Princeton University holds 270th Commencement

June 6, 2017 12:38 p.m.
Commencement 2017 graduates

President Christopher L. Eisgruber, the 20th president of Princeton, presided over the University’s 270th Commencement on Tuesday, June 6, on the front lawn of Nassau Hall.

Princeton University awarded degrees to 1,268 undergraduates in the Class of 2017, three from former classes and 520 graduate students at its 270th Commencement Tuesday, June 6.

The University also awarded honorary degrees to five individuals for their contributions to athletics, education, the humanities, public service and the sciences: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, basketball star, writer and social activist; Juliet Villarreal García, a pioneer in higher education; Pamela Matson, an academic leader in environmental sciences; Jeremiah Ostriker, a Princeton astrophysicist who served the University in a range of roles; and Bunker Roy, a grassroots educator and social entrepreneur in India.

President Christopher L. Eisgruber, the 20th 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.

Jin Yun Chow, a comparative literature major from Hong Kong, delivered the valedictory oration. Chow was awarded the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence her freshman and sophomore years. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in fall 2016.

Chow will spend the summer in Hong Kong, designing a humanities curriculum for an education center as well as teaching at a summer camp that helps Mainland-Chinese immigrant children adapt to the local school environment.

She will then pursue a Ph.D. in comparative literature at Stanford University, where she plans to study digital humanities and European-Chinese literary relations.

Grant Storey, who received a B.S.E. in computer science and a certificate in Roman language and culture, delivered the salutatory address. The address, which is the University’s oldest student honor and is traditionally given in Latin, began as a serious, formal address during an era when the entire Commencement ceremony was conducted in Latin. It has evolved to become a farewell to Princeton campus life that often includes humorous tributes and recollections.

The new graduates 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.

Storey was awarded the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence his freshman and sophomore years and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa last fall. He received a Best Poster Award for his junior independent project and is a member of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society. After graduation, Storey will pursue a master’s degree in computer science at Cornell University.

Class of 2017 recognized at Commencement, by the numbers
• 640 men, 628 women
• 960 Bachelor of Arts
• 308 Bachelor of Science in Engineering
• 1,268 total Class of 2017 undergraduate degrees
• 3 degrees to members of previous classes who completed degree requirements during the 2016-17 academic year. (In previous months, 9 degrees were awarded to graduates of former classes who completed degree requirements earlier in the year.)

Class of 2017 honors recognized at Commencement
• 612 received honors (48.26 percent of the class)
• 49.84 percent of graduating women and 46.72 percent of graduating men
• 172 highest honors
• 197 high honors
• 243 honors

Total graduate degrees: 520

Graduate degrees for 2016-17 academic year
• 358 Doctor of Philosophy
• 69 Master in Public Affairs
• 23 Master in Finance
• 22 Master in Public Policy
• 21 Master of Architecture
• 13 Master of Science in Engineering
• 12 Master of Engineering; and
• 2 Master of Arts in Near Eastern Studies