Invocation Address

By Tom Porter
Oliver Goodrich, director of the Rachel Lord Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, delivers the invocation:

Class of 2024, you didn’t ask for the struggles and challenges that have defined your time at Bowdoin. You didn’t ask for the pandemic; neither did you ask for the disruption, the disconnection, or the losses that shaped your college experience.

You may not have chosen these circumstances, but you have chosen to respond to them with courage and compassion. Your presence here today at this commencement ceremony bears witness to the spirit of perseverance that has formed within you and that you will carry you forward with you from this place.

So, too, does the presence of your people gathered on this quad and watching online bear witness to the truth that you are loved and cared for, that you are part of something so much larger than yourselves.

As we celebrate today, may this ceremony provide some needed closure as we symbolically close this chapter of life and savor the memories of a season marked by deep personal and intellectual transformation.

As you venture beyond this place, may you keep in mind the words of President McKeen, who reminds us that a Bowdoin education is not for your private advantage, but rather for the benefit of society.

As you encounter injustice and inequity in your future communities and workplaces, may you respond with moral clarity, courage, and commitment to the common good.

And as you encounter the inevitable struggles that life will bring, may you recall the hard won wisdom you have gained through the challenges you have successfully navigated here.

I ask all this in a spirit of love and hope. May it be so!