The beginning of Northeastern from 2021 began on Saturday in the historic setting of Fenway Park, where hundreds of students gathered, safely distanced from each other on the field, and parents and guests watched from the stands.
After a year unlike any other, Northeastern innovated to be able to host inaugural ceremonies unlike any before them, and followed COVID-19 guidelines for prevention in an iconic outdoor Boston location.
Kannehaugen was adorned with the northeastern N, and the university’s logo covered the home plate. Graduates, their family and friends snapped selfies on the court before being called to take a seat.
“Being physically celebrated, it feels like a better ending to my years here,” said Channtel Ravenell, a graduate in behavioral neuroscience.
She has been taking classes practically for the past year with her cat, Bro, on a regular basis to lie down over the computer. But now she waved to her mother from the field, where they gathered for the first of two lower ceremonies.
Sylvia Dyakova and her son, Dean, took selfies behind the home plate. Originally from Bulgaria, but living in California since her son was a baby, Sylvia Dyakova said she was filled with enormous pride in being able to see the coronation of her son’s academic achievement.
“Education has always been a priority in our family, so he worked hard over the years,” she said. “It’s the huge feeling that each of the parents has when you see your child achieve something great.”
Her son graduated with a degree in computer science and economics and recently got a new job as a software engineer in a financial technology company.
The sun had barely risen over Fenway Park on Saturday morning when members of Northeastern’s Class of 2021 began arriving, more than two hours before the start of the first ceremony.
Brian Beggan, who graduated as a chemical engineer, came early because he is president of the pep band, which plays both day’s ceremonies, the culmination of an academic year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resistance of Northeastern society in confronting it.
“My feeling of going upstairs and seeing everything at Fenway made it strike at once,” he said. “Today is the day it really happens. I’m going to go from here to a college education. ”
With his ugly trombone over a few seats, Beggan said he was happy to have an early start, so he could take on the meaning the day before the first ceremony begins.
Beggan starts a full-time engineering position at the same company in Massachusetts where he made a previous collaboration.
Senior Allison Noble also plays an instrument in the ceremony. She is a French horn player in the wind ensemble. Noble, a major in marine biology, will not be far from the northeast when she graduates. She is on the Plus One master’s program. She plans to work before pursuing a doctorate.
Now that the big day is here, Noble says she’s happy to have a personal upgrade during the pandemic. Some colleges in the Boston area have chosen external ceremonies.
“I am very happy that they made a very big effort to have a personal ceremony for us, which is very much appreciated.”
Hershy Kulkarni and Matt McLaughlin had not seen each other in person in over a year. Kulkarni, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in administration, was completely distant in the last year and took virtual classes from Chicago. “It’s good to be back in Boston,” he said, greeting McLaughlin and getting his bachelor’s degree in economics, with his eyes smiling over his mask and an elbow bump.
Another reunion of sorts occurred when Elif Coskun and Tucker Spencer-Wallace arrived. The couple met during the first year course and coordinated the initial plans to be able to graduate as well.
After spending the entire year taking classes online, Spencer-Wallace, who has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in engineering, says that “not being able to celebrate in our bedrooms and instead in a historic place like Fenway Park [is] proof that we can still be students in a way. ”
Just minutes after the Fenway Park staff shouted at each other, “We’re open!” Natalie Hall sat in her seat. Behavioral exams and neuroscience had never been to Fenway before ceremonies for the beginning, and she and her father wanted to make sure their arrival went smoothly. Her mother had a livestream show with family members nearby.
“It feels a little surreal” that the four years are over, she said.
For Danielle Guibord and her father Ron, arriving early at Fenway Park was an opportunity to soak up the sights and sounds of a significant occasion at one of their favorite places. “We are very big Red Sox fans. We have been at stake for a while, said the psychologist. “It’s nice to make more memories here.”
Guilbord is not the first in her family to graduate from Northeastern. Her grandfather completed his degree by attending night classes and was unable to attend his own inaugural ceremonies. “I told him I was graduating for both of us,” Guilbord said.