The Center for Life Beyond Reed

Division of Student Services

Chuck Despres

Class year: 1967
Major: Chinese Language
Company/organization: Sunnyvale, CA Schools
Job title: ESL Specialist
LinkedIn: yes

How did you get where you are? (e.g., education, brief work history, mentors)

2 years at Reed.

2 years at Stanford majoring in CHINESE (not available at Reed at that time).

 Taught ESL in Hong Kong to Hong Kong University students.

 Worked at Japan Times as copy boy.

 Served as an elementary school principal and taught grades 4-8 in a small public elementary school in N. California.

 Taught high school history.

Worked for public television in San Francisco.

Taught ESL to immigrant children (Sunnyvale, CA).

Other jobs: bookstore clerk, school bus driver, physician assistant, park maintenance/park ranger, street crew laborer, recycling truck driver, grant writer for social service agency.

Many mentors along the way.

What lessons have you learned along the way that you'd like to pass on to current Reed students?

No matter the job, whatever enthusiasm and curiosity you can bring to the workplace will usually make your work experiencemore meaningful.

There is innate value in most work, even when it does not seem to fit neatly into a "career path" or "life plan."

Follow your dreams and interests, hobbies and extra-curricular past-times.

I love CHINESE calligraphy, swimming, reading, walking, travelling and learning new languages, cooking--not for remuneration, simply FOR FUN.

In what ways you think you can help Reed students?

Reed provides great opportunities for developing one's own critical faculties, as well as academic, fine arts, and performing arts opportunities and offerings that can challenge one to exploreoutside of the safe and secure parameters of personal proficiency.

In college and beyond, the most exciting learning often takes place outside of one's "safe zone," takes place when one is challenged to learn new proficiences.

The road to your personal "metier" may not seem to have a coherent direction; still it is YOUR ROAD...If you are engaged in the journey, the purported destination recedes in importance.

Such has been my experience...wither the road, ENJOY THE JOURNEY!

What else should students know about you? (e.g., volunteer engagement, avocations, interests)

I like Democracy Now, FSTV, Link TV, Amy Goodman, Harry Belafonte, the Occupy movement, Human Rights Movement, Human Rights Watch, UNICEF, CARE, OXFAM, International RescueCommittee,, ACLU, Sierra Club, Defenders of WILDLIFE, Southern Poverty Law Center, NAACP, Special Olympics, Amnesty International, Coffee Party.

My favorite activities are river swimming and cooking...and more recently rafting. And travel.

For many years I was a UNICEF (U.S. COMMITTEE FOR UNICEF) volunteer.

I am a slow reader, never managing to finish the most recent New York Review of Books before the next issue arrives

I try to practice Chinese calligraphy daily.