Class of 2016 graduates recognized for ‘tenacity and perseverance’

Class of 2016 graduates recognized for ‘tenacity and perseverance’

It was a picture-perfect day for the second ever Graduation Recognition Ceremony at Northeastern University’s Seattle campus in South Lake Union.

“You graduates have demonstrated great tenacity and perseverance. I know that you have had to over come many obstacles to sit in these seats today,” said Dean Scott McKinley, acknowledging the hard work and great dedication required to complete a masters or doctoral program, a theme that would continue throughout the ceremony.

(See photos from the ceremony in our Facebook or Flickr albums.)

Participating graduates represented six of Northeastern’s colleges – College of Computer and Information Science, College of Engineering, College of Professional Studies, College of Science, College of Social Science and Humanities and the D’Amore McKim School of Business.


The graduates earned degrees from a diverse range of more than a dozen academic programs and demonstrated milestone moments for the Seattle campus:

E76A4865“As much as I learned computer science, I also learned a lot about my life,” said Student Speaker Divya Devaraj, MS Computer Science, reflecting on her experience. She shared lessons of strategic problem solving when the warnings of the tough schedule of graduate school came to fruition. She learned lessons of perseverance and self-confidence when finding a software engineering internship took interviews at 11 companies to land a position.

“I stand here as a proud graduate who’s ready to take on more challenges in life, keep pushing my self, keep believing in myself. Hard work will definitely pay off we just have to keep pushing for what we want,” said Devaraj, who after completing the program in December is now working as a Software Development Engineer 2 at GoDaddy. She thanked the dedicated efforts of her industry-knowledgable professors for mentoring her through the process and her family for supporting her so she could follow her passion.

“You should aim to be drivers of change for a better and safer world,” said Faculty Speaker Himlona Palikhe, PhD, assistant teaching professor and assistant program director for the engineering management program. “Northeastern has provided you the skills you need to succeed, now it is your responsibility to use those skills to benefit yourself and society at large.”

This sentiment was echoed by Soyeon Yi, a biotechnologist and the first Korean to fly in space, in her keynote address.

“You have stronger intellectual power than others if you are here for your commencement, this means you should be more responsible than others also. ‘With great power comes great responsibility,’ as Uncle Ben said,” Yi advised the graduates.

Yi reflected on her experience and learnings from her explorations in space.

“Earth is the cradle for humanity, but one should not live in the cradle forever. That’s why I and all other astronauts fly to the space station to develop more technology. By exploring outside of the cradle, we can see how much we humankind have achieved and learned,” she said. “Northeastern University was also one of your cradles for your life, and now you are ready to leave that cradle, to develop yourself more, to learn more with exploring the world and to change the world.”

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