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[Invocation]

Welcome to the new academic year 2015-2016.

The new year is our carte blanche, our new notebook, with nothing yet on its pages. We are at the start of our yet unwritten story. The new year is our new beginning when past mistakes need not determine what we commit ourselves to now, nor do they need to dictate our dreams and how we will live out our passions for the world today. The new year is that point in time when we become new people who are no longer bound by the limitations of the past. The new year is a gift of freedom. And today we receive that gift with gratitude, but also with humility.

We receive our gift of freedom with humility because we are reflective people. As much as we look forward, we also look to last year for guidance. We recall the lessons learned, not in self-deprecating ways or to induce feelings of guilt, but to carry with us the wisdom we have garnered, as we journey forward. In this way we make meaning out of our past and we look to the future with hope.

So let us be together this year reflectively with anticipation for the possibilities before us, as we face both the promise and the challenge of newness. May we share our excitement in trying new things, but also may we not be afraid to voice our fears of failure. Our honesty and authenticity will, indeed, be the mark of our maturity as human beings. I invite you now to the convocation of our new year. I invite you to delight in the freedom of this moment. May the words you use to write your story of 2015-2016 be deep with reflective wisdom and meaning, but also fluid and open to embrace what awaits you. Blessings to you.

[Benediction]

We have begun our journey together today in this place. This is a new beginning which we look forward to with hope and expectation for the ways this year will change us. May this year be one of learning and growth in our intellectual abilities, in our capacity for compassion and understanding, and in our desire and commitment to serve our neighbor. May we strive to be kind, to be good listeners, and to see the invaluable worth in each person we meet. May we be inspired by the traditions and history of Northfield Mount Hermon and have the courage to live out our humanity with purpose in a world that needs our care. May we be a blessing to one another today and always.

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