Below is the text for Chapel Dean Luke Powery's invocation at undergraduate convocation, Aug. 19, 2015, in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Watch a video recording of the invocation here.
God of wonder and joy, if we had ten thousand tongues, it would not be enough to express all that is on our hearts and minds in this moment. As we engage in this sacrament of pause, some are ecstatic. Others are unsure. Some still wonder how they were even accepted into Duke. Others are confident that Duke made the right decision to accept them. Some question, “Will I fit in? Will I get along with my roommate? Will I be smart enough? Will I be accepted?” Calm our fears not that we cease questioning but that we experience the joy and privilege of being alive today with bright hopes for tomorrow.
Even as we stand in this revered building, Cameron Indoor Stadium, a holy place for some, let what this building represents guide our days ahead -- the spirit of community and collaboration and communication and care and challenge and creativity and cheerfulness. May we embody these values, inside and outside the classroom, as we embark on this new educational journey together. Whether we win, lose, get hurt, become tired, are energized, make slam dunks in class or miss attempted shots in relationships, let us be a Duke community that celebrates with those who celebrate and mourns with those who mourn, recognizing that we may go fast alone but we will go farther together.
We know this to be true as we realize that we didn’t arrive at this institution solely by our own will and resources. Someone paid for us, prayed for us, encouraged us, taught us, and mentored us to bring us to this day. We give thanks for those who have made it possible for us to be here. May we never forget them or those who have come before us at dear old Duke.
As we research, study, serve and learn at an institution with such a rich tradition and compelling innovation, may we leverage knowledge for the common good of the world and by doing so become more fully human and whole.
Let the joy we experience today -- as faculty, administrators, staff, and students -- lead us to a deeper sense of gratitude for every good gift, including this university and one another. Bind us together with cords that cannot be broken and let this class, the class of 2019, be a class that the Hall of Fame of Humanity would remember because they knew what it meant to learn and live and love in community. Amen.