regions in the world.”  Bennett noted that the potential for application of Dr. Burkhardt’s research is promising; Dr. Burkhardt has been invited to present her work to a number of institutions seeking the insights on cross-cultural issues.

Dr. Burkhardt is a part-time faculty member at Clark University’s College of Professional and Continuing Education, in Worcester, MA, and Lead Mentor and Program Evaluator for 5oaks Mentoring at Wheelock College in Boston. In January, she will join the faculty of Becker College in Worcester, MA.

For more about graduation, visit our fall 2013 graduation web page


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.