Parents shared a single emotion as they watched their children graduate from Northeastern—pride

northeastern graduate holding yellow flowers hugging a family member
Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

This is part of our coverage of Northeastern’s 2023 commencement exercises. For more information, visit our dedicated commencement page.

The responses were unanimous.

“Overwhelming pride,” Andrea Nieto, mother of graduate Alexandra Nieto, said. 

“We’re very proud,” said Kavitha Ganesham, aunt of graduate Veena Vyza.

“I’m super proud of her,” said Shari Bloom, mother of graduate Jia Bloom. “I’ve really enjoyed watching her grow here.”

“Very proud,” said Shaun Dsouza, whose son Kevin Dsouza graduated with a master’s degree in cybersecurity

Pride was overflowing as graduates and their families walked around Northeastern University’s Boston campus, posed for pictures, filed into and out of Fenway Park, cried, cheered and cried some more.

“The whole graduating vibe is good,” Ganesham said. “There’s some kind of energy.”

Indeed. The last week has been full of ceremonies for individual schools and colleges. As the week progressed and more and more families arrived in town, the Boston campus filled with excited graduates in caps and gowns leading proud parents, siblings, cousins, friends and more along the pathways. 

Backdrops throughout campus provided opportunities for happy graduates to pose for photos. It all came to a climax on Sunday at commencement exercises at Fenway Park. The sky had cleared, the temperature had climbed, and families of graduates crowded into the historic ballpark.

northeastern families waving poster cut outs of graduates heads
Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

“I loved it being at Fenway,” said Michael Frederick, whose daughter Delia Frederick graduated with a master’s in business administration.
Venessa Dsouza said that the 18-hour trip from India for commencement was a necessity. 

“We couldn’t miss it,” she said. “It’s a one-time thing.”

Meanwhile, Joanne Dyer, whose son Zachary Dyer graduated with a doctorate in nursing practice and is becoming a certified registered nurse anesthetist, described herself as “overwhelmed with joy.”
“I’m proud, relieved … he’ll finally get paid for all his hard work,”Joanne Dyer said, laughing. 

Zachary’s wife Alex was also a little relieved.

“He was working very hard,” Alex Dyer said. “He had to work a lot of hours in the hospital and was taking classes.”

Emotions were similar among parents waiting for the undergraduate ceremony to begin.

“I’m happy she had the experience,” Kiki Laurent said of her daughter Amanda’s undergraduate years. “She has to chase her dreams.”

For parents Kelly and Stephen Qualey, Sunday’s commencement marked new milestones in their life. 

“It means we’re getting old,” Stephen said, laughing. “I guess I’m a little relieved though—one college tuition less.”

Meanwhile, Kelly said she was excited that the ceremony was at Fenway, giving their daughter Kelsey a chance to sit in the outfield.

“It’s a beautiful day,” Kelly Qualey said.

Michelle Ellegood said she remembered the night her son Ryan was accepted to Northeastern. Five years and 2½ co-ops later, she said she was excited waiting for commencement to begin.

“I’m very excited for his journey and for him to start his life,” Ellegood said. 

Meanwhile, Asha Thadani said her feelings were “very bittersweet,” attending son Kunal’s graduation.

It was her immediate family’s first graduation ceremony, Thadani explained, her eldest daughter’s ceremony was canceled due to COVID.

“Our older daughter didn’t get to do this, and I think it’s a very important thing to have,” Thadani said.

Michael and Maddie Ouellette, whose daughter Olivia Ouellette graduated with a master’s degree in architecture, also had mixed emotions about Sunday’s ceremony.

“She was waiting for it,” Michael said of his daughter and commencement.

“I wasn’t,” Maddie Ouellette admitted. “I didn’t want (Northeastern) to end.”

Cyrus Moulton is a Northeastern Global News reporter. Email him at Follow him on Twitter@MoultonCyrus.