News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. May 13, 2020: Former US first Lady and Princeton alum, Michelle Obama, is among those sending congratulations to Caribbean roots Nicholas André G. Johnson, the first black student in 274-years to be named valedictorian of Princeton University.
Johnson, 22, was born in the Gaspé, Quebec, but raised in Montreal, Canada by a Bahamas-born father and a Jamaican roots mother. Both are both doctors. Johnson majored in operations research and financial engineering and credits his family and role models and mentors with giving him the support and drive to help him achieve.
His mother was born in Montreal but raised in Jamaica and moved back to Montreal after high school. She’s now an assistant professor of family medicine at McGill and interim chief of family medicine at the McGill University Health Centre.
His father was born in the Bahamas and is a dental surgery specialist who owns oral and maxillofacial surgery clinics in the Ottawa area, and has been recently traveling back to the Bahamas to volunteer his time.
“This Princeton alum is so proud of you, Nick!,” the former FLOTUS tweeted. “Congratulations on becoming valedictorian—and making history. I have a feeling this is just the beginning for you, and I cannot wait to see everything you continue to achieve.”
Jamaican-roots Senator, Kamala Harris, also weighed in tweeting: “Congratulations Nicholas Johnson! Keep using your gifts to show the next generation of young Black leaders what’s possible.”
Johnson for his part thanked everyone and urged them to listen to his speech on May 31st.
“Thank you everyone for the warm regards! My journey has only been possible because of the countless people who have supported and inspired me along the way. Looking forward to sharing my speech as Princeton’s 2020 Valedictorian on May 31st!,” he tweeted.
On CNN he said: “It feels empowering. Being Princeton’s first Black Valedictorian holds special significance to me particularly given Princeton’s historical ties to the institution of slavery. I hope that this achievement motivates and inspires younger black students, particularly those interested in STEM fields.”
In the fall, Johnson will begin his PhD. studies in operations research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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