Northeastern celebrated the College of Professional Studies’ 2018 graduating class on Friday at a ceremony at Matthews Arena, where speakers urged graduates to lead lives anchored in positive values, engage in lifelong learning, and use the experience gained at the university to transform their fields and adapt to change.
Former Northeastern Athletic Director Peter Roby delivered the graduation address. He advised graduates to establish a positive value system early in their careers and combine it with their Northeastern education to “live a life of fulfillment and accomplishment that will allow you to create a legacy that you, your family, and Northeastern will be proud of.”
“Your strategies may change, your goals may change, but your values must not change,” Roby said. “When things get hard, when the heat gets turned up, when you feel vulnerable and under pressure, that is when you must rely on your values to help you make the right decisions. We must have values of conviction, not values of convenience.”
Roby began his address by asking graduates to raise their hands if they were first-generation college students, working full time while earning their degrees, married, parents, role models for family and friends, or seeking a Northeastern education to gain practical real-world experience. “That about covers everybody here today,” said Roby, noting that those traits also define him.
“We must have values of conviction, not values of convenience.”
Roby teaches in CPS and holds a master’s degree in leadership from the college. He is the former director of the university’s Center for Sport in Society and co-founder of Northeastern’s Master of Sports Leadership program in 2006. He retired earlier this year as athletic director after more than 10 years, during which he said he strove to adopt a values-driven leadership philosophy own value system and worked tirelessly to build a department strong in both athletics and academics.
In her welcome remarks, Mary Loeffelholz, dean of the College of Professional Studies and vice president of Northeastern’s Lifelong Learning Network, praised graduates for pursing their dreams. But, she added, learning does not end with the award of a degree.
“In today’s world, you will become a constant learner, a lifelong learner,” she said. “I know you will continue responding to change with courage and flexibility. Our society needs people like you, people who imagine possibility and embrace changing times. Your education will help you weather these changes, yes, but it has also prepared you to lead change and to transform your fields.”
Northeastern conferred degrees upon more than 2,100 students in CPS, a class that collectively hails from 70 countries worldwide as well as all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. “You are the story of how higher education is changing, becoming increasingly global, more flexible, and more intertwined with the professions and with the new fields and enterprises that are just being formed now and that will generate the jobs of the future,” Loeffelholz said.
The College of Professional Studies offers 90 undergraduate, master’s, graduate certificate, and doctoral programs, many of which are available online or in hybrid learning formats. This year’s CPS graduates join a network of more than 245,000 Northeastern alumni around the world.
Philomena Mantella, vice president and CEO of the Northeastern University Lifelong Learning Network, told graduates that neither their learning nor their relationship with Northeastern will cease as they embark on a lifetime of growth, learning, and discovery.
“Northeastern’s network will always be accessible to you throughout your journey,” she said. “As our newest alumni, you can count on Northeastern to stand with you as you make meaningful contributions and advancements wherever life takes you next.”