Faculty excellence on display at Academic Honors Convocation

Northeastern celebrated the many accomplishments of its faculty on Thursday during the 12th annual Academic Honors Convocation. Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

Northeastern celebrated the many accomplishments of its faculty on Thursday during the 12th annual Academic Honors Convocation. With more than 100 awards from the university and external academic institutions including the National Academy of Engineering, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, there is certainly a lot to celebrate.

“Congratulations to all the recipients of the awards,” said Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern. “The awards that you are receiving are in some ways a harbinger of what will come next … and the future is exciting.”

The faculty award ceremony, held on the 17th floor of East Village on the university’s Boston campus, followed a parallel celebration for undergraduate and graduate student accomplishments. And the two populations, Aoun said, work symbiotically to push Northeastern forward.

“We celebrate you not only for your impact and achievement in the field, but also your impact and achievement with the students,” he said. “I don’t know whether you know, but now when students apply to Northeastern, they look at the faculty in their programs that they want to work with. This is your impact: Research, teaching, and … impacting the community around us—wherever we are—and impacting the world.”

Faculty from across the university attended the event, which was also streamed live on Northeastern’s Facebook page.

David Madigan, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, described the award-winners—whose accolades include a range of fellowships, appointments, and awards—as representing the core of what it means to be at Northeastern.

“In research labs and in art studios, in classrooms and in the field, in locations around the world and right here in Boston, you have tested what’s possible and raised the bar—for yourselves, your students, and your peers,” he said. “You’ve inspired students and budding leaders through your teaching, made groundbreaking discoveries through your research, and helped the world see and solve problems more holistically and with greater impact.”

Northeastern Professor Daniele Mathras is a recipient of the University Excellence in Teaching Award and Northeastern Professor Alicia Sasser Modestino is awarded the University Excellence in Research and Creative Activity Award at the 2022 Academic Honors Convocation hosted in the East Village. Photos by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

Madigan recognized several faculty for their particular achievements over the course of the year.

Nada Sanders, distinguished professor of supply-chain management, won the Klein Lecturer Award, a prestigious award that honors a member of the faculty who has contributed with great distinction to their field of study. Sanders delivered the accompanying Klein Lecture in early April.  

Jerome F. Hajjar, CDM Smith Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering earlier this year, after a highly rigorous, multi-year election process. Those elected to the academy represent outstanding leadership in engineering research, practice, or education, and have contributed exceptionally to the field of engineering.

Aoun described Hajjar as someone who’s been willing to step in to help Northeastern at all levels, all while widening the scope of his research to have a greater impact.

“Professor Jerry Hajjar is richly deserving of this honor,” Madigan said, before introducing a video about Hajjar and his accomplishments.


Hajjar, who spoke after the video, thanked Aoun, Madigan, his collaborators throughout the years, and the faculty and students in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

“I’m greatly honored to be here at Northeastern, and so happy to have received this honor while I was a faculty member at Northeastern,” he said. “To me, it just feels right to have it happen here, to have it happen now, after all of us have been working so hard.”

Two faculty members also received Excellence in Teaching Awards, given annually to professors who “demonstrate deep expertise in their fields, offer rigorous course content, and who inspire students through their teaching and mentoring,” said Jacqueline Isaacs, vice provost for faculty affairs, who introduced the awards. Nominations for the awards are made by students and faculty members.

This year, Daniele Mathras, associate teaching professor of marketing, and Dessy Raytcheva, associate teaching professor of biology, earned the distinction.

Two more faculty members received Excellence in Research and Creative Activity Awards, which are given annually to full-time faculty members “to honor outstanding research and creative endeavors of national and international significance,” said David Luzzi, senior vice provost for research, who introduced the awards.

This year, Tina Eliassi-Rad, professor of computer science, and Alicia Sasser Modestino, associate professor of public policy, urban affairs and economics, received the awards.

A host of other faculty earned distinctions throughout the year, as well. A full list of all faculty awards is available online.

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