What's In a Motto? A Generous Idea

What's In a Motto? A Generous Idea

by John Bishop, Director of Communications

Today, the on-campus community gathered to enjoy the rescheduled Holiday Concert. Amid one of the school year's coldest days, Lawrence Academy paused to regain some of the light and life usually experienced during the winter holidays.

As a rule, concerts are generally best captured by photos or video — not words. However, Head of School Dan Scheibe seized the mid-January moment to circle the occasion back, yes, to the warmth of the holidays but, more importantly, the school's motto and its place in daily life at LA.

"You just heard one song and one poem that had a spirit of light, and a spirit of giving, and a spirit of depth," said Mr. Scheibe of the opening musical performance and poetry recitation. "Obviously, we are a school with a motto grounded in light. Omnibus Lucet, 'The light shines for all..."

Oft-cited during assemblies in the Richardson-Mees Performing Arts Center (RMPAC), it might surprise some that LA's motto does not go back to 1793 and the school's incorporation.

"Historically, here's the story," Scheibe told the community. "That motto came into being with the school seal. They are one and the same... As the school history has it, [the motto] was born to the world at the annual meeting of the trustees on June 30th, 1862.

"The meeting minutes state, 'A new seal, which has been prepared, was submitted for approval; [the committee] voted to accept it as the seal of the trustees of Lawrence Academy.'"

Of course, it should be no surprise that Mr. Scheibe is very fond of LA's motto.

"I love our motto," said the Head of School unequivocably. "It's simple, but mostly it's bright and generous."

And it was that gracious spirit in which Mr. Scheibe sought to continue the concert and conclude LA's week-long Martin Luther King Jr celebration.

"The light shines for all is the language we've been using these weeks, a statement of creative altruism," he said. "The light has a radiant outward beauty, but I love that omnibus part.

"It's for all; a generous, generous idea.

"It's the opposite of the darkness of destructive selfishness," he said. "It's the light of creative altruism."

As the students queued up to continue their performance, Scheibe spoke to how their work, and the audience's work, perpetuates the altruism prescribed in LA's motto.

"The generosity that we have today is people willing to stand in the light as speakers, as singers," he said. "And then [the audience's] piece is to receive that light and share your attention and spirit generously back to them."

Which they did.

Congratulations to everyone who performed!