Under normal circumstances, 100 of Northeastern’s best and brightest would have gathered atop East Village to celebrate their greatest triumphs. But as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to prevent in-person events, 100 emails were instead sent to students across the United States, and all over the world.
The recipients were notified of their induction into the 2020 class of the Huntington 100, a prestigious program at Northeastern that recognizes students who have recorded achievements in research, co-op, athletics, entrepreneurship, community service, and leadership.
Each year, hundreds of students are nominated by faculty, staff, advisors, coaches, employers, and fellow students. They are selected by a panel of judges that is comprised of representatives from each college, the Division of Student Affairs, and the Office of Alumni Relations. This year’s class was chosen from a field of 750 students.
Claire Pettit was on a Zoom call with her classmates in her Boston apartment when a notification of the email popped up on her computer screen. She stopped mid-sentence and “let out a little scream.”
“I said ‘Oh my goodness, you are not going to believe this,’” says Pettit, a 2020 graduate in communications and international affairs. “I was excited to get that email in the midst of everything that’s going on. Having that good news come through made my day, made my week.”
On the other side of the country, Zoe Karavolis was studying in her Salt Lake City apartment when she received the news. She says the induction validated the efforts she made over her six years in the university’s pharmacy program, and throughout her time working at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she focused on treating substance use disorders.
“I’ve been so invested throughout my time here that it was almost bittersweet to see the culmination of that stuff be recognized,” Karavolis says. “But it’s a good feeling to know someone was out there recognizing all the different pieces that I was involved in, on campus and throughout Boston.”
Emily Hardman, the assistant dean of student affairs, describes the program as one that unveils hundreds of hidden stories from within the university.
“So many nominators take the time to provide great detail when describing the students they put forward, and the judging panel is routinely wowed by the things they learn,” Hardman says. “The honorees should feel immensely proud of their many accomplishments, and we look forward to bringing them together to celebrate when it is safe to do so.”
And although the inductees couldn’t formally gather in April, Pettit says, her connection to her fellow peers, faculty, and staff has never been stronger.
“When I saw the list of students who got inducted along with me, I looked at the names and realized I knew so many of the people through different connections,” Pettit says. “That was a special moment because that shows how connected I’ve become to Northeastern. That’s something I cherish, even without a ceremony.”