All you need is love, said the Beatles. But, as the Bee Gees noted, no one gets too much love anymore. Which brings us to the college’s annual Baccalaureate service, held the day before Commencement, this year on May 27.
Both a service of gratitude — for relationships, for learning, and for transformation — and a service of reflection, Baccalaureate is, at its heart, also an expression of love and community among students and families.
Here are 13 quotes about love and community, explicit and implicit, from the service.
1. ‘That we may carry with us forevermore’
“We collectively ask that these brilliant students, deeply rooted in Bates mission and experiences, be blessed with irrational joy, lasting friendships, purposeful work, and continual curiosity as they blossom and flourish in the years to come. May we all find in this celebration of art and word and reflection a moment of transcendent connection that we may carry with us forevermore. Shalom. Salaam. Amen. May it Be So.” — The Rev. Brittany Longsdorf, Multifaith Chaplain, Invocation
2. ‘Enduring truths we must keep close’
“As Bates students, we need not look any further than our college’s mission statement for those enduring truths we must keep close. We can be, and indeed must be, transformed by our differences, civically engaged, lifelong learners, and stewards of the wider world away from this place, not just while we are here.” — Jamo Karsten ’17, Affirmation of Bates College Values
3. ‘My love for the sofas at Bates’
“It’s not surprising that when I mention my love for the sofas at Bates that I get the weirdest looks. I mean, it’s a weird thing to talk about. No one ever says, ‘Gosh! College was the best four years of my life. The sofas were the hallmark.’
“On the surface, these simple pieces of furniture seem to be commonplace, but to me they represent the wonderful memories that I have come to hold so dear to my heart. They represent the insanely supportive and loving community that I have worked to build for myself. Knowing that it won’t be as readily available as sitting down and waiting for people to join me on a sofa makes it hard to say goodbye.” — Brennen Malone ’17, Moments from Our Years at Bates
4. ‘Taking a minute to move polepole’
“Ten minutes after I arrived in the Kilimanjaro airport, I learned my first Kiswahili phrase: polepole, meaning ‘slowly, slowly.’…There is a picnic table at Bates I sit on sometimes, watching classmates and friends rushing to their next class, hurrying to finish their last paper or beginning their second workout of the day. Much of the time, I have been doing these things as well; however, I have been thankful when I get a chance to sit on the picnic table, connecting with old friends and taking a minute to move polepole.” — Amy Katz ’17, Moments from Our Years at Bates
5. ‘It’s gametime’
8 p.m., Garcelon Field, opening day for the Bates men’s soccer team.
The first day of classes is tomorrow.
Yet, none of this is distracting my team and me with the task at hand.
I can feel the butterflies kicking in.
The excitement is almost uncontainable.
The ref blows the whistle, the first ball is kicked.
Finally the time has come.
— Luke McNabb ’17, Moments from Our Years at Bates
6. ‘Friends who are eager to cheer you on’
“I can’t think of many other communities where I could approach people I barely know, ask them to run a lot while not sleeping, and get, not hasty rejections, but genuine and enthusiastic yeses….
“It’s now 2 a.m., we’re 19 hours and 140 miles into the relay, and we’re dancing in the middle of a highway in New Hampshire. Nate Dana is running his longest stretch of the race, and we’re waiting for him to run past us so we can cheer him on. It’s a clear night and the stars are shining. Nate’s headlamp can just be seen down the road. To me, this has been my Bates experience: meeting and making new friends who are eager and ready to cheer you on.” — Celine Pichette ’17, Moments from Our Years at Bates, describing organizing a team to run a 24-hour Ragnar Relay from Bretton Woods to Hampton Beach, N.H.
7. ‘Have loved and held each one of us’
“For years, [our parents and guardians] have loved and held each one of us. They have aided us in our journey of finding our sense of person and in navigating the world in all its complexity and contradiction. When we leave the shelter of Bates, the presences of all who have loved and taught us will prevail to guide us.” — Denali Nalamalapu ’17, Introduction to Parent and Guardian Reflection
8. ‘Inspired for a lifetime’
“Most importantly, I could sense that Bates had further imprinted on them the skills to learn, love, and be inspired for a lifetime. The Bates narrative is inextricably part of their narratives. The skills cultivated here are the skills for a lifetime.” — Deborah Weatherbee ’76, P’17, Parent and Guardian Reflection, on behalf of fellow parents and guardians
9. ‘Growth, change, and movement’
“The breadth of human experience, the freedom to learn, and the depth of discourse available at Bates have helped my daughter to mature as a quiet scholar.” — Usha Reddi P’17, Parent and Guardian Reflection
10. ‘We love you always!’
“I look at you and your fellow graduates with hope for our future. Hope that you will go forth and effect change. Hope that you do good and leave this world better than the world you inherit. Hope that you lead by examples of kindness and empathy, courage and conviction. Support each other. Make your marks. Be strong. Be committed. We love you always!” — Adrienne Reedy P’17, Parent and Guardian Reflection, on behalf of fellow parents and guardians
11. ‘We must be genuine’
“To summon further understanding, we must be genuine and hope that others know we are — and hope that they are, too. And abide by what we all have come to know in life: You can’t judge a book by its cover, or a student by where they are from, or a person by their appearance. We know this, especially at Bates.” — James Reese, Associate Dean for International Student Programs Baccalaureate Address
12. ‘Let us teach by being ourselves teachable’
“Take heed, dear Friends, to the promptings of love and truth in your hearts. Seek to live in affection as true Friends in your communities, in your families, in all your dealings with others, and in your relationship with outward society. The power of God is not used to compel us to Truth; therefore, let us renounce for ourselves the power of any person over any other and, compelling no one, seek to lead others to Truth through love. Let us teach by being ourselves teachable.” — Alex Ulin ’17, Interfaith Blessing (Quaker), joined by Christian, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, and in tribute to Buddhism
13. ‘As fast as I can’
My love is alive
Way down in my heart
Although we are miles apart
If you ever need a helping hand,
I’ll be there on the double
As fast as I can.
— The Senior Band, performing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson