Salutatory oration in Latin by Grace Sommers (with English translation) for virtual Commencement ceremony on Sunday, March 31, 2020
Habita in Comitiis Aetheriis Academicis Princetoniae
In Nova Caesarea pridie Kal. Iun.
Anno Academiae CCLXXIII
“quid Princetoniae faciamus?” hoc saepe per annos praeteritos in mente volvebamus. alii de nostro numero librum laudare et interpretari didicerent; alii motus astrorum intellegunt; alii fortasse viscera bestiarum inspexerunt. quibus hominibus praeclaris haec omnia debemus?
tibi imprimis, Praeses Eisgruber, quo gubernante et Scyllam pestilentiae coronatae et Charybdin doctrinae aetheriae experti sumus, salutem gratiasque ago. vobis, curatores, professores sapientes, dextram meam porrigo, per amīcitiam prensura. gratias ago et familiaribus, praesertim parentibus: "nos baccalaurei futuri vos salutamus.“
una igitur surreximus, ordo anni bis millesimi vicesimi, studio communi in scientia coniuncti! nos ultimi diem decani post dies festos passi sumus. per quattuor annos turbulentissimos progressi sumus, dum mores diversos inter nos communicamus, nec non novos instituimus.
quid, ergo, Princetoniae faciamus? rogare malim quid ultra fīnes academiae facere debeamus. vos hortor, amici carissimi, ut memineritis Universitatem cum nobis remansuram quocumque eamus. per memoriam Universitatis Princetoniensis aeternae, hunc diem celebremus!
Given in the virtual Academic Assembly of Princeton University
In New Jersey on the 31st of May
In the year 2020
In the 273rd Year of the University
What are we to do at Princeton? Often we contemplated this matter in the past years. Some of us have learned to praise and interpret a book; others of us understand the motion of stars; others, perhaps, have inspected the entrails of beasts. To what distinguished individuals do we owe these experiences?
To you, President Eisgruber, with whom as helmsman we have endured the Scylla of the coronavirus and the Charybdis of virtual instruction, I give greetings and thanks. To you, trustees, wise professors, I extend my right hand, as one about to grasp yours through friendship. I give thanks to the relatives, above all to the parents: "We who are about to graduate salute you."
And so we have risen together, Class of 2020, joined with a common zeal for knowledge. We were the last to suffer Dean’s Date after the holidays. We have advanced through four very turbulent years, as we shared our diverse customs and established new ones.
What, therefore, are we to do at Princeton? I prefer to ask what we should do beyond the academy. I urge you to recall, dearest friends, that the University stays with us wherever we may go. In the memory of eternal Princeton University, let us celebrate this day!