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2010 Latin Salutatory Oration

2010 Latin Salutatory Oration
Marguerite Colson
(English translation from text delivered in Latin)

Given in the Academic Assembly of Princeton
In New Jersey on the First of June
In the Year 2010
In the 263rd Academic Year

Congratulations, class of 2010 -- Princeton's proudest achievement!

First, I salute you, President Tilghman, fiercest foe of inflated grades, fraternities and binge drinking. I salute you, the trustees, for your governance, and you, the faculty, for your wisdom and for your love of assigning papers during mid-term week. Parents, I salute as well. Your kids are real nerds, and judging from the bumper stickers on your cars, I see you've embraced that. Once, I asked for an iPod for Christmas. Instead I received "Latin Quips at Your Fingertips." Well, carpe donum and thank you, Mom and Dad, who encouraged me to pursue a language that will be of great help if ever I'm looking for a job in the Vatican.

Now classmates, I salute you and remind you that you did not come here for useful majors or practical educations. Here at Princeton, we celebrate traditions that have continued for centuries. This address, which, 20 of you understand, has been given since 1748. The honor code has struck fear in ours hearts since 1893. Although steeped in customs, we're not bound by them. Rather we build on them. For example, I doubt the original beer jacket of 1912 was designed to hold 24 Coors Lights. And let us remember that our class government legalized a tradition that's as old as Princeton itself: co-ed cohabitation. Future classes, you're welcome.

At the outset of our freshman year, President Tilghman, you told our class, "Past is not prelude." Looking to the past we find not inflexible precedents or prerequisites, but opportunities to transform the institutions we hold dear and to create new traditions to carry us into the future. Your five-point plan for success urged us to follow our passions, to explore new areas of knowledge, to pace ourselves, to serve others and to have fun. Alas, fun is hard to come by in those days before your thesis deadline when you are locked in a subterranean carrel, surviving on Twizzlers, NoDoz and Four Loko. Nonetheless, we did have fun, the kind of fun that made you wonder what sort of crazyman considers 11 a.m. an acceptable time to begin a lecture or calls Friday part of the school week. President Tilghman, to your five points I would add a sixth. Or Ezra Pound would add it: "Make it new" -- which, Pound insisted, was impossible without an understanding and appreciation of the old. Eo Ipso, Princetonians, as you go forth, see, conquer and imbibe, may you be always faithful to the traditions your success is built upon. Remember, though, to make them new and to make them you.

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