Princeton names first black valedictorian in university’s 274-year history

Princeton names first black valedictorian in university’s 274-year history
Nicholas Johnson of Montreal was named Princeton University's valedictorian for the class of 2020. (Source: Lisa Festa, Center for Career Development/Princeton University)

PRINCETON, N.J. (Gray News) - Princeton University has named its first black valedictorian in the Ivy League institution’s 274-year history.

Nicholas Johnson, who studied operations research and financial engineering, was named the valedictorian for the class of 2020.

The Montreal native said he valued his relationships with his classmates the most during his time at Princeton.

“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 contributing positively to it in our own unique way,” Johnson said.

Johnson plans to spend the summer interning as a hybrid quantitative researcher and software developer at the D.E. Shaw Group. He will start pursuing his Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall. As a rising senior, he worked as a software engineer at Google’s California headquarters.

His senior thesis focused on developing algorithms to develop a health intervention plan that could help curb obesity in Canada. He was previously enrolled at Marianopolis College in Quebec before continuing his studies at Princeton.

Copyright 2020 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.