Events planned for week-long inaugural celebration

Events planned for week-long inaugural celebration

Less than a week before President Joseph Aoun’s inauguration, administrators are rushing to finalize details of the upcoming week of events, which is expected to bring politicians and company presidents to campus.

The inaugural week, “Northeastern Illuminated: A Celebration of Excellence and Distinctiveness,” will begin with the installation of Aoun as president of the university Monday, March 26, followed by an Inaugural Reception in the Cabot Cage.

Certain student groups, like the Student Government Association, have reserved seats in Matthews Arena for a large number of the senate for the inauguration, but all students are welcome to attend, whether they are members of in those student groups or not.

“It’s [the students’] choice. It’s a unique moment for the university and it is a unique opportunity for the students. I would hope students would see this and come,” said Registrar Linda Allen, who is part of the inaugural committee.

Some confirmed guests for the inauguration ceremony include Mayor Thomas Menino; Steven Sample, president of the University of Southern California; and Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Governor Deval Patrick is expected to attend, though it has not been confirmed.

Brian Kenny, Northeastern vice president of marketing and communications, said the planning committee looked at events already happening on campus and tied them into the inauguration.

“It wasn’t only about the ceremony, this is a moment in [Northeastern] history,” Kenny said.

Starting Tuesday and going to Friday, there will be a Community Arts Festival in the indoor quad of the Curry Student Center, and a Life of the Mind Lecture Series with a number of professors as speakers. There will also be A Banner Day for Neighborhood Youth, as well as a “Welcome to Our World” art exhibit in the student center, which will last through Saturday. A full schedule of the week’s events is online at www.neu.edu/inaugural.

A Research and Scholarship Expo will take place Wednesday in the Cabot Physical Education Center.

“The research and scholarship expo has grown rapidly in recent years. It has showcased work of more and more students in undergraduate and graduate research,” said Fred McGrail, director of university communications.

The production of “Guys and Dolls” by the theatre department will be free and open to all alumni, students and faculty Wednesday in honor of Aoun’s Inauguration.

The Klein lecture, a traditional lecture by a distinguished faculty member, will be Thursday in 20 West Village F. Sanjeev Mukerjee, professor of chemistry and chemical biology, has been selected as this year’s speaker. The lecture will be followed by a Klein Reception in the African American Institute.

A Gala Cultural Celebration with food and entertainment will be open to the entire Northeastern community in the Curry Student Center Friday.

Food will be sorted and packaged for distribution to neighborhoods in the area for an Alumni Day of Service Saturday, where alumni and students will work together to fight hunger.

“We want [the inauguration week] to appeal to a broad range of constituents. We want it to reflect and celebrate the university,” McGrail said.

Kenny said President Aoun has not been involved much with the planning of the week. “He hasn’t taken a strong role, but he did have a voice. He didn’t want it to be about his inauguration, but about the university as a whole,” Kenny said.

Kenny declined to give an estimate of the budget until the inauguration week ends, due to the uncertainty of the cost of each event.

When presented with a list of the inaugural activities, students chose which ones they would be most likely to attend.

“I would go to ‘A Banner Day for Neighborhood Youth’ just because I like volunteering and it sounds like fun,” said Ayesha Ahmend, a sophomore pharmacy major. “I don’t know if I’d really go to any of the lectures.”

Jennifer Fahey, a sophomore behavioral neuroscience major, said she would go to the Gala Cultural Celebration and to the Welcome to Our World art exhibit because of their international focus, and said she enjoys learning about new cultures.

However, Peggy Koenig, a senior communications major, said it is difficult to get a large portion of the student body to these events since students have their own busy lives on campus.

“Campus culture always needs to be worked on,” Koenig said.

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