“Hello, President Aoun! So nice to meet you, I’m Tatum Hartwig,” I said as I extended my hand for a greeting.
“I know who you are,” he replied. “I read your tweets.”
Well, that was an unexpected (and flattering) way to begin the Empower campaign event in New York City!
Hundreds of people soon filled Three Sixty Degrees in the heart of Manhattan’s TriBeCa neighborhood. Alumni mingled throughout the venue, taking in expansive views of the city’s neighborhoods and architecture.
Distilled Harmony, one of Northeastern’s premiere a capella groups, kicked off the program. The performance gave me time to nervously rehearse my opening remarks. Never before had I imagined addressing such a large audience of alumni, faculty, and fellow students, but I jumped right in despite my nerves. Watch my minute of fame on the Empower stage!
I was followed by Diane MacGillivray, senior vice president of university advancement, campaign co-chairs Alan McKim, DMSB’88, and Rich D’Amore, DMSB’76, and President Aoun—quite the lineup (watch a recap). They spoke about Northeastern’s success and its plans to grow and strengthen our academics, community, and co-op program. During their remarks, I noted the nodding heads, smiles, and obvious expressions of Husky pride among the crowd.
Guests set off to explore the exhibits: Snell Library’s team showed off their new 3D printer that’s housed in the Digital Media Commons; Joe Ayers, Marine Science Center professor and neurophysiologist, introduced me to his famous RoboLobster (pictured right); and Anthony Gentiles, AMD’14, screened a student animation reel from the College of Art, Media and Design. I couldn’t help but marvel, “This is all happening at Northeastern?!”
The evening’s highlight was speaking with alumni. Jim, E’88, and Amie Smith, AS’87, met as Northeastern students and are giving back to their alma mater. When I asked what drives them to support the university, Amie responded, “It’s important to help other people have the experiences that we still treasure.”
Avril Okeke, BS’95, told me about her respect and advocacy for co-op. “Every student who went through Northeastern’s co-op program is set.” I’m about to start my second co-op and couldn’t agree more.
I spoke with Venetia Kontogouris, LA’74 (pictured right), who embodies Northeastern’s entrepreneurial spirit and drive. She shared the challenges she faces as a woman in the business world and her dedication to overcoming those obstacles. I left our conversation feeling empowered to transcend any hurdles that come my way.
I ended the evening by chatting with Rich D’Amore (pictured left) who reinforced my belief that Northeastern alumni stand behind us as we journey forward in our professional and personal lives.
And as President Aoun said in his opening remarks, “We have something unique, let’s keep investing in it.”
I know I will. Will you?