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Breaking the mold: Two seniors to deliver Commencement address

04/19/16 - BOSTON, MA. - Annika Morgan DMSBÕ16 and Benjamin Bungert DMSBÕ16 pose for a portrait on April 19, 2016. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

Annika Morgan and Ben Bungert have a lot in common. They’re both graduating seniors in the D’Amore-McKim School of Business. They’re both leaders of student-led entrepreneurship organizations. They have many of the same friends and share the same workspace—the IDEA Lab—in Hayden Hall.

Now, to conclude their undergraduate experience at Northeastern, they will be sharing the stage at Commencement, together delivering the student address to their peers and thousands of guests in attendance at TD Garden on May 6.

“Like most things we do, we’re better together,” Morgan said. “There’s no way we wouldn’t have done this without the other.”

Morgan and Bungert, both DMSB’16, met in the Entrepreneurs Club during their second year, when the role of co-director of the Entrepreneurship Immersion Program was transitioning from her to him. Ever since then they’ve worked together, and with many others in the Northeastern community, to help cultivate the university’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. And their close friendship has grown along the way.

In this, their senior year, the duo has been even more so inseparable—both a function of their roles within that ecosystem and as friends. Morgan is the Altschuler-Meyer CEO of IDEA, Northeastern’s student-run venture accelerator. Bungert is the president of the Entrepreneurs Club. Their collaborations have spanned everything from their involvement with the new Mosaic initiative to establishing connections with student entrepreneurship leaders at other local universities.

This semester, for the first time, they’re also in the same course: “Strategy in Action,” their senior capstone.

When asked whether there’s ever a day in which they don’t interact, Morgan and Bungert shared this cheery exchange:

Morgan: “Every day he shows up to the IDEA Lab at 6 a.m., and I roll in around 8:30.”
Bungert: “That’s when I get a few hours to myself, and then throughout the rest of the day we’re texting, calling, meeting, at an event. Every day. I don’t think there’s a day we don’t talk.”
Morgan: “That would make me uncomfortable.”
Bungert: “Same.”

This year marks the first time ever that two undergraduates will share the honor of delivering the student Commencement address. Yet Morgan and Bungert said their break from the norm is fitting, given Northeastern’s DNA. They will be speaking to a graduating class with examples aplenty of thinking outside the box and stepping out of comfort zones, whether it’s through the university’s signature co-op program or starting a new company or exploring an unfamiliar discipline or country.

This will be a primary theme of their Commencement address. “Northeastern expects and pushes students to do things that aren’t traditional,” Bungert said.

Added Morgan: “We do things differently at Northeastern.”

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