Inaugural plans set

Correction: A previous version of this story included an incorrect detail about the rescheduling of classes.

About seven months after taking office, President Joseph Aoun will officially be initiated as president of Northeastern University March 26.

The ceremony will be followed by a week of events for the seventh President, who took office Aug. 15.

Preparations were started last May by a subcommittee of the Transition Team, but it was not presented to the rest of the university until last month, said Provost Ahmed Abdelal.

The events will kick-off Monday, March 26 with the actual inauguration ceremony at 10:30 a.m. in Matthews Arena.

“The ceremony will officially install him as President. He’s already on the job, but the ceremony will launch his presidency. It’s the formal beginning,” said Mark Putnam, chief planning officer and chief of staff.

Presidents, provosts and deans of other universities around the country and the world are invited to march in the inauguration as per tradition.

There is no estimation of the cost of this week yet. Putnam suspects that, taking inflation into account, the price will not exceed former President Freeland’s inauguration in 1997, which reached $250,000.

The university does not have an estimated budget yet because it is uncertain how many people will attend the inauguration. Once this information is gathered, an approximate cost could be predicted.

Putnam and Abdelal said much of the costs will be supported by donations and gifts to the university.

“People [like alumni] will step up to support with donations,” Putnam said. “It’s an unusual occurrence and a great experience. People realize that this is something that needs to be done well.”

Abdelal made it clear that guests coming from out of town will have to cover their own expenses.

“This is my loudest and clearest message: If you think this is your tuition dollars at work, think again,” said Stuart Peterfreund, senior associate dean for academic and financial affairs.

Because the spring term has many Monday holidays, arrangements have been made to make up for the classes missed due to the inauguration.

On Monday, sequence two, three and four classes between 9:15 a.m. and 1:25 p.m. will be canceled. The following Friday, March 30, students will attend all of their Monday classes instead of their Friday classes.

It was important to have the inauguration ceremony on a Monday so it could be close to a weekend to facilitate the guests coming from out of town, Putnam said.

“[The inauguration] happens rarely. We wanted to maximize everyone’s opportunity to be a part of this,” he said.

MJ Paradiso, Student Government Association (SGA) vice president for academic affairs, said he is eager to start promoting the events and the change in scheduling.

“It will be a neat event to witness,” Paradiso said. “We need to show the students that they should go, and to show that Northeastern students care about their education.”

Since the date is set, SGA is pushing for promotion to begin. Students should know about the inauguration ahead of time so student attendance is high, Paradiso said.

“By all means, the events are open to all students,” Peterfreund said. “There’s ample seating in Matthews Arena, all students are more than welcome.”

According to Paradiso, there are two groups of students who are concerned with the change of schedule. Half of the students do not want classes on Friday as they work that day and they do not want to lose money by having to cancel their workday. The other half sets academics as their top priority, and do not want to miss the classes they are paying for, especially as it is near the end of the semester.

Tuesday will host the “Life of Mind” series, a forum with scholarly experts. Faculty will also host “Living large, living dangerously – obesity in America” where obesity health issues will be discussed.

A research expo with a number of displays of student and faculty research will be on display Wednesday. Abdelal has taken an important initiative to promote undergraduate research, Peterfreund said.

Thursday is the last day of events and will host the Klein lecture, a lecture by a distinguished member of the faculty to be announced later.

“[The events are] a great opportunity for the university to celebrate,” Putnam said. “It has a symbolic value to showcase the university.”

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