Princeton University Will Have Its First Black Valedictorian
For the first time in Princeton University history, a black male has been named the school's valedictorian. The university has been around for 274 years, and Nicholas Johnson has officially made history. This is a huge step in the right direction for the school, which in recent years has had to confront its troubled history with slavery.
According to Princeton University's new release, Johnson majored in operation and financial engineering. In addition to that, he also pursued certificates in statistics and machine learning, applied and computational mathematics, and applications of computing.
According to Baller Alert, for his senior thesis, Johnson put together a community-involved preventative health intervention about reducing obesity in Canada using high-performance algorithms. Not only that, but he also wrote about how to help impose strict social distancing rules to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Becoming Princeton's very first black valedictorian came as a shock to Johnson. “Being Princeton’s first black valedictorian is very empowering, especially given its historical ties to the institution of slavery,” Johnson told the NY Times.
Princeton University is a predominantly white school and at 22 years old, Johnson took it upon himself to not only stand out but be a strong leader among his peers.
When addressing the institution's ties to slavery he added, “They’ve taken very deliberate steps to reconcile things.” He also hopes that he can serve as an inspiration to all of the black students that come after him, the NY Times reports.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Princeton's graduation ceremony will be held virtually on May 31. According to the New York Times, the school hopes to host an in-person ceremony for the Class of 2020 next spring.