Rabbi Simeon J. Maslin, who has led High Holiday services at Bowdoin for nearly twenty years, delivered the invocation at Bowdoin’s 212th Commencement ceremony, held May 27, 2017.
Eternal God, Creator of the Universe and of all humanity —
On this joyous morning of commencement, we join our hearts together in thankfulness for all our blessings but especially for the blessings that You have bestowed upon the young men and women who have completed four years of study here at Bowdoin College and now look eagerly to the future.
I remind the graduates and all the alumni of this worthy institution of the motto that has guided Bowdoin College over its centuries of dedication to the nurture of the minds and morals of its students. That motto was taken from the Bible, from the book of Proverbs, and it reads “Et aquila versus coelum – As an eagle toward the sky.” [Proverbs 23:5]
The founders of this college saw it as their sacred duty to prepare its young charges for roles of leadership in our great nation. They prayed that the learning that they lovingly imparted to their students would enable those students, like eagles, to soar toward the heights – the heights of creativity, of social service, of healing, of unmodified truth, the heights of the pursuit of justice for all. These have been the goals of this great college through all the years of its existence.
And so, in the spirit of that inspiring motto, “As an eagle toward the sky.” we bless these eager graduates, the Class of 2017, with the words of the prophet Isaiah: They who yearn for God will renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and never be tired. [Isaiah 40:31]
May this be the will of God.