The Baccalaureate service derives from the medieval European custom of presenting the candidates for the degree of Bachelor (bacca) with laurels (lauri) of sermonic oration. Prefigur- ing tomorrow’s Commencement, today’s ceremony is a service of worship that celebrates and gives thanks for lives dedicated to learning and wisdom.
A religious and spiritual event planned and led by members of the Class of 2007, this ser- vice reflects the breadth of faith traditions represented in the Class. Ritually marking the close of the undergraduate years, Baccalaureate provides an occasion to remember that we do not belong only to ourselves and that our true vocations, our deepest callings, are discovered only by committing ourselves to the service of the common good. In gratitude and reverence for those sacred vocations, as numerous and as diverse in their particular expressions as the mem- bers of this Class, we gather this afternoon to remember, to rejoice, and to give thanks.
The members of the Class of 2007 chose “seasons” as the theme of their Baccalaureate service because of its reflection of the changing of the times. As they prepare to depart the collegiate world, they are fully cognizant of the waves of change that brought them to Bates and will take them from Bates. However, like the seasons, their memories and love for Bates will continu- ously return, forever embedding in them an appreciation for change and growth.
The puppets for today’s service are creatures from Creation, celebrating the Class of 2007. The puppets are from The Back Alley Puppet Theatre, in residence at Emmanuel Church, Boston, Massachusetts. Additionally, any and all artworks adorning the ceremony have been created by members of the Class of 2007.
The Procession and Recession
The procession and recession of the Class embrace the ceremony and symbolically embody the rite of passage that this service celebrates. Together, they offer a prayer in motion.
The Class of 2007 processes and recesses under archways adorned with prayers, poems, and blessings offered by their family members and by members of the College’s faculty and staff. May the hopes and longings expressed on these cards be carried on the wind to all the places the graduates find themselves after leaving Bates. (For ease of viewing, all the cards have been scanned into the Web site of the College Chaplain.)
The Interfaith Blessing
The blessing is composed and read by students from the Class of 2007, who represent Prot- estant Christian, Christian Science, Eastern Orthodox, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Wicca, and Secular Humanist faiths and traditions.
Written by members of the Senior Class, the litany recalls both the distinct and shared experi- ences of the Class of 2007 and speaks of their common values and hopes.