Column: Making the grade

That’s right, folks, we did it. Northeastern finally achieved its goal of becoming one of the top 100 schools in the country, according to the 2007 U.S. News and World Report’s Best American Colleges rankings. After years of talking about rankings and grades, I figured why not take a look at the academic year that was (on campus and beyond) with the same scrutiny? So, 2006-07, here’s your report card. Please bring it back signed by a parent or legal guardian.

Leadership: A

Northeastern began the year with a leadership shake-up. President Joseph Aoun (that’s Ah-oon, to you) took office in the fall, replacing former president Richard Freeland. Aoun’s got some big ideas – among them creating a Center for Experiential Education, doubling the number of international co-ops by the fall and engaging the surrounding communities – but only time will tell if they’ll pan out. For now, the prospects are exciting enough.

Elsewhere on campus, the success of the first direct elections earlier this month is a testament to the Student Government Association’s (SGA) tireless work to implement the historic process. I’m sincerely proud of SGA, and as a skeptical journalist, that says something.

Boston also got an extreme leadership makeover when Deval Patrick, relying heavily on grassroots and campus organizing, became the first black governor of Massachusetts and the first Democrat in office after 16 years of Republican rule.

Nationally, all eyes are already on 2008, with names like Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Barack Obama, John Edwards and John McCain tossed around as frontrunners for next year’s presidential election. Given the candidates’ MySpace and Facebook pages, it seems they care about the college vote. The question is – do we?

Science:

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