‘It’s great to see your children get to this point.’ Proud Northeastern parents from around the world celebrate graduates at Fenway

Parents and graduates celebrated at 2022 Commencement at Fenway Park. Photo by Billie Weiss for Northeastern University

This is part of our coverage of Northeastern’s 2022 Commencement exercises. For more information, including a livestream, photos, and live coverage throughout the day, visit our dedicated Commencement page.

Northeastern parents from around the world gathered at Fenway Park on Friday to celebrate their childrens’ accomplishments at Commencement 2022. Cameras in hand, they beamed with pride as they watched their graduates march across the stage.

Janie Hubacz, who drove to Boston from California, was thrilled to see her son Nicolas get his master’s degree at the ballpark.

“Historical Fenway? You’d be nuts if you weren’t,” she said.

Nicolas’ master’s is the first in the family, she said, and she was delighted that he got it at Northeastern.

“Yesterday, he told me, ‘There’s brilliant minds here, mom, and it keeps me on my toes. It keeps me wanting to be a better person.’ That was amazing.”

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern Northeastern

No matter where they traveled from, parents at this year’s Commencement had at least one thing in common: They were proud to see their children grow, as people and as professionals, during their time at Northeastern.

Some traveled from far and wide to get there. Bachelor’s recipient Sophie Stokman’s grandmother came to Commencement from Indonesia, her parents flew in from New Jersey, and a cousin came from London. Meanwhile, Mohamad Muhieddine left New York City at 3 a.m. to get to Northeastern’s Boston campus at 9 a.m. Thursday morning, in time to meet his daughter Maya for photos near Dodge Hall before her doctoral hooding ceremony.

It was all worth it. “It’s rewarding,” Muhieddine said. “It’s great to see your children get to this point.”

Many parents said one of the biggest things Northeastern has done for their children is give them the experience they’ll need to succeed in the working world. They described how pivotal Northeastern’s co-op program, as well as study abroad and other immersive programs, had been for helping the new graduates prepare for the workforce.

“They train you to get a job, not to get a degree,” said Rob Reilly, whose daughter Lauren earned a master’s in accounting.

Photo by Billie Weiss for Northeastern University

Lauren is the first in her family to get a master’s degree, but she’s not the first Husky. Rob, a native of Melrose, Massachusetts, graduated Northeastern in 2004; Lauren wore his tassel on her cap along with her own. “I’m definitely following in his footsteps,” she said. As a student, she gave campus tours as a Husky ambassador.

As with Reilly, the co-op program was a pivotal part of bachelor’s recipient Sabrina Pangione’s education. It even affected her decision to attend Northeastern in the first place. “I think it really challenged her and motivated her to get the job she has today,” said her mother Gina Fava.

More than anything, though, Northeastern parents were proud to see how their children had developed as individuals during their time at the university. Northeastern is uniquely suited for this, says Michelle Labelle, because of the welcoming and diverse community. The rich experience is what allowed her daughter Eliza Labelle to “become her real self” both during her time in Boston and on study abroad in Denmark. Fava agreed, saying daughter Pangione has “definitely grown as a person.”

“She grew in confidence, smarts, beauty, inside and out,” she said.

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

David Cree encouraged his son Chandler to go to college far from home for exactly this reason, he says. While waiting in line to take a photo of Chandler in front of the 2022 sign at Dodge Hall, the native of Raleigh, North Carolina, talked about how his own college experience encouraged him to push Chandler to take this step.

“You really learn to land on your own feet and develop as a young person by being away from your parents in college,” David said.

Not everyone’s path has been easy, but many found that Northeastern helped them become even stronger. Janki Patel spoke for her parents, who emigrated from India in the ’90s and had to adjust to American life. They weren’t always able to help her with her academics, Patel said, but they were always there to give her support. Now, Patel has finished her Northeastern journey with a doctorate degree in pharmacy.

Jessica Tabor has also overcome a lot to earn her bachelor’s degree with a concentration in marketing.

“Life has given [Jessica] challenges along the way,” said Cathy Tabor, who flew in from California to support her daughter. “She seemed to just keep fighting through, and then Northeastern has just made her blossom more. She’s not afraid to stick up for herself and others.”

Now, Jessica will pursue a career in marketing at the Boston-based company Digitas.

The future looks bright for these graduates. And for now, their parents are satisfied to bask in their pride. Worcester, Massachusetts, resident Richard Oduro-Adjei laughed at himself when he talked about his daughter Janelle, who earned her doctorate in physical therapy.

“At my workplace, I was making noise, telling people, ‘Hey, my daughter is going to be a doctor tomorrow!’ ” he said.

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