Tilghman urges graduates to carry on 'the spirit of Princeton'

Princeton NJ -- Recalling the dedication to public service of Princeton alumni -- from founders of the nation to leaders of the Human Genome Project -- President Tilghman urged the class of 2002 to remember that their education and experiences at Princeton carry with them a responsibility to work for the common good.

The front lawn of Nassau Hall was a sea of mortar boards during commencement exercises June 4. For more photos of end of the academic year activities, see page 4.


"As you walk through FitzRandolph Gateway today, I hope that you will take with you not only the lessons learned in classrooms and the life-long friendships that you formed, but also the strong values of leadership, intellectual rigor and, most especially, civic duty that you have embraced in your time on this campus," Tilghman said during the University's 255th commencement on June 4 on the front lawn of Nassau Hall.

It was Tilghman's first commencement as Princeton's president. The University awarded degrees to 1,091 undergraduates and 611 graduate students. It also presented honorary degrees to eight individuals who have made significant contributions in the sciences, arts and humanities: scientist and physician Anthony Fauci, acclaimed minister James A. Forbes Jr., radio host Terry Gross, professor and historian Bernard Lewis, Oxford University Vice Chancellor Colin Lucas, playwright and director Emily Mann, baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. and actress and television host Oprah Winfrey.

Lillian Pierce, a mathematics major and accomplished musician who will study at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar next fall, gave the valedictory address. She observed that being willing to play with knowledge and ideas is an important part of making intellectual advances and achieving goals.

"All of us are beginning the longest sustained effort of all: our adult lives," Pierce said. "I believe that engaging in this kind of exploratory thought laced with humor will be perpetually helpful."

The salutatorian was classics major Josephine Dru, who addressed her classmates and their guests in Latin -- a vestige from the days when the entire commencement ceremony was conducted in that language.

As it does each year, Princeton honored excellence in teaching at the commencement ceremony. Four Princeton faculty members received President's Awards for Distinguished Teaching (see story on page 5). Four outstanding secondary school teachers from across New Jersey also were recognized for their work.

Other honors for the new graduates were presented over the last few days of the academic year. Seniors were recognized at Class Day ceremonies June 3, and the Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni honored four graduate students for excellence in leading precepts.

Tilghman concluded her remarks at commencement by quoting from Woodrow Wilson's last address to the senior class before he left the Princeton presidency for the presidency of the United States: "He spoke to the senior class about what he himself had found on this campus. 'There is a sense,' he said, 'a very real sense, not mystical but plain fact of experience, in which the spirit of truth, of knowledge, of hope, of revelation dwells in a place like this.'

"I urge you to take Wilson's words to heart," she said. "Carry forward the spirit of Princeton and all this place has aspired to teach you -- the exuberance that comes from learning and discovery, the courage to stand up for what you believe and for the rights of all, the compassion to care for others less fortunate, the imagination to follow the unexplored path and the freedom to dream."

Related articles
Commencement highlights on Web
Photos from Commencement 2002


June 17, 2002
Vol. 92, No. 29
previous   archives   next


Commencement 2002
Tilghman urges graduates to carry on 'the spirit of Princeton'
Four faculty members recognized for their outstanding teaching
Commencement highlights on Web
Photographs from Commencement 2002
By the numbers: Commencement 2002

Spence gift creates Ludwig endowment
University libraries have designs on the future

Study tracks death of iguanas in the Galapagos
$7.5 million funds work in 'organic' electronics
Students take challenging class assignment to the wall
Scholars go to the schools to teach science

Faculty news
Malkiel, Taylor reappointed
Faculty members named to endowed chairs
Board approves promotions
New faculty members appointed
Twelve faculty members transfer to emeritus status

People, spotlight
People, briefs
Calendar of events

The Bulletin is published weekly during the academic year, except during University breaks and exam weeks, by the Office of Communications. Second class postage paid at Princeton. Permission is given to adapt, reprint or excerpt material from the Bulletin for use in other media.

Deadline. In general, the copy deadline for each issue is the Friday 10 days in advance of the Monday cover date. The deadline for the Bulletin that covers Sept. 9&endash;15 is Friday, Aug. 30. A complete publication schedule is available at deadlines or by calling (609) 258-3601.

Subscriptions. The Bulletin is distributed free to faculty, staff and students. Others may subscribe to the Bulletin for $14 for the spring term (half price for current Princeton parents and people over 65). Send a check to Office of Communications, Stanhope Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544.

Editor: Ruth Stevens
Calendar editor: Carolyn Geller
Staff writers: Jennifer Greenstein Altmann, Steven Schultz
Contributing writers: Marilyn Marks, Evelyn Tu, Vanessa Wills
Photographer: Denise Applewhite
Design: Mahlon Lovett, Laurel Masten Cantor, Megan Peterson
Web edition: Mahlon Lovett