A global university with local roots, Northeastern makes investment in Boston high school students ready to ‘climb high’

Mayor Michelle Wu speaking at event
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu welcomes BPS students to Northeastern at the university’s ISEC building on the Boston campus. Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

With 13 campuses on three continents, the Northeastern University reach is global. 

That impact is also local, as showcased Friday when university and Boston leaders welcomed over 200 students from Boston into the Husky community.

“This group is incredibly special,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu told the students at an event in Northeastern’s Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex on the Boston campus. “We want to do our part to make sure that many, many more students follow in your footsteps.”

Two hundred twenty-one students from Boston are entering Northeastern this year, of which 182 are graduates of Boston Public Schools. The students — who will study in Boston, London, Oakland and around the world — received a total of $9.24 million in financial aid from the university.

Many of those incoming students gathered at ISEC for the official welcome ceremony. The incoming students were praised for their academic excellence and commitment to the city of Boston and given advice on making the most of their Northeastern experience.

“In order to get into Northeastern — this is a select university — please know that we feel so proud of the work you did as students in BPS to position yourself here,” Boston School Superintendent Mary Skipper said in remarks to the students. “Kudos to you, keep up the hard work, and know how proud you make us at BPS.”

Fourth-year Northeastern student John Dume Pimentel told the students to push themselves and not be afraid of failure, calling his time at Northeastern “an incredible chapter filled with growth, challenges and moments that have shaped me into the person I am today.” 

“I arrived at Northeastern as a first-generation student, with little knowledge about what college had to offer,” Dume Pimentel, an industrial engineering student, said. “It wasn’t long before I discovered that the possibilities were truly endless.”

And while those possibilities extend to participating in co-ops in 148 countries, studying on one of 13 campuses on three continents, and meeting classmates from across the globe, Senior Vice President for External Affairs Michael Armini reminded the incoming students that Northeastern was firmly rooted in their hometown.

“If you think about Northeastern as a big oak tree, as the tree has grown, and as the branches have extended out and extended upward, at the same time, the roots of the tree grow deeper and stronger in the place that the tree was originally planted,” Armini said. “Climb high, put yourself way out on the skinny branches, take risks — that’s OK — whatever you do, remember that Northeastern is securely rooted in Boston, which is your home.”

Indeed, several students in attendance said that global opportunities at a place close to home drew them to enroll at Northeastern. 

“I like it because I can stay close to family and don’t have to travel far for holidays,” said North End resident and Boston Latin Academy graduate Paige Fitzgerald.  

But Fitzgerald, 18, had one exception for the easy commute: she is interested in studying abroad or participating in a global co-op.

“There’s so many opportunities to study elsewhere, and I hope she takes advantage of that,” Fitzgerald’s mother, Ann, said.

Fellow North End resident Emma Perez, 19, said she “feels more comfortable” staying in Boston for college. 

“It’s kind of cool when I get to packing, if I leave something at home, I can just take the train back,” Perez said. “And if I get homesick.”

Like Fitzgerald, Perez said she envisions studying abroad, as she plans on studying linguistics. But the Boston Arts Academy graduate said she had another more local goal. Her cousin films the hockey games and she has become a fan.

“I want the opportunity to put on the Husky suit,” Perez said.

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