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For immediate release: June 1, 2004
Media contact: Patricia Allen, (609) 258-6108, pallen@princeton.edu

Editors: Photos are available at: http://www.princeton.edu/pr/news/04/q2/commt04/index.html

Princeton University holds 257th Commencement
1,790 students awarded degrees

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Princeton University awarded degrees to 1,104 undergraduates and 686 graduate students at its 257th Commencement today. In addition, the University conferred honorary doctoral degrees upon five individuals for their contributions in the fields of education, science, arts and humanities, philanthropy and civil rights.

President Shirley M. Tilghman, the 19th president of Princeton, presided over the exercises and addressed graduates. Approximately 8,000 guests attended the morning ceremony on the front lawn of historic Nassau Hall.

The valedictory oration was delivered by Ruth Tennen, a molecular biology major from Collinsville, Conn. Tennen, who graduated in the top of her class and is the recipient of numerous honors for exceptional academic achievement, is headed to Stanford University's Ph.D. program in cancer biology.

Salutatorian Brian Tsang, a computer science major, delivered the salutatory address, which at Princeton is traditionally given in Latin. The tradition dates back to an era when the entire ceremony was conducted in Latin. The Latin Salutatory, Princeton's oldest student honor, began as a serious, formal address, but today it often contains humorous tributes, recollections and a farewell to Princeton campus life.

Because few students today know Latin, the new graduates follow along using printed copies of the remarks, complete with footnotes telling them when to applaud (plaudite), laugh (ridete) and shout (vociferate). Guests and other audience members do not have the annotated copies as tradition dictates since the salute is directed to the members of the class.

Tsang, who is from Ellicott City, Md., took four semesters of Latin while at Princeton. He plans to work at Microsoft next year before deciding whether to return to school for an advanced degree.

Class of 2004 By the Numbers:
535 men, 565 women
934 bachelor of arts
166 bachelor of science in engineering
1,100 total class of 2004 undergraduate degrees awarded
4 degrees were awarded to graduates from earlier classes

Class of 2004 Honors:
475 received honors (43.2 percent of the class)
41.9 percent of men and 44.4 percent of women
106 highest
162 high
207 honors

Graduate Degrees:
282 doctors of philosophy
248 master of arts
58 master in public affairs
24 master in architecture
20 master of engineering
18 master of science in engineering
15 master in public policy
9 master in finance
8 master in public affairs and urban and regional planning
3 master in Near Eastern studies
1 master of fine arts

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