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September 2, 2013 - Scenes from the President's Convocation in Matthews Arena for members of Northeastern's 116th class.

North­eastern Uni­ver­sity on Tuesday morning for­mally wel­comed new students—some 2,800 incoming freshmen, as well as transfer students—to campus at the annual President’s Con­vo­ca­tion, held in Matthews Arena. Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun and other campus leaders greeted Northeastern’s newest stu­dents and urged them to get involved on campus, explore co-​​op and research oppor­tu­ni­ties, and chart their own paths.

Here are some highlights:

James C. Bean, provost and senior vice pres­i­dent for aca­d­emic affairs. Photo by Matthew Modoono/​Northeastern University

Warm welcomes all around

Before he addressed Northeastern’s newest stu­dents, James C. Bean, the university’s new provost and senior vice pres­i­dent for aca­d­emic affairs, was him­self greeted to a “warm Boston wel­come” by the new students.

“You are begin­ning your col­lege careers in a vibrant, com­pre­hen­sive, research uni­ver­sity, where you will join our fac­ulty and your fellow stu­dents in the adven­ture of learning, extending the bound­aries of knowl­edge, and addressing the chal­lenges of the world out­side our walls,” said Bean, who joined North­eastern this summer. “Today you become the newest mem­bers of a uni­ver­sity com­mu­nity with proud and deep tra­di­tions of ser­vice and accomplishment.”

Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun walks with stu­dents to the Taste of Boston event on Cen­ten­nial Common fol­lowing the President’s Con­vo­ca­tion. Photo by: Matthew Modoono/​Northeastern University

Be an explorer

In his Con­vo­ca­tion address, Aoun urged stu­dents to set sail on their North­eastern expe­ri­ence as “explorers” looking to learn about them­selves, their pas­sions, and the world. The university’s expe­ri­en­tial edu­ca­tion model—which places stu­dents in 128 coun­tries and is dif­fer­en­ti­ated by its sig­na­ture co-​​op program—will present many oppor­tu­ni­ties to help them achieve these goals.

“Through co-​​op, you’re going to know what you’re good at, what you don’t like, and what you like,” he said. “And on a daily basis, you are going to meet stu­dents who will share with you their expe­ri­ences. Co-​​op is a way of get­ting you out of your com­fort zone.”

Stu­dents laugh during a light moment at the President’s Con­vo­ca­tion. Matthew Modoono/​Northeastern University

Col­lege pride

One by one, the deans of Northeastern’s col­leges were called to the stage, where they wel­comed stu­dents in their col­leges and asked them to stand—each time drawing a loud roar from the crowd. The deans chal­lenged stu­dents to embrace oppor­tu­ni­ties to pursue cutting-​​edge research, inter­na­tional co-​​op, and new pas­sions and challenges.

Get involved

This was a common theme at the President’s Con­vo­ca­tion. Stu­dent Body Pres­i­dent Eric Tyler, CIS/DMSB’16, a com­bined major in com­puter sci­ence and busi­ness admin­is­tra­tion, urged stu­dents to con­sider joining at least one of the more than 350 stu­dent orga­ni­za­tions on campus.

“Although you might not know where your involve­ment might take you, don’t be afraid to put your­self out there and try new things,” Tyler said.

Stu­dent speakers Julieta Moradei, E’16, left, and Maria Sofia Soto, AMD’16. Photo by Matthew Modoono/​Northeastern University

When col­lege hands you a lemon…

Two stu­dent speakers, Maria Sofia Soto, AMD’16, and Julieta Moradei, E’16, imparted words of wisdom to their new peers as well. Soto offered three lessons: pro­fes­sors make the best allies; don’t be intim­i­dated by research; and uti­lize all your resources.

Moradei, for her part, noted how get­ting involved in stu­dent clubs and research as a freshman strength­ened her posi­tion to land co-ops—the first with the struc­tural engi­neering firm Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, the second and third with Disney World. “If you put forth effort and energy, and hold true pas­sion for what you’re doing, people will respond to that by teaching you and helping you grow,” she said.

To con­clude her remarks, Soto explained how “col­lege is like a lemon” and stu­dents have four or five years to squeeze out of their col­lege expe­ri­ence as much as pos­sible. “Today you are being handed a lemon,” she said. “How much juice will you have pro­duced by the time you graduate?”

Stu­dents from all five classes light the torch on stage at Matthews Arena. Photo by Matthew Modoono/​Northeastern University

Moving moments

The President’s Con­vo­ca­tion began with the a cap­pella group Dis­tilled Har­mony singing “Alma Mater,” and ended with a musical selec­tion from The Nor’easters a cap­pella group.

Also, Philomena Man­tella, senior vice pres­i­dent and CEO of Northeastern’s Global Net­work, explained the impor­tance of Northeastern’s seal, which fea­tures the university’s motto, “Lux, ver­itas, virtus”— “light, truth, courage”—and a torch. She then intro­duced a stu­dent rep­re­sen­ta­tive from all five classes to light a torch on stage, sym­bol­izing “the lead­er­ship, zeal, and spirit of the uni­ver­sity com­mu­nity.” All of the stu­dents then lit their own battery-​​operated candles.

Stu­dents hold their battery-​​operated can­dles during the cer­e­mo­nial torch lighting. Photo by Adam Glanzman/​Northeastern University

Let’s eat

After the President’s Con­vo­ca­tion, stu­dents flocked to Cen­ten­nial Common for A Taste of Boston, where they enjoyed food from many of the city’s neigh­bor­hoods, including Chi­na­town and the North End. Music and appear­ances by Paws and King Husky also high­lighted the event.

Stu­dents relax on Cen­ten­nial Common during A Taste of Boston fol­lowing the President’s Con­vo­ca­tion. Photo by Adam Glanzman/​Northeastern University

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