Shields '87 to deliver Class Day address
“She understands who we are, because she is one of us, and she defined a generation of Princetonians before, during and after her time at Old Nassau,” the cochairs said in their email.
Shields, who majored in Romance languages and literatures at Princeton, was a member of the Triangle Club and Cap & Gown Club. As a joke during her Class Day in 1987, seniors placed buttons on their class jackets that said “Yes, I went to Princeton. No, I never met her.”
Shields is best known for her roles in films such as “Pretty Baby” and “The Blue Lagoon,” and in television shows such as “Lipstick Jungle,” “That ’70s Show” and “Suddenly Susan.”
Before coming to Princeton, Shields already had an established acting career. When she was 11 months old, she starred in a soap commercial, and by the time she began college she was already internationally known for her roles in multiple movies, as a spokesperson and model for Calvin Klein and for a cover of Vogue magazine.
In an email sent out to the Class of 2011 on Wednesday morning, the Class Day cochairs explained they considered Shields a “particularly meaningful” selection for a keynote speaker largely because of her experience as an undergraduate at the University.
“Our Class Day speaker knows why we love to wear orange and black even when it’s not October 31,” they said. “She knows why we sing Old Nass after every football game and Triangle show. She has been to the Street.”
The Class Day cochairs also individually expressed their excitement about Shields’ return to the University.
“I’m hella excited about Class Day,” Davila said in an email. “We’re lucky to get someone who is ... a great speaker and talented entertainer ... She is a smart, funny and insightful woman who seeks to use her fame and influence to do good in the world, and we are very excited to welcome her back to Princeton.”
Davila said she was confident that Shields, as an alumna, would provide a strong address. “She’ll be able to say something that resonates with us, specifically, as Princetonians,” Davila noted. “She’s experienced the joy of Houseparties and the agony of Dean’s Date. She’s walked these hallowed halls. She wrote a senior thesis.”
“She’s one of us,” she added. “She knows our ways.”
Basu Trivedi explained in an email that the selection of Shields was partly an endeavor to bring someone to campus with a different perspective from recent Class Day speakers.
“We wanted to bring in someone from outside the political and news spheres in which many recent Class Day speakers have been involved,” Basu Trivedi said. “She will light up our commencement weekend.”
Diamond echoed her cochairs’ excitement about the opportunity to meet Shields, noting in an email that she hoped “to convert her to Twitter as well so she and Bloomberg can live-tweet the graduation weekend.”
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will deliver the Baccalaureate address on May 29.