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Witt Philips ’22 Named Aurelian Speaker

Staff Report from The Lawence 

The Fifth Form recently elected Witt Phillips ’22 as its Aurelian Speaker. The Aurelian Speaker is a class-voted student who best demonstrates “sterling character, high scholarship, and forceful leadership” and is also held in high regard by their fellow Lawrentians.

Over his three years at Lawrenceville, Phillips has demonstrated his exemplary leadership and character through his high level of involvement on campus, both academically and in extracurricular activities. Most notably, Phillips is involved in a plethora of clubs on campus, including L10 News, the Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA), and Spectrum magazine, as well as serving on the Honor Council. In addition, he was selected as a Hutchins Scholar and collaborated with the Stanford University School of Medicine’s Seung Kim’s lab in an effort to find better treatment and possible cures for pancreatic diseases. Although he joked that he is “not much of an athlete,” throughout his time at Lawrenceville, Phillips has especially enjoyed PACK with coaches Kelly Wise and Tony Rienzo.

When Fifth Form Level Director Etienne Bilodeau contacted him about his appointment as Aurelian Speaker, Phillips experienced a wide range of emotions ranging from shock and gratitude to the “inevitable nerves among the swirl of emotions.” More than anything, however, he “felt an overwhelming sense of connection to—and appreciation for—[his] class and Lawrenceville.” Looking back on his own time at Lawrenceville, Phillips fondly remembers moving into Woodhull House almost three years ago, but mentioned he could “barely recognize [that] person in [his] memory.” From then to now, Phillips has not only changed physically but has grown as a “student, friend, and community member,” he said.

Phillips will address his classmates on the eve of Commencement; the event will be a social gathering where Fifth Formers and faculty will convene to celebrate. As Bilodeau commented, the opportunity Phillips has been granted to address his entire class is “a very nice moment, and it’s also an honor.” Regarding his upcoming speech, although Phillips admits it will be a challenge to “capture even a fraction of the creativity, resilience, and joy that the Class of 2022 embodies,” he is looking forward to this opportunity to address his class and honor the work of his classmates these past four years. “I hope to recognize the power in our collective difference while reminding the class of the connections that have held us all together,” he said.

Finally, Phillips shared his major takeaway regarding his time at Lawrenceville: despite busy schedules and academic stress, each student at Lawrenceville can always count on the community and the rest of the student body for support. “More than any isolated lesson learned along the way, Lawrenceville has taught me to believe in the power of leaning into a community that cares for you,” Phillips said.

For additional information, contact Lisa M. Gillard H'17, director of public relations, at lgillard@lawrenceville.org.