I had an incredible time welcoming the 120th entering class at Convocation yesterday. Watch my speech from this link (starting at the 10 minute mark), or read below!
Good morning everyone, and welcome, Northeastern’s 120th entering class!
Just a few moments ago, you all stood up from your seats. I want you to remember that moment for the years to come: that feeling of pride as you stood with your peers. That pride is unmatched. It is what makes our Northeastern community so characteristically unique. You stand tall knowing that you are not just among the best and the brightest, but more importantly, among the most passionate and driven.
At a university where change is the only constant, the people have always been its greatest tradition.
During my freshman year, a senior said to me, “Northeastern is a rocket ship, it only goes up.” It’s something I remember to this day.
The same, to a certain extent, can be said about the world we’re living in. We are moving at an unprecedented pace when it comes to connection and content.
But I must ask -- what are we moving so quickly towards?
Well, Northeastern’s newest class, that is for you to decide. How will you choose to move our world, and our campus, forward?
My favorite professor at Northeastern reminded me last year that you have two lives to live: one that you are given, and one that you make for yourself.
In these next few years, you will choose, you will create, this second life for yourself. You will decide what your role is in Northeastern’s story. You will decide how to shape not just our school’s history, but the world’s. Because Northeastern is a place where you can truly change the world.
Make these decisions by first choosing to stand up, just like you did moments ago. Stand up for what’s right. Stand up for your peers. And stand up against tired conventions, and restricting norms. Our world needs it.
Make these decisions by stepping in. Be part of the conversation. Develop a voracious appetite for questions, be unyielding in your conviction, and always seek to innovate. You don’t have to start your own company, or have a world-renowned co-op. All you must do to innovate, is to leave the space you occupy -- whatever that may be -- a classroom, a co-op, a student organization, a team, better than you found it. This could mean creating a new signature event, or simply improving upon an existing process. It could even mean giving feedback to a friend or joining together to help others. Your small acts of kindness, your short inches of progress, are what keeps this university moving ever forward. By being driven by the pursuit of making your home a better place, you can change the world.
Finally, after having stood up and having stepped in, reach out, and create your story. You are only as good as the people you inspire. Make your place in Northeastern’s narrative immortal, by inspiring people to carry on your work, people who will scale it to places beyond your imagination.
Pebbles in a pond cast ripples into an ocean. Value the role you play in Northeastern’s story, and believe in your capacity to create positive change. The future of this university is now in your hands. And thus, the future of our world, is now yours to create.
To our 120th entering class -- welcome to Northeastern. History is yours to write.