Princeton University holds 266th Commencement

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2,158 undergraduate and graduate students awarded degrees

Princeton University awarded degrees to 1,261 undergraduates in the Class of 2013, five from other classes and 892 graduate students at its 266th Commencement Tuesday, June 4.

The University also awarded honorary degrees to six individuals for their contributions to architecture, education, literature, the humanities, human rights, medicine and science: Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health; Lorraine Daston, executive director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, in Berlin, Germany; Frank Gehry, world-renowned architect; Toni Morrison, Nobel laureate and the Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities Emeritus at Princeton University; Shirley M. Tilghman, president of Princeton University; and Sakena Yacoobi, executive director of the Afghan Institute of Learning.

Tilghman, the 19th president of Princeton, presided over the exercises and addressed the graduates. About 10,000 students and guests attended the morning ceremony on the front lawn of historic Nassau Hall.

The valedictory oration was delivered by Aman Sinha from Ivyland, Pa., a mechanical and aerospace engineering major with certificates in applied and computational mathematics and applications of computing. Sinha twice received the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence, the George B. Wood Legacy Sophomore Prize, the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and shared the Class of 1939 Princeton Scholar Award. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, after graduation Sinha will study information engineering at the University of Cambridge on a Churchill Scholarship. In 2014, he will attend Stanford University on a Hertz Fellowship to pursue a doctorate in electrical engineering.

Amelia Bensch-Schaus, a classics major from Swarthmore, Pa., delivered the salutatory address. The University's oldest student honor, the address is traditionally given in Latin. The salutatory began as a serious, formal address during an era when the entire Commencement ceremony was conducted in Latin, and has evolved to become a farewell to Princeton campus life that often includes humorous tributes and recollections.

The new graduates, many of whom are not fluent in Latin, follow along using printed copies of the remarks. These include footnotes telling when to applaud (plaudite), laugh (ridete) and cheer (conclamate). Guests and other audience members do not have the annotated copies, a practice dictated by tradition because the salute is directed to the members of the class.

Bensch-Schaus has received the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence, and she spent her junior year studying classics at the University of Cambridge. After graduation, she will teach Latin for a year in the United Kingdom at the Sherborne School in Dorset before beginning graduate school.

Class of 2013 recognized at Commencement, by the numbers
625 men, 636 women
1,024 bachelor of arts
237 bachelor of science in engineering
1,261 total Class of 2013 undergraduate degrees
5 degrees awarded to graduates from former classes

(In addition, 10 degrees were awarded during the 2012-13 academic year to graduates of former classes who completed degree requirements earlier in the year.)

Class of 2013 honors recognized at Commencement
583 received honors (46.01 percent of the class)
45.94 percent of graduating men and 46.08 percent of graduating women
127 highest
194 high
262 honors

Total graduate degrees: 892

Graduate degrees for 2012-13 academic year
319 doctor of philosophy
399 master of arts
68 master in public affairs
25 master of science in engineering
24 master of architecture
20 master in public policy
31 master in finance
2 master of arts in Near Eastern studies
4 master of fine arts