Graduate student John Perrin at a lectern

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Northeastern Illinois University’s May 2016 Commencement ceremony is less than a week away, but the celebrations began in April with the Academic Honors and Graduate Recognition ceremonies.

John Perrin, who earned a perfect 4.0 GPA on the way to his Master of Arts in Special Education, said one inspirational quote that he stuck on his wall, in his daily planner and on his laptop helped keep him focused on the journey. The quote: "If you NEVER give up, you will WIN.”

Needless to say, Perrin won. He reflected on his success at Northeastern in a way that was relatable for many of the graduate students in the audience. His success, Perrin said, was a team effort with his fellow students, his professors, his colleagues and of course his family.

“Think back to the day you enrolled at Northeastern,” Perrin asked of his fellow graduates during his April 21 speech at the Graduate Recognition Ceremony. “Then think about your most challenging times or part of the program—a class, an assignment, or group project. Then think about where we are today, and let’s congratulate ourselves. We did it!”

Perrin called his professors “phenomenal.”

“They gave me the encouragement, the strength, the support I needed,” he said. “It’s the first time that I ever felt this strong about professors in my educational career.”

Now, Perrin is eager to put his master’s degree to work.

“I look forward to a successful career as a special education teacher,” he said. “I thank Northeastern and everyone in my program for assisting me in these accomplishments.”

Northeastern’s Commencement ceremony, featuring speaker Evan Wolfson, is scheduled for May 9 at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. It will be streamed live online at