Student commencement speaker chosen from 23 applicants, 5 finalists

By Bill Shaner, News Staff

Michael Paradiso, a senior international business major and past member of Student Government Association (SGA) among other student groups, was chosen as this year’s student commencement speaker.

Twenty-three students submitted speeches to the selection committee, and after narrowing the pool down to five finalists, the committee chose Paradiso, said Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs Ed Klotzbier.

“I think the reason MJ Paradiso was ultimately selected was that he spoke about the many opportunities our students are having today, whether it’s community service, study and co-op abroad, being involved in strong campus life,” Klotzbier said. “He just kind of touched all the various buttons of what a five year program means to today’s Northeastern student.”

Paradiso is on an international co-op in Germany and could not be reached for comment.

The application process worked differently this year, Klotzbier said. The five finalists submitted video recordings of their speech for the committee to review, something that hadn’t been done in the past. He said the video submissions gave the selection committee a feel for how well the students would deliver their speech.

“You have to remember, it’s one thing to write a speech, it’s another thing to give a speech,” he said. “And I think MJ, given the way he projected and how he stated certain things, I think people were confident he could get up there in front of 18,000 family and friends and really hit it out of the park.”

Klotzbier said another aspect that helped Paradiso differentiate from the pool and embody what the committee was looking for in a speaker was the perspective he obtained from holding leadership positions in student groups like SGA and also his international experience through the International Business program.

Traditionally, student commencement speakers reflect on their years at Northeastern tying the major Northeastern and city-wide events in with their own personal experiences, Klotzbier said.

Last year’s student commencement speaker was Brandon Taylor, a senior biomedical physics major at the time. He wasn’t a student group leader or headline-maker but gave a speech Klotzbier described as funny with touching moments, as previously reported in The News.

Paradiso will deliver his speech at commencement May 7.

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