A talented young man named Nicholas Johnson broke the university’s 250-year-old record by graduating as the first-ever black valedictorian of Princeton University in New Jersey, United States.
Nicholas Johnson was named valedictorian and received a Bachelor’s degree in operations research and financial engineering from the esteemed Ivy League institution.
He hailed his accomplishment as empowering and noted that he holds a distinct place in school history as the first-ever black valedictorian. “It makes me feel strong. Given Princeton’s historical ties to the institution of slavery, being the school’s first Black valedictorian bears special significance for me, Nicholas Johnson told CNN.
Nicholas Johnson worked as an intern at Google, Oxford University, and the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms while he was a student at the university. He also served as co-president of Engineers Without Borders.
Johnson talked about his time in school and said that his favorite memories are the ones he has with his buddies.
Johnson stated, “My favorite memories of my time at Princeton are memories of time spent with close friends and classmates engaging in stimulating discussions — often late at night — about our beliefs, the cultures and environments in which we were raised, the state of the world, and how we plan on positively impacting it in our particular way.
Due to a number of constraints at the time, Johnson’s 2020 set was given a virtual commencement ceremony. Nicholas Johnson, the valedictorian of his graduating class, spoke at a new physical commencement ceremony that Princeton University organized in 2022.
He emphasized the necessity for himself and his colleagues to develop into outstanding leaders in his address. We are the first graduating Princeton class to have not one, but two commencement ceremonies, and it is a great honor for me to address you as your valedictorian for the second time, he remarked.
“Leaders who have the guts to empathize with and listen to those whose opinions differ from their own are sorely needed in the world. leaders who are willing to dedicate themselves to the quest for knowledge. I think the Great Class of 2020 consists of such leaders.
“My wish for us all when we enter the world is that we dedicate ourselves to the search for knowledge. In order for us to fully realize our aim to bring value to the world, this is not only something we should do but also something we must do.
Young black students should be motivated by Nicholas Johson’s success to work hard for a bright future. He remarked, “I hope that this accomplishment encourages and stimulates future black kids, especially those interested in STEM disciplines.
Before starting his doctoral operations research studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Johnson intends to spend this summer interning as a hybrid quantitative researcher and software developer at the D. E. Shaw Group (MIT).
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