At a joyful ceremony on Monday afternoon, June 3, the Lewis Center for the Arts celebrated 84 graduates of the Class of 2019 who earned 89 certificates through the Programs in Creative Writing, Dance, Theater, Music Theater, and Visual Arts. The ceremony was held in the Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center on the Princeton campus, a venue the Lewis Center shares with McCarter and where many of the graduates, particularly in Theater and Dance, performed during their four years at Princeton. A reception for the graduates and their guests was held following the ceremony.
The event also awarded prizes to the top seniors and recognized outgoing Lewis Center Chair Michael Cadden.
In addition to undergraduate degrees in a concentrated area of study, Princeton offers “certificates of proficiency,” which enable students to supplement their work in their departmental concentrations with focused study in another, often interdisciplinary, field. Certificate programs are similar in many ways to the minors offered at other universities. By purposeful design as part of a liberal arts-rooted education, most of the courses of study in the arts at Princeton are not offered as majors.
The 84 graduates earning certificates in the arts have also earned degrees in such diverse fields as physics, neuroscience, politics, molecular biology, economics, philosophy, English, history, psychology and electrical engineering. Students often explore a completely different field than their major through their engagement with the Lewis Center or connect the arts in innovative ways to another area of study. In addition to those pursuing certificates, more than one-fourth of the undergraduate student body take a course in creative writing, dance, theater, music theater, visual arts, or in the Princeton Atelier each year.
The certificate programs require students to follow an additional course of study and to complete a body of independent artistic work, such as a novel, screenplay, or a collection of short stories, poems, or translations; choreographing an original dance work or performing a new or repertory work by a guest artist; directing, performing, writing, designing or producing a theatrical work; or creating and exhibiting a body of visual artwork or a film. This independent work is undertaken with the mentorship and guidance of faculty who are working artists or scholars.
Certificate graduates in Creative Writing are: Mohammad Z. Adnan, Christian C. Bischoff, Sena M. Cebeci, Nicolette C. D’Angelo, David A. Exume, Jonah Herzog-Arbeitman, Sonia M. Joseph, Madeleine C. Le Cesne, Ruting Li, Lian Kirit Limperis, Crystal Liu, Simi Prasad, Kandace L. Rosser, Jordan D. Salama, Iris A. Samuels, Paul J. Schorin, Remi C. Shaull-Thompson, Elias M. Stern, Annabelle Yu An Tseng, Helena Van Brande, Carson Welch, Max West, Sebastian P. Witherspoon, Michelle R. Yeh, and Joanna Z. Zhang.
Certificate graduates in Dance are: Elena V. Anamos, Lauren Auyeung, Yasmine K. Eichbaum, James A. Jared, William S. Keiser, Sicily M. Kiesel, Madeleine C. Le Cesne, Justina K. Liu, Sarah Varghese, Michelle R. Yeh, and Esin Yunusoglu.
Certificate graduates in Theater and/or Music Theater, several earning certificates in both programs, are: Will Alvarado, Siddarth Anand, Jessica P. A. Bailey, Annabel Q. Barry, Megan E. Berry, Jasmeene M. Burton, Jack D. Busche, Victoria C. Davidjohn, Benjamin S. Diamond, Katherine E. Duggan, Tamia L. Goodman, Kirsten H. Hansen, Chase E. Hommeyer, Zara P. Jayant, Changshuo Liu, Carly G. Maitlin, Bria McKenzie, Julia D. Mosby, Ryan R. Ozminkowski, Nathan S. N. Phan, Justin G. Ramos, J Sansone, Raina F. Seyd, Feyisola S. Soetan, Luke Soucy, Janelle T. Spence, Julia Yu, and Annabel Zabel.
Certificate graduates in Visual Arts are: Kara L. Bressler, Hudson H. Cooke, Rami H. Farran, Caroline de Brito Gottlieb, Susan Liu, Amanda G. Morrison, Elaine S. Romano, Alice F. Wang, Jessica Zhou, and Maya B. von Ziegesar.
Graduates achieving a Practice of the Art degree, a collaborative program between the Lewis Center and the Department of Art and Archaeology, focusing on studio work, are: Anna K. Berghuis, Evan MacLean Collins, Kyra M. Gregory, Cody Kohn, David Lopera, Isaiah L. Nieves, Kathryn A. Northrop, S Sanneh, Pearl G. Thompson, and Yuanyuan Zhao.
A number of seniors received awards for outstanding achievement in each Program and top academic prizes were awarded by the Lewis Center Program Directors and the Chair of the Music Department for overall achievement in the arts. The Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts, presented annually to one or more graduating seniors who have demonstrated excellence or the highest standard of proficiency, in performance or execution or in the field of composition in the following general areas: music, theater, dance, painting, sculpture or photography, was awarded to concentrator in the Department of Music Lou Y. Chen and Theater certificate graduate Victoria C. Davidjohn. The new Toni Morrison Prize, awarded for the first time this year, honors Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize Laureate and Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities, Emeritus, and is given to one or more graduating seniors whose individual or collaborative artistic practice has pushed the boundaries and enlarged the scope of our understanding of issues of race. This prize honors work in any form that, in the spirit of Morrison’s, is “characterized by visionary force and poetic import,” and was awarded to Visual Arts graduate S Sanneh.
Michael Cadden served as Chair of the Lewis Center for the past eight years, overseeing a period of tremendous growth in the number of students, courses and faculty, and the final design, construction and opening of the Lewis Arts complex in the fall of 2017. A member of the Princeton faculty for 35 years and former director of the Program in Theater and Dance, Cadden will return to teaching full-time in September. His tenure as Chair was celebrated at the Class Day ceremony by the Center’s directors, students and their guests.
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith, who currently serves as director of the Program in Creative Writing and is the University’s Roger S. Berlind ’52 Professor in the Humanities at Princeton University, will complete her second and final year as U.S. Poet Laureate this month and will take the reins of the Lewis Center on July 1.