Celebrating an “influential” senior class

President Joseph E. Aoun greeted seniors last week at a reception for those selected as “most influential” from the Class of 2012. Photo by Mike Mazzanti.

Most years, Northeastern honors 100 students deemed most influential on campus at a reception in the spring. However, the Class of 2012 supplied such a bumper crop of influential students that the university deemed 100 simply wasn’t enough.

At this year’s reception, held last week, a total of 118 were honored for their achievements in everything from academics and experiential-learning opportunities to athletics and student organizations.

President Joseph E. Aoun said some students joked about the reasons they were invited — saying they knew the right people or had left favorable impressions on top administrators. Those reasons, he said, were far from true.

“Some of you said, ‘I have been doing the right thing.’ And that’s why you are all here,” Aoun said. “But the right thing is not the same for each one of you. Some of you have been involved in leading various clubs, some of you have been involved in various aspects of university life and community service. Whatever it is, you’re right: You did the right thing.”

The students honored included athletes, club leaders and key figures in campus life and community service — and many had multiple distinctions and leadership roles to their names.

“As the person responsible for the academic programs here at Northeastern, I’m really pleased to see all of you doing so well,” said Provost Stephen Director. “You should feel good about the education you received and know that we’re really proud of everything you’ve done.”

For many students, the reception provided an opportunity to reflect upon their Northeastern experiences and the lessons they learned.

“I learned you have to try a lot of things to figure out what you want to do, and it’s OK to do that,” said Katherine Hayden, a sociology major who used a study-abroad semester in Scotland to further her knowledge in political science.

Computer science major Daniel Bostwick, a leader in the university’s chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery, said his initiative helped him succeed in class, clubs and entrepreneurial endeavors.

“I learned of the importance of starting something and being able to follow through, whether it’s for schoolwork or a start-up,” Bostwick said.

Aoun said the group of influential students would leave Northeastern as models for future students looking to succeed in their endeavors, whatever they may be.

“It’s obviously the case that you are the role models for us, for the students and for the future,” he said.