Academic Honors Convocation celebrates excellence, innovation

Video by Mary Knox Merrill, Mike Mazzanti and Kristie Gillooly.

Anthony R. Manganaro, E’67, H’08, pledged to place his Presidential Medallion, which he was awarded on Wednesday afternoon at Northeastern’s second annual Academic Honors Convocation, in the place he treasures most: his old cigar box.

“Whether you are 17 or 80, rich or poor, infamous or famous, what matters most is a memory that will fit inside a cigar box,” Manganaro told students, faculty and staff who filled the Curry Student Center Ballroom for one of the most important events on the university’s academic calendar.

Noting that “cigar box memories” trump fancy cars, houses or yachts, he added, “You can be sure that when I get home, I will place this Presidential Medallion safely in my cigar box.”

The Presidential Medallion, which Northeastern president Joseph E. Aoun described as “the university’s most prestigious honor,” has been presented twice before, to George J. Kostas, E’43, H’07, and Neal F. Finnegan, BA’61, H’98.

Manganaro is well-deserving of the award: The distinguished alumnus, leader and benefactor was instrumental in the founding of the Torch Scholars program, which identifies highly motivated first-generation students who have overcome significant obstacles and gives them a chance to succeed.

As part of Wednesday’s ceremony, Richard Daynard, a professor of law, and Vladimir Torchilin, a distinguished professor of pharmaceutical science, were both named University Distinguished Professors.

Stephen Director, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, described their achievement as the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a Northeastern faculty member. Those named University Distinguished Professor have earned international recognition and distinction for educational, artistic and scholarly contributions that have transformed their field.

“We commend the many individuals who have helped shape our success across this campus, throughout the nation and around the globe,” Aoun said. “Members of the university endeavor to bring this institution to even greater heights.”

For his part, Torchilin thanked Northeastern for his award. “On behalf of all awardees, I sincerely thank the university community and leadership for these awards presented today,” he said. “I doubt there is any finer feeling than being honored by your peers, your colleagues and your university.”

The university also bestowed the Hodgkinson Award, which honors graduating seniors who excelled in the classroom and on co-op; the Presidential Global Fellows award, which honors academic standing, leadership and the understanding of the importance of experiential learning; and the Innovation and Outstanding Service awards, which recognize staff members who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.

“We are not stopping,” Aoun told the award recipients at the end of the ceremony. “You are driving us, you are fueling our momentum.”

Visit the Academic Honors Convocation website for a full list of this year’s honorees.