2005 Latin Salutatory Oration
Graham E. PhillipsGiven at the Academic Assembly in Princeton
On the Thirty-first of May
The Year of our Salvation 2005
The Year of our University 258
I speak to you today in Latin not because of any madness—I am compos mentis—but because it is an ancient tradition dating back to the Roman conquest of Princeton. Few people know that the Romans once captured Princeton, but as a history major I can assure you it’s true. Check Tacitus, it’s somewhere in the back. But the Romans left long ago and now all that remains is this address ... and Hoagie Haven, which has offered affordable sandwiches for nearly 2,000 years.
First, I salute you, President Tilghman, our fearless leader. I salute you as well, trustees, prudent stewards of the University. We students are deeply indebted to you, the faculty, truly the foundation of our ivy-covered edifice of education. You cast away the shadows of ignorance, you nurture young minds with the fruit of knowledge, and—most importantly—you write our letters of recommendation.
None of us would be here today without the help of our parents. We thank you for all your support. We thank you also for not inquiring too closely about what we do on Prospect Avenue: what happens in Princeton stays in Princeton.
Finally, I salute you, fellow members of the great class of 2005. In four years we have worked hard, played hard, and made friends who will last a lifetime. Now we have finished our exams and our magnum opus; all that remains is to walk out FitzRandolph Gate toward future success. But in the years ahead do not forget Princeton, our alma mater. Do not forget your real mother, either, unless you like nagging phone calls.
Friends, hail and farewell.