Inauguration: Invocation

By Oliver Goodrich, Director of the Rachel Lord Center for Religious & Spiritual Life

Good morning. We gather today to celebrate the new partnership between Bowdoin College and Safa Zaki, which heralds a new chapter in the story of this community, a story that we’re all a part of.

Today’s festivities take place against the backdrop of a world in conflict and full of profound suffering. Your presence here today affirms your support of not only President Zaki, but also of the College and its educational mission to form wise, ethical, compassionate graduates who are prepared to lead in a world that desperately needs humane leaders. So while it may feel difficult to celebrate today, we draw comfort and courage from the fact that what we do here at Bowdoin remains relevant to a world in need.

As we begin today’s inauguration ceremony, please join me as we invoke a spirit of wisdom and peace upon our shared future. 

We pause in gratitude this morning, full of thanks for all of those who have led and stewarded the College, preserving this educational heritage over the centuries despite the challenges brought on by wars, pandemics, economic hardship, and climate change.

President Zaki, today we ask a special blessing on you: that you would be filled with wisdom, courage, and compassion commensurate with the opportunities and challenges you will face. Like iron sharpens iron, we hope that the partnership between you and Bowdoin brings out the best in both of you. May our entire community continue to prosper and flourish under this new partnership.

May our trustees continue to be wise stewards of our resources as they steer the College through the numerous challenges facing higher education and society at large.

May the research done by our faculty and students make us more humane by helping us shed light upon the human condition and by yielding innovative new solutions that we can use in service of the common good.

May the care provided by our groundskeepers, our cooks, our coaches, and our entire administrative staff help form the character of this community and nurture our students.

May we deepen our commitment to the state of Maine and its people, woods, and waters. May we develop even stronger relationships with our many neighbors here in Brunswick and in the surrounding communities, and especially the people of the Wabanaki Confederacy, who we honor as the original inhabitants of this land.

And most importantly, may our students continue to thrive as they discover the joys of a liberal arts education and find their unique place in this diverse, residential community that has been shaped by over two centuries of Bowdoin alumni.

We ask all of this in a spirit of peace. Amen, and may it be so.