Video: 10 cheerful, tearful, and inspirational moments from President Jenkins’ inaugural address

Before a crowd of nearly 1,000 guests in Merrill Gymnasium — and many more watching via livestream — President Garry W. Jenkins delivered his inaugural address on May 4, 2024, taking his audience through a range of shared emotions.

Of the many moments that moved us, here are 10:

‘Here, diversity and differences are embraced’

“Here, diversity and differences are embraced, even as we acknowledge that we are not yet as equitable or inclusive as we need to be, as we want to be; even as we acknowledge a college may not always get it right,” said Jenkins.

‘To my parents’

“This wouldn’t be possible without them,” said Jenkins, close to tears.

‘Accept the baton and embrace the work’

“Our predecessors have carried us far. But they did not complete the journey. In any perpetual institution like a great college or university, you never do. But what we can do is accept — or grab — the baton that is passed to us, and embrace the work, the challenges that await us, run as fast and as hard as we can during our leg of the race.”

‘Step forward with confidence’

“We step forward with confidence, grounded in, and buoyed by our commitments to innovation, to opportunity, to leadership and well-being, and civic engagement.”

‘Open to a Black president?’

“I remember a time, not too long ago, asking, ‘Would our nation’s most selective colleges ever be open to a Black president? To an openly gay president? Would that be possible? Was that a dream too big?”

‘A lived commitment’

“In Bates I see the lived commitment to equity — to access — to belonging. Our founding story and history shouldn’t and doesn’t leave us complacent or self-satisfied; it should inspire us to continue to pursue and advance those ideals, so that everyone feels supported, feels included, feel empowered.”

‘Bates is a gift’

“Bates, like any great and durable institution, is truly a gift. It’s a gift from one generation to the next. But we can’t take it for granted.”

‘Rising together’

“I chose ‘rising together’ as the theme for this address because I believe deeply in the power of collaboration and teamwork.”

‘Bates is improbable’

“Bates, specifically, is improbable because it was a radical notion from its very founding in 1855, six years before the Civil War, founded with a distinct vision of higher education: women and men, people of all races, learning together, steadfast in an idea of what it meant to be fully human — but an outlier.”

‘A greater good for all’

“We are all its temporary stewards and guardians. We nurture and support this place and the education that occurs here because, ultimately, it advances a greater good for all.”