July 3, 2002: Features

Commencement 2000

Photographs by Ricardo Barros

The last time bodyguards were prominent at commencement was six years ago, when President Bill Clinton spoke at the ceremony. On June 4, they appeared again, but this time they protected TV talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, one of eight honorary degree recipients. Of all the distinguished speakers and honorees at Princeton’s 255th commencement, Winfrey and fellow honorary degree recipient Cal Ripken, Jr., baseball’s iron man, received the loudest applause. Oprah wasn’t the only Hollywood visitor to campus — actor (and Yalie) Harry Hamlin cheered his son, Dimitri ’02, who earned a degree in philosophy.

Despite the bit of glitz, the ceremony was rich with pomp and tradition as 1,702 robed students, undergraduates and graduates, processed through FitzRandolph Gate to the beautiful sounds of the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia.

In her first commencement as president, Shirley Tilghman conferred degrees on 886 bachelors of arts and 202 bachelors of science in engineering in the Class of 2002, and upon three graduates of earlier Princeton classes. She also conferred 611 advanced degrees. In her address, Tilghman urged the day’s graduates to continue in the Princeton tradition of serving other people around the world at a time when, she said, the future “is at one and the same time highly perilous and wonderfully promising.”

“You bear responsibility,” she said. “But such responsibility can be a wonderful source of happiness and satisfaction, and the call to serve others can take many forms.” Tilghman described the work of several alumni who have toiled for a better world: Rajiv Vinnakota ’93, who founded the nation’s first urban public boarding school; Sheryl WuDunn *88, a Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent for the New York Times; and Eric Lander ’78 and Robert Waterston ’65, who led the effort to sequence the human genome, convincing scientists for the first time to collaborate, not compete.

In concluding, Tilghman encouraged the new graduates to “carry forward the spirit of Princeton and all this place has aspired to teach you — the exuberance that comes from learning and discovery, the courage to stand up for what you believe and the courage to stand up for the rights of all, the compassion to care for others less fortunate, the imagination to follow the unexplored path, and the freedom to dream.”

By K.F.G.

President Tilghman

Mike Whelpley, left, and Stefania Vanin

Katie Collins waves to family and friends as the senior procession makes its way around Nassau Green.


Salutatorian Josephine Dru

Valedictorian Lillian Pierce

Salutatorian Josephine Dru, a classics scholar, addressed her classmates in Latin, a vestige of the days when the entire ceremony was conducted in that language. She offered a prayer, thanking God for President Tilghman, for their parents and professors, and for her classmates. Finally, she asked “for ourselves and our alma mater: Under your divine will may all of us flourish.”

Valedictorian Lillian Pierce, who will study mathematics as a Rhodes Scholar next fall, waxed humble and grateful. “I’m far too young to be learned,” said Pierce, who followed in the footsteps of her brother Niles ’93, who was also valedictorian. At Princeton, she said, she and her friends and professors “engage continually in intellectual exchanges, which are fundamentally based on playfulness, a kind of informed silliness.” Pierce called that playfulness a source of “energy and curiosity that have allowed me to engage in the sustained effort of these four years at Princeton.”


From left, graduates and one-time football teammates Jim Harris, Darren Marco, Rob Barrabee, and Chris Roser-Jones look pensive.

Andrew Kossow '02 earned a master's of architecture and a hood.

Members of the Class of 2002 sing their first chorus of “Old Nassau” as alumni.

From left, Adamma Mba-Jonas, Noel Larson, Marco McClees, and Alex Peretsman

Class Day 2002

“Leadership is nothing more than knowing what to do, and then doing it,” former Secretary of State and of Treasury James A. Baker, III ’52 told members of the graduating class during his June 3 Class Day speech. Looking out onto a sun-splashed Cannon Green filled with black-and-orange-clad seniors and their families, Baker worked his way through the Cold War, September 11, and the new war on terrorism, telling the soon-to-be graduates that his generation and now theirs have learned that “peace and prosperity are not cost-free commodities.” Baker, who recently donated the papers of his long career in politics and public service to Princeton, received an enthusiastic ovation as he donned his new Class of 2002 jacket, joining the class ranks as an honorary member.

