Princeton University holds 267th Commencement
Posted June 3, 2014; 12:30 p.m.
Princeton University awarded degrees to 1,244 undergraduates in the Class of 2014, seven from other classes and 996 graduate students at its 267th Commencement Tuesday, June 3.
The University also conferred honorary doctoral degrees upon five people for their contributions to human rights, public life, business, the humanities, education and engineering: Fazle Hasan Abed, the founder and chair of BRAC (formerly the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee), the largest nongovernment development organization in the world; Madeleine K. Albright, who served as U.S. secretary of state from 1997 to 2001; Herb Kelleher, the co-founder and retired chairman, president and CEO of Southwest Airlines; James McPherson, pre-eminent Civil War scholar and the George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of History, Emeritus, at Princeton; and James West, an inventor, engineer and educator who holds more than 250 patents and is a dedicated advocate for increasing diversity in the fields of science and technology.
President Christopher L. Eisgruber, the 20th president of Princeton, presided over the exercises and addressed the graduates. About 10,000 students and guests attended the morning ceremony on the front lawn of historic Nassau Hall.
The valedictory oration was delivered by Katherine Pogrebniak from Jacksonville, Florida, a computer science major with a certificate in engineering biology. Pogrebniak, who enrolled at Princeton at the age of 16, is a two-time winner of the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence, a recipient of the Princeton Accenture Prize for Computer Science and co-winner of the Class of 1939 Scholar Award, which is given to the student with the highest academic standing at the end of their junior year. She is a member of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society, and Phi Beta Kappa. Pogrebniak will attend the University of Cambridge as a Churchill Scholar in the fall and plans to obtain a master's degree in computational biology. After that, she intends to pursue a medical degree and a doctorate at Stanford University.
Alexander Iriza, a mathemathics major from Astoria, New York, with certificates in applied and computational mathematics, and applications of computing, delivered the salutatory address. The address, which is the University's oldest student honor and is traditionally given in Latin, began as a serious, formal address during an era when the entire Commencement ceremony was conducted in Latin. It has evolved to become a farewell to Princeton campus life that often includes humorous tributes and recollections.
The new graduates, many of whom are not fluent in Latin, follow along using printed copies of the remarks. These include footnotes telling when to applaud (plaudite), laugh (ridete) and cheer (conclamate). Guests and other audience members do not have the annotated copies, a practice dictated by tradition because the salute is directed to the members of the class.
Iriza has received the Andrew H. Brown Prize as the outstanding junior in mathematics, the Manfred Pyka Memorial Prize in Physics and the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence twice. Named to Phi Beta Kappa last fall, he was also a co-winner of the Class of 1939 Princeton Scholar Award with Pogrebniak. After graduation, Iriza will spend the summer as a software development intern and will return to Princeton in the fall to purse a master's in computer science.
Class of 2014 recognized at Commencement, by the numbers
626 men, 618 women
1,021 bachelor of arts
223 bachelor of science in engineering
1,244 total Class of 2014 undergraduate degrees
(In addition, 16 degrees were awarded during the 2013-14 academic year to graduates of former classes who completed degree requirements earlier in the year.)
Class of 2014 honors recognized at Commencement
563 received honors (45.04 percent of the class)
45.07 percent of graduating men and 45 percent of graduating women
Total graduate degrees: 996