Nicholas Johnson is this year’s Princeton University valedictorian and he’s also making history at the same time.
Valedictorian is an academic title of success used in the United States, Canada, Philippines, and Armenia, for the student who delivers the closing or farewell statement at a graduation ceremony.
He is officially the private Ivy League’s research university’s first black valedictorian in their 274-year-old history, Princeton University announced on their website.
Johnson told ABC News that he was “really surprised” to learn about the achievement, which he first discovered while being interviewed for a podcast for the university based in Princeton, New Jersey.
He added that the achievement is especially significant “particularly because of Princeton’s past historical ties to the institution of slavery.”
According to Princeton & Slavery Project, this includes nine previous Princeton University presidents having owned slaves at some point in their lives.
“It is very empowering and I hope the achievement can serve as an inspiration and motivation for black students,” he added.
Read more: GMA