The naming of another honorary class member drew an emotional response, when Christina Weiner, twin sister of Matthew Weiner ’02, who died of a heart attack his freshman year, was given a class jacket and made an honorary graduate.

Award winners

The Class Day Awards honor student service and achievement.

The Class of 1901 Medal, for the senior who has “done the most for Princeton,” went to Joseph Kochan of Liverpool, New York, who was president of the Undergraduate Student Government.

The W. Sanderson Detwiler 1903 Prize, for the senior who has “done the most for the class,” went to class president Spencer Miller of Scottsdale, Arizona.

The Harold Willis Dodds Achievement Award, for the senior who best embodies the qualities of Princeton’s 15th president, went to Laura Kaplan of Ridgefield, Connecticut, chair of the Student Volunteers Council.

The Frederick Douglass Service Award was given to twin sisters Maisha and Nuriya Robinson from Memphis, Tennessee.

The Allen Macy Dulles ’51 Award for service went to Michael Martinez of Edinburg, Texas.

The Priscilla Glickman ’92 Memorial Prize for independence and imagination in the area of community service went to Renu Ouseph from Bedford, Texas.

The Princeton Varsity Club Award for special achievement by a Princeton athlete went to Tora Harris of College Park, Georgia, the 2002 NCAA champion in the high jump.

The Class of 1916 Cup for the varsity letter winner with the highest academic standing went to soccer player Peter Kingston of Moorestown, New Jersey.

The William Roper Trophy, for a senior athlete of high scholastic rank and outstanding qualities of sportsmanship, went to soccer player Matthew Behncke of Williamsburg, Virginia.

The Otto von Kienbusch Sportswoman of the Year Award, for a senior female athlete of high scholastic rank and outstanding sportsmanship, was shared by softball player Brie Galicinao from Stockton, California, lacrosse player Lauren Simone from Delran, New Jersey, and track runner Lauren Simmons from Nashville, Tennessee.

The Arthur Lane ’34 Citizen Athlete Award, given by the Princeton Varsity Club to honor selfless contribution to sport and society, was shared by track runner Catherine Casey from Maplewood, New Jersey, soccer player Jessica Collins of Trenton, New Jersey, diver Mary Mulcare of Greenwich, Connecticut, and Peter Kingston.

NCAA high-jump champion (above) and collegiate record-holder Tora Harris ’02 was a Class Day award winner.

From left, Emily Mann, Colin Lucas, Bernard Lewis, Oprah Winfrey, Terry Gross, James A. Forbes, Jr., Shirley Tilghman, Anthony S. Fauci, and Cal Ripken, Jr.

Honorary degree recipients

Anthony S. Fauci, Doctor of Science
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health and renowned research scientist

James A. Forbes, Jr., Doctor of Divinity
Senior minister of the Riverside Church in New York City, former faculty member of the Union Theological Seminary, former cochair of A Partnership of Faith, and consultant to the Congress of National Black Churches

Terry Gross, Doctor of Humanities
Host of National Public Radio program “Fresh Air”

Bernard Lewis, Doctor of Humane Letters
Cleveland Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies, emeritus, Princeton University, and author of, among other works, The Political Language of Islam, Islam and the West, and Cultures in Conflict

Colin Lucas, Doctor of Laws
Vice-chancellor of the University of Oxford and specialist in 18th-century French history

Emily Mann, Doctor of Fine Arts
Award-winning playwright and director, author of Still Life and Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years, and artistic director of McCarter Theatre

Cal Ripken, Jr., Doctor of Humanities
All-star infielder for the Baltimore Orioles and holder of Major League Baseball’s all-time record for consecutive games played at 2,632; founder of the Kelly and Cal Ripken, Jr. Foundation, which supports adult and family literacy, youth recreation, the arts, and health-related programs in the Baltimore area

Oprah Gail Winfrey, Doctor of Fine Arts
Talk-show host, film producer, actress, publisher, television icon, and philanthropist


Be brave, be helpful

Photo by frank wojciechowski

A life worth living is all about risk, and don’t be afraid to take one. That was the message university trustee Meg Whitman ’77, CEO of the online auction house eBay, delivered to the Class of 2002 at this year’s Baccalaureate. She also stressed the importance of participating in community and spending time and money in service to others. Whitman and her husband recently pledged $30 million to help build a sixth residential college to be called Whitman College.


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