What Alumni Say About Reed
Reed alumni savor the clarity of mind and supreme confidence they take away from the college. Let them tell you:
"Reed opened all the doors to the arts and sciences for me. I found at Reed this undreamed-of place where I could grow intellectually and establish a framework of professional and personal standards. It was one of the luckiest breaks of my life."
-- John Simpson '40, pioneering nuclear physicist and astrophysicist, whose work included the Manhattan Project and whose instrumentation aboard the Pioneer 10 discovered the belts of Jupiter and Saturn.
"Almost 50 years have gone by since I was a freshman at Reed. In many important respects, the college has changed very little in half a century. The intellectual rigor, the hard work, and the fierce individualism that shaped my college years are still there today. And so is the faculty's commitment to effective teaching."
-- Walter Mintz '50, consultant and retired founding partner, Cumberland Associates
"The great thing about Reed is that Reed so consistently, year after year, produces exceptions to the mainstream of materialism and cynicism….Reed's faculty, of course, deserves much of the credit….We learned from Reed's faculty, or somehow imbibed the idea, that knowledge is not a kind of property that one buys in college in order to cash in on it later: it is a trust and responsibility."
-- Barbara Ehrenreich '63, award-winning political essayist, social critic, and author
"Reed does something better than most any other institution I know about: it invests in you as individuals. It took you and didn't say, 'We'll mass-produce you through lectures and the like.' Instead, it gave you opportunities to figure out what you thought and to express yourself. But at the same time, alongside of that, Reed said, 'You are part of a community.' And best of all, it said, 'You can create that community…. You can make it what you want.'"
-- Richard Danzig '65, former Secretary of the Navy
"At other schools serious students are distinguished and treated differently from the rest of the students. Reed is a school of serious students being taken seriously by the faculty."
-- Linda Howard '70, administrative assistant corporation counsel, New York City law department
"The influence of Reed on lots of its graduates is as subtle as it is pervasive. One loses one's fear of the past, and sees it instead as informing all of one's thoughts and actions."
-- Lee Blessing '71, award-winning playwright and screenwriter
"When I came to Reed as a student, I found professors who made me take ideas seriously, and respected my efforts with serious responses. When I returned as a teacher, I did the same for my students, who indeed demanded that from me. Shared expectations and respect for real engagement with ideas has been the heart of Reed's culture for nearly a century. At Reed it's more than okay to care about ideas; it is seen as truly good to think about and understand what is valuable about various problems and solutions. There aren't many places like that left in the world."
-- Chris Lowe '82, Africa historian
"Reed, as an institution, gives students an immense amount of freedom. This is not a finishing school; it's a place to develop your intellect without having your hand held. You will be treated with respect; you and your thoughts will be taken seriously. You'll need a sense of balance and a sense of humor to keep things in perspective. It's best if you have those already -- if you don't you'll develop them quickly once you're here."
-- Laura Wolford '97, graduate student at University of Texas-Austin