Photo of two graduates in blue caps and gowns at Northeastern's 2018 Commencement

Friday, May 7, 2021

Though we’re not able to meet in person for graduation, we’ll still be celebrating Northeastern’s class of 2021! Find out how to view our virtual Commencement ceremonies, meet a spring graduate who won a national award and see who was chosen as the winner of the 2021 Audrey Reynolds Distinguished Teaching Award. Read about this and more in the latest edition of Noteworthy at Northeastern.

Around the Commons

Virtual Commencement

Northeastern Illinois University will honor May 2021 graduates with a series of six virtual Commencement ceremonies, providing a fun, innovative and safe platform to celebrate the achievements of our graduates. The ceremonies will launch concurrently at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 9. There will be one ceremony each for the College of Arts and Sciences, the Daniel L. Goodwin College of Education and the College of Business and Management. Nontraditional Degree Programs will join the College of Arts and Sciences. This year’s Commencement speaker will be Illinois Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza. Please visit the Commencement webpage for further details. 

Get social (virtually, of course)! Use #NEIUgrad on social media to share Commencement photos, NEIU stories and send congratulatory messages to our class of 2021! 

Crossing the finish line

Northeastern Illinois University Physical Education major Marisela Palma Barraza is ending her undergraduate career with a slam dunk. She was named Major of the Year by the Society of Health and Physical Education (SHAPE) America. The award celebrates outstanding undergraduate students in the health, physical education, recreation and dance professions who are nominated by a faculty advisor or professor. “There are a lot of support programs in place at NEIU,” Palma Barraza said. “I participated in TRIO and they really helped me with tutoring. My advice to current and future students is to get involved by volunteering at events on campus or finding a student organization that you feel passionate about. These are great ways to meet other students, professors, and mentors that will all help you succeed during your time at NEIU.”

Photo of Alireza "Reza" Dorestani in a black suit against a gray back drop

Audrey Reynolds Distinguished Teaching Award

Northeastern Illinois University has selected Professor of Accounting Alireza “Reza” Dorestani as the 2021 recipient of the Audrey Reynolds Distinguished Teaching Award. Professor Emerita of Linguistics Audrey Reynolds established the award to be given annually to a tenured member of the Northeastern faculty who best demonstrates distinguished teaching. After careful review, the committee recommended Dorestani as this year’s recipient of the award, which will be formally presented at the Faculty Institute. “The unique aspect of our environment at NEIU is the diverse body of students and teachers,” Dorestani said. “The diversity in our university is a strength that brings different ideas and points of views together making our institution powerful and effective in teaching. I believe we have many excellent teachers at the NEIU and I feel lucky to be the one chosen for this award.”

2021 Class Gift 

Spring 2021 graduates can receive a spirit tassel and NEIU "N" tassel charm by donating $20.21 to Northeastern’s Class Gift Fund. Commemorate your graduation and celebrate the 25th anniversary of this Northeastern tradition! No matter the size of the contribution, the Class Gift is special because it’s for students, from students. Make a lasting impact on Northeastern Illinois University students and commemorate your graduation with a Class Gift donation today!  

And there’s more!

  • Registration for Summer 2021 and Fall 2021 is now open. 
  • Instructor of Finance Brian Langenberg has been retained as an advisor to the Chairman and senior leadership of My Thuy International Port in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam. A recent meeting with key government and diplomatic officials confirmed agreement to begin phase 1 construction of the $800 million project in 2021. 
  • The NEIUideas podcast has posted two new episodes. In one episode Mary Thill, Associate Professor, Reference Coordinator, and Humanities Librarian, talks about student source selection. The other features David Springer, who teaches in NEIU’s Sociology Department, discussing a section of his dissertation, "Where Monsters Meet the Truly Disadvantaged: Race, Gender, and the Serially Killed."
  • NEIU Libraries encourages all Northeastern students to consider contributing to “Sheltering in Place: NEIU Archives COVID-19 Documentation Project.”

To do

Annual NEIU Alumni Adopt-A-Beach Day: Foster Beach Clean Up

Join Northeastern’s Alumni Association and fellow Golden Eagles on Saturday, May 8 at 10 a.m. to clean up Foster Beach. The group is meeting at the beach house for supply pick up. Please review Chicago Park District COVID-19 guidelines and sign up online. This event is limited to 50 volunteers. Questions can be directed to Ashley Agron,

NEIU Alumni All Access

The NEIU Alumni Association welcomes David D. Robertson, founder of the H.O.P.E. Is… Foundation for a NEIU Alumni All Access event to spread a message of hope and empower underrepresented students through mentorship. This free virtual event is open to all and will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 20. Sign up is required.  

In the media

Professor Emeritus of Economics Ed Stuart appeared on WTTW's “Chicago Tonight” to discuss the U.S. Economy. 

Student Support Spotlight

Self-Care: Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and Student Counseling Services (SCS)  aims to break the stigma around mental health. Whether you do self-care activities on your own, with family, friends or co-workers, implementing ways to de-stress is a great way to care for your mental health and raise awareness of mental health issues. SCS recommends the following resources:

SCS has also provided some tips for helping individuals manage anxiety and worry they may be feeling, and listed some important resources. Students are welcome to contact SCS to set up an appointment to talk either by phone or their online platform for teletherapy. To access NEIU’s SCS, call (773) 442-4650 or send an email to between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. After hours, students may also reach a counselor for more urgent consultation by calling the main number and pressing “2” during the outgoing message.

More resources for students can be found on the Keep Learning website and the COVID-19 Student FAQ page. General information about Northeastern’s response to the pandemic and the latest University updates regarding COVID-19 can be found on the NEIU Coronavirus Response page

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Top photo: Northeastern students at Commencement 2018.