LEWISTON — Nearly 500 seniors graduated from Bates College on Sunday in a ceremony highlighted by encouragement from award-winning mathematician and Princeton professor Manjul Bhargava, who gave the commencement address.

Bhargava devoted most of his speech to “the relationship that exists between mathematics and art, between science and humanities, and more generally the surprising unity of all fields of human endeavor and what this all means in terms of the value of a liberal arts education.”

Alex Bolden, a senior from Cleveland, gave the senior address.

“If there is nothing else I have learned from this campus it is that there are no bounds to the change a community can effect when it is grounded in love,” Bolden said. “It is out of love that we have become allies to those who are struggling and it is out of love that we stand for those who cannot stand for themselves.”

Maine-based furniture designer Thomas Moser, Olympic runner Joan Benoit Samuelson of Freeport, and Mark Abelson, an ophthalmological researcher, all received honorary degrees.

Bates College President Clayton Spencer handed out degrees to 484 graduates during ceremonies that were held inside the Merrill Gymnasium.

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