Northeastern celebrates launch of Miami campus with business leaders, alumni, students, parents and friends

Northeastern University President Joseph E. Aoun stands on a stage
Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun welcomes guests to the celebration of the Miami campus in the Wynwood section of Miami Florida. Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

MIAMI—Northeastern celebrated the launch of its 14th campus here Tuesday night with a promise by President Joseph E. Aoun to bring the university’s signature experiential learning model to the rapidly growing economy of South Florida.  

“We hope we will be part of the solution. That’s why we’re here,” Aoun said. 

Northeastern will offer graduate programs and professional education, and forge partnerships with business and civic organizations to help develop the talent and leadership Miami needs as its economy continues to grow, Aoun said.

“We are here tonight with humility. We are here tonight to continue to understand Miami,” he said. 

The evening drew hundreds of alumni, South Florida business leaders, co-op students, parents and Miami dignitaries to the MAPS Backlot, an outdoor venue just down the street from Northeastern’s newest campus in the Wynwood neighborhood.

“We are in the process of creating the first truly global university,” said Richard D’Amore, chairman of Northeastern’s board of trustees and one of the benefactors of the D’amore-McKim School of Business. He and alumnus Alan McKim joined forces in 2012 with a generous philanthropic investment in the college that now bears their name. 

Beginning in 2011, Northeastern has been building a system of campuses designed to meet the talent and research needs of regional economies across North America and the United Kingdom.

In addition to Boston, London and Oakland, California, Northeastern also has campuses in Toronto, Vancouver, Seattle, Charlotte, San Francisco and Silicon Valley, as well as Arlington, Virginia; Portland, Maine; and Nahant and Burlington, Massachusetts.

“We had no choice but to pick Miami” for the next venture, said D’Amore, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern in 1976.

“Miami is a city that’s exploded onto the international scene,” he said, adding, “We are going to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the world of higher ed.”

Ibis Valdes graduated from Northeastern’s College of Social Sciences and Humanities in 2015 and serves on the board of directors of the Miami-Dade Women’s Chamber of Commerce.

The Miami campus is part of Northeastern’s future, said Valdes, who grew up in Dade County, the daughter of Cuban immigrants.

“Being from Miami is great,” she said. “Choosing Miami is also powerful.”

“We are not just a party destination for tourists,” Valdes said. “We are a city of grit, of will, where people from all walks of life from everywhere around the world come to achieve the American dream with a side of sunshine.”

Northeastern’s Miami campus will focus on technology, health care and finance. Diane MacGillivray, senior vice president of university advancement, pointed out that the individuals gathering Tuesday shared “a belief in the power of education and desire to have a positive impact” on others and the world.

“We’re here to build the skilled workforce we need today and into the future,” said Maria Alonso, CEO and dean of the regional Miami campus.

The state of Florida has granted Northeastern approval to offer more than 20 graduate-level degree programs in high-growth areas such as biotechnology, computer science, data, analytics and engineering.

Julian Jung, a 2013 graduate of Northeastern’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business and a partner at Republic, a global fintech platform, said he credited mentors, peers and teachers from Northeastern for inspiring him to start a real estate business in the Boston area and for helping him raise seed money for a startup.

He called Northeastern’s partnership with Miami, “a powerhouse combination,” marrying a prestigious university with a city he calls “the epicenter of innovation, finance and talent globally.”

“Northeastern, Miami, wow. What a beautiful and incredibly powerful couple you will be,” Jung said.

During the course of the evening, experiential learning students shared information about their experiences with the business community in South Florida and an entrepreneurs’ corner celebrated the ventures launched in Florida and elsewhere by Northeastern graduates.

Christine King, a commissioner with the city of Miami, said she was impressed after meeting Northeastern students working in Miami.

“They’re enjoying our culture and learning their craft while they’re in school. I think that’s amazing,” she said. 

Bennett Thompson, a 2024 student in the D’Amore-McKim School of Business, and co-founder of the Northeastern Blockchain group, organized a scavenger hunt during which participants exchanged NFTs—non-fungible tokens are assets—for Northeastern swag.

At the conclusion of the speaking portion of the night, Aoun introduced Ann and Shelley Stewart, Northeastern graduates who in May were honored with the university’s distinguished service award for volunteer activities.

Miami’s tech sector has been driven by sharp increases in venture capital investment, new company formation and expansion of large companies.

Amazon, SoftBank, Founders Fund and Goldman Sachs are among the companies that have recently opened up or expanded in Miami, which some have suggested could be the next Silicon Valley.

A report by the Miami-Dade Beacon said that a record 57 companies committing to Miami will add $800 million annually to the local economy, including 8,000 new jobs with an average salary of $97,000.

Northeastern’s brand of experiential education “allows us to attract a unique type of student, a unique type of faculty, a unique type of researcher,” the type who wants to change the world now, D’Amore said.

“Our researchers only tackle the world’s most pressing problems,” he said.

“Our unique brand of education can make a big difference in the world” while enhancing Miami’s vibrant economy, he said.

Cynthia McCormick Hibbert is a Northeastern Global News reporter. Email her at or contact her on Twitter @HibbertCynthia