*Published on April 22, 2020*

Dear Parents,

As Northeastern approaches the end of an unexpectedly challenging semester, we write with an update on the university’s critical priorities—continuing to serve your students’ educational needs and those of our global community.

We recognize that this has been a difficult time for our students as the world navigated a global public health crisis unlike any we have seen before. Throughout, our learners have shown all of the qualities that make us proud to call them Northeastern students: resilience, a desire to make an impact in the world, and a commitment to their education.

Northeastern University’s leadership is likewise committed to providing an outstanding educational experience for your students, no matter the circumstances. In fact, President Aoun made a very important announcement on Tuesday, outlining “a series of prudent, responsible actions designed to ensure that Northeastern not only weathers the current crisis, but emerges stronger and more resilient.”

Student support, groundbreaking research, community outreach, and robust experiential learning remain our priority as we move forward.

Academic and Student Support: As our faculty finish the semester and plan summer courses, the university is providing them with technological assistance and teaching guidance to support their course development. Our advisors—working across study abroad, co-op, and academics—continue to offer individualized guidance to help your students plan their learning journey and navigate changes to their study plans. Career services continue with virtual career coaching labs and online workshops.

Student Programming: Beyond the classroom, the university has transformed key events into interactive, digital experiences. Students turned Relay for Life into a virtual event, raising more than $179,000 for cancer research. The university’s Research, Innovation, Scholarship, Entrepreneurship event proceeded with 350 student presenters sharing their projects virtually with judges and viewers from across the globe. Our student life staff are expanding virtual programming, planning online end-of-year celebrations, and organizing virtual study rooms and social events to help students connect with each other.

Research: Research continues as an essential part of the university’s mission, particularly research related to understanding and halting the COVID-19 pandemic. A team of Northeastern researchers, led by Sternberg Distinguished University Professor Alessandro Vespignani, is creating models that are informing the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Law Wendy Parmet continues to be a leading voice in the public health conversation. Other Northeastern researchers have identified new potential drugs that could treat COVID-19.

Community Outreach: Recognizing our responsibility to the community in a time of tremendous need, Northeastern has opened a residence hall to first respondershosted a blood drive in Matthews Arena, and is providing career services to contract employees who have been laid off by their employers. We continue to seek out alumni, employer, and co-op partners who are meeting urgent, global priorities in the fight against COVID-19.

Experiential learning is the distinguishing mark of a Northeastern education. The university is fully invested in continuing that learning and in reimagining and transforming it for our present circumstances. As we move forward, multiple cross-functional groups of leaders from across the university are engaged in planning for the fall. We will continue to update the community as plans develop.

We thank you for entrusting us with your student’s education. We encourage you to continue monitoring the university’s COVID-19 website and to subscribe to News@Northeastern for ongoing news about the university’s research, faculty experts, events, and outreach.


Kenneth W. Henderson

Chancellor and Senior Vice President for Learning