2008 Latin Salutatory Oration

Delivered in Latin by James Morrison
(English translation)

Given in the Academic Assembly of Princeton
In New Jersey on the Third of June
In the Year 2008
In the 261st Academic Year

My fellow students, it is my pleasure to address you in Latin, the hallowed tongue that is the privilege of the well-educated; thus, let us all show off our erudition!  In choosing a proper quote for this momentous occasion, I am reminded of those most-famous words of the poet Horace: carpe diem. Orators often use these words to speak about the future, exhorting us to lead lives that are filled with success, happiness and generosity. But at this moment, I would like instead to look to the past and thank the men and women who have allowed us to "seize" these four years at Princeton.

First, I salute you, President Tilghman, who not only leads our University but also finds time to teach us biology. Is it strange to alternate between weighty affairs of state and the birth of the fruit fly?  Let us also thank the trustees, whose efforts guarantee the present and future health of our University.

Next, I salute our professors, who have shared with us the secrets of the arts and sciences and who have graciously involved us in their research.  I would especially like to thank the professors of chemical engineering and classics, who have jointly nominated me for this honor. Perhaps this foreshadows some collaboration between the two departments, though on what I have no clue!  May all our professors know how much we appreciate their efforts, and may they be inspired to bestow on future students the gift of knowledge.

I would also like to thank the directors and coaches through whose efforts Princeton is filled with music, dance, theater and athletics.  Because of them, we have not only acquired knowledge during our four years here, but have also lived a balanced life.

Finally, I salute our parents, relatives and friends, without whose infinite love and support none of us would be here today.  The parents especially deserve our gratitude on this day, for Princeton is hardly free -- although the Nassoons may sing otherwise.  But let me assure them that their money is well-spent, and that we have flourished here with their help.

Now I return to you, my fellow students. Remembering these many gifts, let us thus go forth to seize the day. Let us lead happy and rich lives, and may we do good for this nation and all nations.

Hail and farewell.