Seniors Celebrate In Church Ceremony

And you thought Neil L. Rudenstine was tired. At yesterday's Baccalaureate Service the President joked spiritedly with members of the class of 1995.

At the Memorial Church service, Rudenstine told the class, with which he shared his first-year on campus in 1991, that he was happy to see them graduate and pleased that he was staying on rather than "graduating" with them.

"My attendance has been appalling this year," he said in reference to his three-month leave of absence due to fatigue.

Assuring members of the class of 1995 that they were "the cream in our coffee, the mint in our julep and the soup of our jour," Rudenstine reminisced about shared experiences during the hour-long service for the graduating seniors.

The Church was filled to capacity with the soon-to-be graduates, all decked out in their caps and gowns.

Several hundred others--including friends and relatives of the class members, other undergraduates and returning alumni--gathered outside the church in Tercentenary Theatre to hear the service broadcast on speakers.

The Reverend Peter J. Gomes, Plummer professor of Christian morals and minister in the Memorial Church, reminded the audience in his salutation, "this solemn occasion that brings us together is one almost as old as Harvard College itself."

The Baccalaureate Service, which is meant togive a religious closure to the students' collegecareers, has been celebrated as part of Harvard'sCommencement exercises since 1642.

Only in recent years, however, has it seen asdiverse a representation of faiths and ideas aswere present yesterday.

Members of the class of '95 read selectionsfrom the Holy Koran, the Hindu Scriptures, theHebrew Bible and the New Testament in Arabic,Sanskrit, Hebrew and English. Non-English readingswere repeated in English translation.

Each reader urged class members to trust theirGod and believe in the power of love.

"In the name of God the beneficial...certainlyyour efforts and needs are diverse," MohammedAsmal '95 chanted from the Holy Koran in Arabic.

"May Shiva guide you from darkness to thewisdom of light," Sarthak Das '95 read in Sanskritfrom the Hindu Scriptures.

"Then you will walk on your way securely andyour foot will not stumble," Elie G. Kaunfer '95,a Crimson editor, said in Hebrew from the HebrewBible.

"Faith, hope and love abide--these three. Andthe greatest of these is love," said First ClassMarshal Elena T. Huang '95, reading in Englishfrom the New Testament.