Princeton University
May 30, 2000

Latin Salutatory Oration (Translation)

Kenneth L. Shaitelman

Greetings President Shapiro, trustees, members of the faculty, parents, and students. Lest you think that I am non compos mentis, let me warn you from the outset that I have this compulsion to speak Latin. Please excuse me for this on this great occasion -- although I know that you all understand anyway what I am saying.*

First, let me recognize a number of people who have contributed immeasurably to the Princeton experience. There is our leader, President Shapiro, as well as the trustees of the university. We must also recognize the members of the faculty -- the professors and lecturers who work in fields such as Classics, ChemE, MolBio, and Woody Woo.* Finally, let us salute our parents, who, expecting a quid pro quo, have willingly shelled out inordinate sums of money to this rich -- I mean very great -- university.*

Now let me turn to the most important people here today -- the graduates. My friends and fellow students, I salute you in this new order of the ages. From start to finish, we have walked along a difficult, yet thrilling, path. Four years ago, many of us had our first taste of Princeton during Outdoor Action's Frosh Trip.* Unfortunately, several groups of campers had to endure a hurricane in Virginia. This year, another hurricane named Floyd came to visit us with a flood, as if reminding us that our time here at Princeton was almost up. The storm deprived us all of clean water and clean bodies for several days. Although we hated this, we are not likely to forget such memorable -- if smelly -- moments of our college experience many years down the road.*

In other ways as well, our years at Princeton were filled with excitement. As freshmen, we quickly became acclimated to the environment of the university, even learning its special jargon. Before Princeton, who knew about a WaRun, Hoagie Haven, or the Dinky?* As sophomores, we were the undisputed rulers of our residential colleges. During junior year, we began work in our departments, surviving the grind of papers and projects. And finally, who can forget senior year? Searching for jobs, applying to graduate schools, and of course, the magnum opus. Oh, the magnum opus!* Truly, we came, we saw, we conquered.*

Good heavens! Time does fly. Before I go, though, let me add one more thing. In his Ars Poetica, the Roman poet Horace writes: "The years as they come bring many agreeable things with them; as they go, they take many away." As we walk together through FitzRandolph Gate, I urge you to remember these wise words and cherish your days at Princeton, your alma mater. Whether you become a teacher, a doctor, a lawyer, or heaven forbid! an investment banker or consultant, you have the ability to do great things with your life. (Well, maybe not the investment bankers!)* Whatever you end up doing, aim for the stars, while at the same time keeping your feet on terra firma. And now and forever, my fellow students, hail and farewell.*