Director, Academic Ceremonies

Massachusetts, United States
Salary Not specified
Jul 19, 2021
Position Type
Executive, Other Executive
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

Director, Academic Ceremonies

About Northeastern:
Founded in 1898, Northeastern is a global research university and the recognized leader in experience-driven lifelong learning. Our world-renowned experiential approach empowers our students, faculty, alumni, and partners to create impact far beyond the confines of discipline, degree, and campus.

Our locations—in Boston; Charlotte, North Carolina; London; Portland, Maine; San Francisco; Seattle; Silicon Valley; Toronto; Vancouver; and the Massachusetts communities of Burlington and Nahant—are nodes in our growing global university system. Through this network, we expand opportunities for flexible, student-centered learning and collaborative, solutions-focused research.

Northeastern's comprehensive array of undergraduate and graduate programs— in a variety of on-campus and online formats—lead to degrees through the doctorate in nine colleges and schools. Among these, we offer more than 195 multi-discipline majors and degrees designed to prepare students for purposeful lives and careers.

About the Opportunity:
The Northeastern community has a tradition of giving back, and each day, we witness the impact of our community's remarkable generosity. Our students are pursuing co-ops in all corners of the globe, growing their cultural fluency and preparing to thrive in the world. Our faculty are delivering leading-edge scholarship, teaching and mentoring tomorrow's leaders. And our researchers are pioneering new lines of inquiry, accelerating discovery in emerging fields. Northeastern University Advancement and the Academic Ceremonies Office play an integral role in engaging the Northeastern community to create a stronger, more sustainable, and bright future.

Northeastern University seeks a detail-oriented project manager to serve as its new Director, Academic Ceremonies (Director). The Director provides program planning and execution for a wide range of high-profile, multi-cultural, and inclusive University ceremonies including commencement and other signature events in a way that ensures an exceptional experience for Northeastern students and families.

This is an opportunity to join an innovative institution that places students first and values the opportunity to welcome and engage global audiences through hybrid in-person and virtual events, ones that are artfully designed to fully celebrate educational accomplishment, recognize a student's readiness to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world, the sacrifices they have made to achieve their goals, and the love of learning that has propelled them forward.

Reporting to the Vice President of the Office of Alumni Relations, the Director coordinates all activities within the Commencement Office and provides oversight to the Assistant Director, Academic Ceremonies and a flexible team of co-op students, volunteers, and event staff that require hands-on direction and supervision at each event. Events and programs across Northeastern's global network of campuses include undergraduate and graduate commencement, Honors, convocation, and PhD hooding.

The Director holds fiscal responsibility for the commencement budget, devises operational timelines and event schedules, and productively negotiates with vendors. In addition to implementing the necessary operational components that make for a successful event, the Director will guarantee adherence to University brand requirements in the execution of formal ceremonies occurring across the global network.

A true collaborator, the Director closely coordinates with individuals at multiple levels of the University including those in the Offices of the President, University Registrar, University Advancement, External Affairs, and the Senior Year Experience Board and Commencement Chair. The Director also provides direction and support to the Deans of Northeastern's nine Schools and Colleges and to leaders across the global network in planning their respective academic ceremonies.

The Director demonstrates a customer service orientation and a readiness to assist all ceremony participants. Further, the Director guides all members of the Commencement Office to respond professionally to outreach and inquiries from the Northeastern community. In this way, the Director and members of the team positively contribute to the senior year experience and heighten their roles as conduits of information across the institution.

The ideal candidate brings five to seven years' experience of increasing responsibility in event planning for higher education, with a practical understanding of vendor management and negotiation. They are a self-starter with superior people skills and the ability to juggle many highly sensitive issues/tasks at once. They demonstrate creativity, pay extremely close attention to the details, and still maintain focus on strategic event goals. Excellent communications skills, written and verbal, and ability to motivate others is critical, as is the ability to problem-solve in the moment and think clearly under pressure.

  • Five to seven years of experience in program or project management, specifically with events customarily occurring in higher education.
  • High degree of independent initiative and innovation, negotiation, interpersonal and networking skills, and ability to build trust with keen communication skills.
  • Prioritizes, plans, coordinates, and directs multiple projects and activities with varied deadlines and brings agility and the ability to adjust course as needed.
  • Views projects and tasks through a strategic lens and with a future orientation.
  • Works calmly under pressure and collaboratively within a team.
  • Extraordinary organizational skills and superlative attention to detail.
  • Seeks opportunities for improvement and innovation.
  • Flexibility to work nights and weekends, and to travel locally and regionally primarily to explore venues and vendors.
  • Bachelor's Degree or equivalent work experience.

    Salary Grade:

    Northeastern University is an equal opportunity employer, seeking to recruit and support a broadly diverse community of faculty and staff. Northeastern values and celebrates diversity in all its forms and strives to foster an inclusive culture built on respect that affirms inter-group relations and builds cohesion.

    All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

    To learn more about Northeastern University's commitment and support of diversity and inclusion, please see

    To apply, visit


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