Speaking under a mammoth white canopy covering the podium--a new feature of Commencement--Valedictorian Andrew M. Neitzke '98, a mathematics major, recalled the Princeton superstition of never walking through FitzRandolph Gate before graduation, lest you not graduate with your class. But Neitzke admitted to having walked out the gate once and feared that lightning might strike him before the day was over.
The university conferred 1,730 bachelor and advanced degrees. There were 583 men and 527 women in the graduating senior class, of whom 46.3 percent received honors. Undergraduate degrees included 930 bachelors of arts and 180 bachelors of science in engineering (four members of earlier classes also received degrees). The university awarded 616 advanced degrees.
In his address to the graduates, President Shapiro characterized this moment in their lives as one marked by tension between a sense of accomplishment and anxiety about the future. Echoing the thoughts of two Irish poets, Shapiro said, "Your years at Princeton are now among the roots that will continue to whisper to you throughout your life, and because of your years here, each of you is no longer quite the same you." He also urged them to make service a central part of their lives. There are many ways to serve all nations, he observed, through family, institutions, workplaces, teaching, and public service. "In the end," he said, "it is a personal resolve to act that makes a difference."
Dean of the Faculty Joseph H. Taylor presented Distinguished Teaching awards to Angela Creager, an assistant professor of history; John G. Gager, Jr., the William H. Danforth Professor of Religion; J. Richard Gott III *73, a professor of astrophysical sciences; and Nai-Ying Yuan Tang, a lecturer in East Asian Studies.
At Class Day ceremonies on June 1, the university presented awards to seniors for outstanding athletic and academic achievements. The Harold Willis Dodds *14 Achievement Award, for the senior who best embodies the qualities of Princeton's 15th president, was given to chemistry major Anthony Cukras, a member of the Student Volunteers Council and a volunteer in the Princeton Medical Center emergency room. Sociology major Kevin Hudson won the Frederick Douglass Service Award, given for contributions to racial minorities. He was chairman of the Third World Center Governance Board and a minority affairs adviser.
The Allen Macy Dulles '51 Award, which honors the senior whose activities "best represent or exemplify Princeton in the nation's service and in the service of all nations," was shared by Hudson and Jessica Hulsey, an English major known nationally for her work combatting drug addiction. Jeffrey Siegel, a Woodrow Wilson School major who was president of the Undergraduate Student Government, was awarded the Class of 1901 Medal, for the senior who has done the most for Princeton.
Patricia Chi, an English major and class president for the last two years, won the W. Sanderson Detwiler '03 Prize, for the senior who has done the most for the class. The Priscilla Glickman '92 Memorial Prize, which recognizes community service, went to Stephanie Paffhouse, a chemistry major, and Pratik Shah, a chemical engineering major. Paffhouse, a coordinator at Community House for three years, worked with the YWCA to establish a program teaching English to local Latinos. Shah has been a Student Volunteers Council administrator for four years and an Urban Action leader.
The C. Otto von Kienbusch '06 Sportswoman of the Year Award went to Amy MacFarlane, a religion major who captained the field hockey team to two NCAA Final Four appearances, and Nicole Harrison, who majored in sociology and set school records in seven track events. The William Winston Roper '02 Trophy, the highest honor for a male athlete, was shared by Christian Ahrens, who led the heavyweight crew to a national championship; basketball center Steven Goodrich; and lacrosse attackman Jonathan Hess. All three majored in history. Jaclyn Schwenker, a psychology major and breaststroker on the women's swimming team, and Kemal Askar, a civil engineering major and member of the lightweight crew, won the Class of 1916 Cup as the varsity letter-winners with the highest academic standing.
At the Baccalaureate address, delivered May 31, the parents of Amy Harkin '98--U.S. Senator Tom Harkin and his wife, Ruth Harkin, senior vice-president at United Technologies Corporation--spoke of the importance of service. Graduates have a responsibility, said the Senator, to make a difference in people's lives. "We believe the greatest service is service to your family," he added. Ruth Harkin encouraged the women graduates to act as mentors to other women in the workplace.
--Kathryn Federici Greenwood