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For immediate release: June 5, 2001

Contact: Marilyn Marks (609) 258-3601,

Old and new members of Class of 2001 honored at Class Day

Princeton, N.J. -- Members of the Class of 2001 celebrated their passage from undergraduates to alumni Monday in a ceremony that honored their achievements and featured inspiring and funny reflections of their Princeton experiences.

The class also welcomed four honorary members: outgoing University president Harold T. Shapiro, incoming president Shirley Tilghman, comedian Bill Cosby, who spoke at the ceremony, and retired New York State Supreme Court Justice Bruce Wright, who was admitted to Princeton in 1935 but was told he would not be welcome when he arrived and it was discovered that he was African-American. He never attended.

Academic and Service Awards

The Class Day awards honored students for outstanding academic and athletic accomplishments as well as for their service to the community.

The Class of 1901 Medal, recognizing the senior who "in the judgment of the students' classmates, has done the most for Princeton" went to P.J. Kim of Wyomissing, Pa. who served as president of the Undergraduate Student Government.

The W. Sanderson Detwiler 1903 Prize for the senior who "in the judgment of the students' classmates, has done the most for the class" went to Justin Browne of Dunwoody, Ga. who is president of the senior class.

Aime Scott of Ferndale, Md. and John Dabiri of Toledo, Ohio shared the Harold Willis Dodds Award, which is given to the senior who best embodies the example set by the 15th president of Princeton, "particularly in the qualities of clear thinking, moral courage, a patient and judicious regard for the opinion of others and a thoroughgoing devotion to the welfare of the University and the life of the mind."

The Frederick Douglass Service Award was given to Theodore Nemeroff of Bethesda. Md. and P.J. Kim. The award recognizes seniors who have exhibited "courage, leadership, intellectual achievement and a willingness to contribute unselfishly towards a deeper understanding of the experiences of racial minorities, and who, in so doing, reflect the tradition of service embodied in education at Princeton."

The Allen Macy Dulles '51 Award was presented to Roberta Stennet of Mandeville, La. and Seth Green of Coral Springs, Fla. The award goes to the seniors whose activities "best represent or exemplify Princeton in the nation's service and in the service of all nations."

Abigail Love of Lander, Wyo. received the Priscilla Glickman '91 Memorial Prize, which honors "independence and imagination in the area of community service." Love, an anthropology major from Wyoming, has been involved in the Student Volunteer Council for her entire four years, spent a semester in Bolivia coordinating a health care program for infants, worked with the University's Community-Based Learning Initiative and served on the search committee for the director of the Center for Community Service.

Athletic Awards

The William Roper Trophy, which honors "a Princeton senior of high scholastic rank and outstanding qualities of sportsmanship and general proficiency in athletics," was shared by Scott Denbo, Dennis Norman and Matt Striebel. Denbo, a history major from Nashville, Tenn., was a shot-putter. Norman, a computer science major from Marlton, N.J., played football and threw discus. Striebel, an English major from Gill, Mass., played soccer and lacrosse.

The C. Otto von Kienbusch Sportswoman of the Year Award was shared by Julia Beaver, Erin Lutz, Hilary Matson and Julie Shaner. The award recognizes "a senior woman of high scholastic rank who has demonstrated a general proficiency in athletics and the qualities of a true sportswoman." Beaver, a molecular biology major from Brooklyn, N.Y., played squash. Lutz, a psychology major from Lawrenceville, N.J., was a diver. Matson, a psychology major from Marathon, N.Y., played field hockey. Shaner, a psychology major from Gwynned Valley, Pa., played soccer and lacrosse.

Oliver Stroeh won the Class of 1916 Cup, which goes to the varsity letter winner with the highest academic standing. Stroeh, an ecology and evolutionary biology major from Burke, Va., was a four-year letter winner in swimming.

Honorary Classmates

In naming its honorary members, the Class of 2001 cited the honorees' wide range of achievements and commitment to the service of others.

Senior Valerie Gutmann introduced President Shapiro, noting that "as we sit here today, we must attribute a great deal of our experience to President Shapiro. He has strengthened our faculty and student body, enhanced our programs of teaching and research, revitalized our campus, and dramatically increased our endowment." She said Shapiro, who served as her senior thesis advisor, inspired her through his "commitment, encouragement and support."

Presenting honorary class membership to incoming president Shirley Tilghman, Vanessa Marrero cited Tilghman's exceptional commitment to teaching. "Those of us who have been fortunate to take one of her classes…or work with her in a lab, as I have had the honor to do for my senior thesis, clearly understand why she was awarded Princeton's President's Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1996," said Marrero. "Dr. Tilghman has a deep commitment to the ideals of scholarship, teaching and service, and we are proud that such an amazing individual is joining the Class of 2001."

Shortly before the class heard an address by Cosby, Janelle Garret presented him with an honorary class membership, calling him a father figure for millions of Americans. She added that "Bill Cosby has endowed many Americans with the gift of hope and learning through his generous support of numerous charities, particularly in the field of education."

Senior Theodore Nemeroff introduced Bruce Wright, noting his long career as a lawyer and judge and his work as an author and civil rights advocate. Wright served in the Army during World War II, leading a squadron onto Omaha Beach and becoming wounded during the invasion of Normandy. Wright was born in Princeton, grew up in New York and was admitted to the University with a full scholarship in 1935. On the day he arrived, however, the dean of admission told him he would not be welcome because he was African-American, and he returned home.

"Thus, as our community gives Bruce Wright this recognition and welcome that is long overdue, we must also reflect on our legacy as an institution and the injustices that Princeton has committed, so that we may make it a better place for people of all backgrounds in the future," Nemeroff concluded.