Montrealer named Princeton's first Black valedictorian

May 11 2020, 8:25 pm

Montreal’s Nicholas Johnson has made an extraordinary mark at one of the US’s most renowned Ivy League schools by becoming Princeton University’s first Black valedictorian.

Johnson, an operations research and financial engineering concentrator from Montreal, has had international internships in Peru, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom while at Princeton.

Last year, the former pupal worked at Google’s headquarters in California as a software engineer.

Princeton will hold a virtual commencement for the Class of 2020 on Sunday, May 31, and an in-person ceremony will be held in May 2021.

“My favourite 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,” said Johnson in a Princeton press release.


The Westmount Selwyn House graduate says he plans to spend this summer interning as a hybrid quantitative researcher and software developer at the D. E. Shaw Group before moving on to his Ph.D. studies in operations research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall of 2020.

His senior thesis, “Sequential Stochastic Network Structure Optimization with Applications to Addressing Canada’s Obesity Epidemic,” focuses on developing high-performance, efficient algorithms designed to curb the prevalence of obesity in Canada.

You can read more about Johnson’s studies and time at Princeton through the university’s press release.

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