Pride and Support

The spirit of philanthropy

Undeterred by a global pandemic, generous alumni, parents, faculty, staff, students, friends, corporations, and foundations set a record of support for Northeastern.

  • $180.2M

    in gifts and pledges in 2019–2020

We’re going to make a massive investment … focused at the most technically advanced edge of the technology sphere—which is AI and machine learning.

—David Roux, tech entrepreneur and Northeastern benefactor

Shaping our tech-driven future

In 2019, tech entrepreneur David Roux and his wife, Barbara, made the largest gift to Northeastern in its history: $100 million to launch the Roux Institute in Portland, Maine, as a hub for graduate education and research in the digital and life sciences. The Rouxs saw Northeastern as their ideal partner, thanks to its entrepreneurial leadership, success in opening graduate campuses in other cities, and proven record of partnering with employers, government, and academia to meet global workforce needs. The couple’s investment would be “focused at the most technically advanced edge of the technology sphere—AI and machine learning,” David Roux said at the launch event in January. “We’re going for the biggest prize, the brass ring, of technology,” to propel Maine and northern New England into the innovation economy.

Roux Institute’s January announcement event video

  • 25,378

    individual donors representing 96 countries, including 7,553 first-time donors

  • 582

    corporations and foundations made $103.8M in gifts and pledges

Giving to change the world

Our united COVID-19 response


  • 2,600

    students received grants through the We Care Student Emergency Fund

  • 50

    faculty members received grants from the COVID-19 Resilience Fund for researchers

  • $628K+

    raised for student financial aid through the COVID-19 Resilience Fund

Together, worldwide

United across borders

  • 275,000+

    alumni live and work in 177 countries

  • 47

    global Northeastern communities

  • 5,300+

    participants from 64 countries engaged in events and virtual programs 2019-2020

A network of teachers and learners

The Distinguished Entrepreneur Award

The Distinguished Entrepreneur Award was presented to Alan McKim, trustee and D’Amore-McKim School of Business alumnus and benefactor, at the annual Dream, Discover, Disrupt event in November 2019. Hosted by President Joseph E. Aoun, the event celebrated both entrepreneurship at Northeastern and McKim, founder of Clean Harbors, which is now the leading provider of environmental energy and industrial services in North America. He reflected on his pursuit of an MBA to better manage his growing company and discussed his relationship with his mentor, D’Amore-McKim Professor Emeritus Daniel McCarthy.

Black Health Matters Contact-A-Thon

United against racial discrimination in healthcare against black and LGBTQ communities, a student-led team joined forces with alumni, faculty, and staff this spring to learn about philanthropy and launch the Black Health Matters Contact-A-Thon. With an assist from the Office of Alumni Relations’ Student Engagement and Philanthropy team, the 24-hour event on June 20 raised 532 gifts totaling $33,814. Black Health Matters members directed the funds to four U.S. nonprofits: Action for Boston Community Development, Black Women’s Health Imperative, The Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights, and The Audre Lorde Project.

Lifelong Learning on Demand

This year, the Office of Alumni Relations expanded its Lifelong Learning: On Demand program with short courses to help alumni stay resilient and ahead of the curve. Topics included effective crisis communication, cultivating a resilient leadership identity, resilience during a crisis, emerging trends of regulatory affairs, and successful talent management strategy. More than 2,000 alumni, parents, and friends from 49 countries completed courses and earned digital badges.

Building career resiliency

With unemployment rising due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Alumni Relations offered six new, career-focused virtual events featuring alumni experts. Alumni tuned in from 15 countries to explore topics ranging from networking in a remote world to conducting interviews virtually.

Heroes against COVID-19

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Northeastern’s community rose to the challenge.

Bihe “Momo” Wang

From China with care

Bihe “Momo” Wang, S’16, who works for a medical supplies distribution company in her native Beijing, contacted the Alumni Relations office to offer 6,000 surgical masks for Northeastern’s front-line workers. Paul “Pu” Chen, MBA’08, also from Beijing, shipped 1,000 medical-grade and N95 masks to Northeastern from Mahaton Disinfection, the microbial pollution governance company he co-founded in Tianjin. “We consider ourselves an IDEA enterprise,” says Pu, referring to Northeastern’s student-led venture accelerator, “so I felt obligated to help.”

Ben Morris

Wheels to shields

Coaster Cycles, founded in 2004 by Ben Morris, DMSB’05, manufactures three-wheeled cycles for some of the world’s largest companies. When orders dried up, the business laid off 80 percent of its workforce—but in mid-March, Morris stumbled across plans for making face shields and pivoted. “This is a way we can put our people back to work and give back to people on the front lines,” he says. The first order, for 500,000 pieces, allowed Coaster Cycles to not only rehire workers, but also expand the team.

Simon Otalora

Somersaults for patients’ sake

Simon Otalora, SSH’14, a member of Northeastern’s Young Global Leaders, saw a critical need for more hospital beds in his native Panama as COVID-19 swept the globe. So he led an effort to convert unused gymnasium spaces into overflow facilities for local hospitals. Gyms were quickly outfitted with hospital beds and medical equipment, and staffed by healthcare workers.

Russ Layton

Sharpening his mission

Russ Layton, E’98, built a successful company, Sparx Hockey, in Acton, Massachusetts, by making affordable skate sharpeners for rinks, NHL teams, and individual ice hockey enthusiasts. In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, Layton adopted a new mission. After outfitting his garage with two industrial laser-cutting machines, he has kept his small staff busy manufacturing face shields to protect healthcare workers. “Within a couple of days of letting people go, we were trying to figure out how to bring them back,” Layton says.

The Lotfi Family

Ramping up to step up

When SARS-CoV-2 struck, cousins Morteza Lotfi, E’85, MS’88, Ali Lotfi, E’82, MS’88, and Mostafa Lotfi saw a way they could help meet caregivers’ urgent need for personal protective equipment. In just two days, the trio, co-founders of the Lacerta Group, a Mansfield, Massachusetts-based manufacturer of plastic packaging, began making plastic face shields. While producing up to 500,000 a day to sell, they have also donated thousands to local hospitals.