Some good news during these absolutely trying times, Princeton has announced that it will have its first Black valedictorian in the school’s 274-year history.
The prestigious university made the announcement that Montreal native, Nicholas Johnson was named the valedictorian of the class of 2020. The decision marks the first time Princeton will have a Black person who will hold the highest academic achievement in the school, which has a checkered past when it comes to slavery.
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Congratulations to Nicholas Johnson, named valedictorian and Grace Sommers, named Latin salutatorian for #Princeton20! 👏 Nicholas Johnson ’20 Hometown: Montréal, Québec Major: Operations Research and Financial Engineering Certificates: Statistics and Machine Learning, Applied and Computational Mathematics, and Applications of Computing Residential College: @whitmanatprinceton Thesis: “Sequential Stochastic Network Structure Optimization with Applications to Addressing Canada’s Obesity Epidemic” Post-grad plans: Johnson begins Ph.D. studies in operations research at @MITpics. “My favorite memories of my time at #PrincetonU are [those] spent with close friends and classmates engaging in stimulating discussions – often late at night – about our beliefs, the cultures and environments in which we were raised, the state of the world and how we plan on contributing positively to it in our own unique way." Grace Sommers ’20 Hometown: Bridgewater, NJ Major: Physics Certificates: Applications of Computing, Applied and Computational Mathematics, Ancient Roman Language and Culture Residential College: @butlercollegeprinceton Thesis: “Order and Disorder in a New Class of Spin Systems” Post-grad plans: Sommers begins Ph.D. studies in physics right here at #PrincetonU. “In addition to the joy of learning the material … the approachability of my professors, both as advisers and as instructors, has been a highlight of my learning experience … I’ve enjoyed having thought-provoking conversations with my professors and classmates." Johnson and Sommers will participate in the 2020 virtual commencement on May 31, 2020. Congrats to Nicholas and Grace!
Johnson is well aware of Princeton’s history and spoke becoming the predominately white university’s first Black valedictorian, a decision which stunned him when he first found out.
“My favorite memories of my time at Princeton are memories of time spent with close friends and classmates engaging in stimulating discussions — often late at night — about our beliefs, the cultures and environments in which we were raised, the state of the world, and how we plan on contributing positively to it in our own unique way.”
Princeton’s commencement ceremony will be virtual due to COVID-19 and will be held on Sunday, May 31, 2020. Johnson will be in attendance.
Photo: Lisa Festa, Center for Career Development / Nicholas Johnson/Princeton
Clap For Him: It Only Took 274 Years, But Princeton Finally Has Its First Black Valedictorian was originally published on hiphopwired.com