"The Great Gatsby" director Baz Luhrmann named 2017 Class Day Speaker| Apr 19, 2017
Academy Award-nominated film director, screenwriter, and producer Baz Luhrmann has been invited to address the Class of 2017 at the Class Day ceremony on Monday, June 5, according to a University press release.
Class Day takes place on the eve of the University’s Commencement and is being organized by members of the graduating class.
“[Luhrmann’s] life exhibits what it is like to dream, preserve and explore the full breadth of one’s desires and passions, which is a fitting mindset to convey to graduates before entering the real world,” Class Day co-chair Deana Hamlin ’17 said in the release.
Born in Sydney, Australia, Luhrmann was immersed in art and theater at an early age. His mother was a ballroom dance teacher, and his father ran several businesses, including a movie theater where Luhrmann found himself captivated by the world of film. He later attended the National Institute of Dramatic Art, where he received a degree in acting.
Luhrmann has produced several critically acclaimed films, including “Strictly Ballroom” (1992), “Romeo + Juliet” (1996), and “Moulin Rouge!” (2001), the last of which was a nominee for the Academy Award for Best Picture. In 2008, he released “Australia,” and a few years later, he directed and co-wrote “The Great Gatsby” (2012) based on the 1925 novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Class of 1917.
“The committee was especially intrigued by Luhrmann’s landmark production of ‘The Great Gatsby,’” Class Day co-chair Jacob Cannon ’17 said in the release. “Luhrmann’s talent in shedding new light on such a historic work showed us that he can push the bounds of our imagination while at the same time employing noteworthy aspects of Princeton’s rich traditions to do so.”
Students in the Class Day committee also noted that Luhrmann’s re-creation of “The Great Gatsby” resonates with the graduating class. This past November, the Class of 2017 extended an honorary class membership to Fitzgerald at the 125th celebration of Triangle Club, a musical-comedy theater group on campus in which Fitzgerald had served as an active member.
“We are thrilled to welcome Baz Luhrmann to Class Day 2017,” Class Day co-chair Paulina Orillac ’17 said.
“The three of us are just really excited to welcome someone who has truly embraced his individual style and hasn’t been pigeonholed into one genre or medium,” she added. “We believe he will be inspiring to our classmates as we look to forge our own careers.”
The Class Day ceremony will be held on Cannon Green at 10:30 a.m. It is a ticketed event for seniors and their invited guests, with live stream sites available.