Commencement Invocation May 27, 2023 by Oliver Goodrich

By Bowdoin News
Class of 2023 Commencement Invocation May 27, 2023 by Oliver Goodrich, Director of the Rachel Lord Center for Religious and Spiritual Life.

Class of 2023, your time at Bowdoin has been a season of surprises.

When you arrived on this campus a few years ago, who among you would have

imagined the surprises that you would encounter during your Bowdoin


Perhaps you were surprised by the way a global pandemic upended business as

usual and raised our collective consciousness to the fragility of life as we know it.

Perhaps you have been surprised by the way your old hopes and dreams have

gradually changed as you nurture newly discovered passions and skills.

Perhaps you have been surprised by your encounters with the woods and waters

that make up the state of Maine: the fleeting beauty of fall foliage as it transitions

from bright green to brilliant red, or the joys of swimming in the saltwater off the

Schiller Center.

Perhaps you were surprised by the people you encountered; the approachability,

kindness, and unexpected generosity of a professor; or the way that a question

from a stranger led to lifelong friendship.

Just as your time at Bowdoin has unfolded with countless surprises, so too will

your life beyond Bowdoin undoubtedly contain events that you cannot now

imagine. As you commence a new season of life today, I invite you to remember

and savor the surprises that shaped your time here and to imagine and prepare

yourself for the many possibilities that await you in the future.

May you delight in discovering that your intrinsic worth is far greater than your

earning potential or professional accolades.

May you relish the relationships that will form from the people you have yet to

meet, and may you keep your heart open to the humor, the hardship, and the

joys that flow from these new friendships.

When you encounter injustice, may you find the moral imagination to respond

with courage, conviction, and a renewed commitment to the common good.

And when life leads to failure or disappointment, may you be surprised by the

gifts of forgiveness, humility, and lifelong learning.

Dear graduates, may your future be full of surprises. May it be so!