Statement at the Service of Remembrance Ceremony

Feb. 28, 2023

It is customary at the Service of Remembrance, a Princeton tradition since 1919, for the University president to dedicate the Memorial Wreath at the end of the ceremony.

This year, I have also asked for the privilege of saying a few words at this point in the program.

Since last May, our campus has lost six young people. Four undergraduates, one graduate student, and a staff member. 

The premature passing of any person is a terrible loss for a close-knit university community. To lose six in one academic year is devastating.

To those here today who loved Jazz, Justin, Misrach, Maura, Jaki, and Alexandria, you have the condolences of a community that has been devastated by the tragedy of their passing.

I hope this beautiful ceremony offers solace, as we honor their memories alongside all the alumni, faculty, and staff we lost last year.

I hope their memories are a blessing to you forever and that you are a comfort to one another as you find restoration in grief.

This year of loss on our campus has also been a year of emergence from a pandemic that kept us isolated and apart for the better part of two years.

And so, as we have grieved, we have also come together. In prayer or reflection, in ceremonies large and small, in introspection, and in friendship.

For me, bearing witness to how the Princeton community cares for its own under the hardest circumstances has been a daily source of strength, inspiration, wonder, and gratitude.

I want to express special appreciation to our faculty, advisers, residential college staff, public safety officers, chaplains, mental health counselors, and student leaders who have supported us this year. You are our strength.

May we honor the memory of all who are no longer with us by recommitting ourselves to the daily acts of empathy and compassion that nourish the Princeton community and enable our healing.