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Inaugural Academic Honors Convocation rewards excellence

Northeastern University’s inaugural Academic Honors Convocation yesterday recognized its community’s highest achievements in academic excellence, use-inspired research and engagement on campus and across the globe.

President Joseph E. Aoun hailed faculty for their path-breaking research that is solving the greatest global challenges, and for inspiring their students and nurturing the next generation of leaders. He said Northeastern’s staff is infusing the campus with entrepreneurial spirit, while students are amazing with their accomplishments.

“Together, you represent a powerful force — transformative research, exceptional teaching and mentoring, passionate scholarship and selfless service. In a word you represent ‘momentum’ — the momentum that has come to define our community both within in our campus and throughout the world,” Aoun said.

Click here for a full list of Academic Honors Convocation awards.

Sarah Tishler, a senior and triple major in international affairs, psychology and French, was honored with two top awards. She was designated a Presidential Global Fellow for her work on co-op at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, and she was one of five seniors recognized with a Hodgkinson Award, one of the University’s highest honors awarded on the basis of academic and experiential performance.

Also earning Hodgkinson Awards were: Kenneth McGrady, a combined computer science and mathematics major who developed the “Discover Northeastern” smart phone application, and was the first Northeastern student to co-op at Pixar Animation Studies; and Nicholas Daggett, a mechanical engineering major who has been selected to the highly-competitive Edison Engineering Development Program at General Electric, and who worked on a capstone design team that developed an innovative solar food dryer.

In addition, Matthew Cournoyer, a junior and political science major, was recognized for being selected a 2011 Truman Scholar, as was José Orozco, a third-year student and dual major in mathematics and biochemistry, for earning a 2011 Goldwater Scholarship.

Sheila Puffer, professor and Cherry Family Senior Fellow of International Business, also addressed the audience gathered in the Curry Student Center ballroom, praising the university for the academic freedom and opportunities it allows to explore interdisciplinary research.

“Northeastern is the perfect blend of academics and real-world practice, something that all of us can truly appreciate. Let’s all stay engaged in the excellence and excitement, as together we help move Northeastern to even greater heights in advancing knowledge and finding solutions to make the world a better place,” Puffer said.

Hortensia Amaro, associate dean of the Bouvé College of Health Sciences and director of the Institute on Urban Health Research, was acknowledged for her election to the Institute of Medicine; and engineering professor Vincent Harris was honored for his selection for this year’s Klein Lectureship. Harris and biology professor Kim Lewis were also appointed Distinguished Professors.

Aoun also presented George Kostas, E’43, H’07, with the Presidential Medallion, Northeastern’s top honor that symbolizes excellence, commitment and contribution to the University. Aoun noted that Kostas was not only a key figure in Northeastern developing innovative nanotechnology research, but also provided a gift last year allowing Northeastern to build a secure, state-of-the-art homeland security research facility on its Burlington campus.

“Your legacy will be felt at Northeastern forever,” Aoun told Kostas.