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News from the Reed College public affairs office

Kroger Inaugurated—with Iliad

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President John R. Kroger sports snazzy Reed medallion at inauguration. Photos by Leah Nash

Amid the call of bagpipes and the flourish of horns, roughly 1,500 people descended on campus on Friday to welcome John R. Kroger as Reed's 15th president. Under the big top on the great lawn, Roger Perlmutter '73, chair of the board of trustees, invested Kroger with the trappings of office—including a copy of the Iliad and a bottle of spring water drawn from the Reed Canyon—in a grand inauguration ceremony.

Student body president Brian Moore '13 hailed Kroger as "the ultimate prospie" for his infectious enthusiasm for all things Reed and for enrolling in Hum 110.

Kara Walker's Long Shadows

Thumbnail image for Miss Pipi 3.jpgThe sign outside the Cooley Gallery warns of explicit content — leading some visitors to believe they are in for something provocative. While there can be no doubt that Kara Walker's art can shock, what it provokes are conversations.

"Kara is giving us permission to start and continue a conversation about otherness," says Stephanie Snyder '91, the John and Anne Hauberg Curator and Director of the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery in the Reed library.

On display at the gallery through November 18, Kara Walker More & Less sets the stage for a lecture the acclaimed artist will deliver on campus on October 2 as a Stephen E. Ostrow Distinguished Visitor.

Reedie Designs Sundial for Mars Rover

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On a clear Southern California night, Tyler Nordgren '91 stepped outside to take a last look at Mars through his home telescope before stepping inside to watch the landing of the Curiosity rover on NASA TV.

By this time, Curiosity was already slamming into the Martian atmosphere at more than 13,000 miles per hour. After four minutes of aerobraking, the largest supersonic parachute ever deployed off the planet Earth slowed the rover to 220 miles per hour. Then the lander cut away from the chute, firing retro-rockets and searching for a good landing spot. Twenty-five feet above the Martian surface, the lander lowered the rover to the ground and fired explosives that cut the tethers that held them together.

Class of '16 By The Numbers

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Photo by Leah Nash

Though the summer sun is still shining in Portland, fall semester is fully underway. The last few weeks have seen freshlings transformed from awe-struck new arrivals to awe-struck new arrivals who are behind on their Hum 110 reading.

One of the most remarkable things about the Class of '16 is that there are fewer of them: 320 this year, as compared to an average of 370 over the past three years.

Kroger Takes the Plunge - Literally

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President John Kroger braces for impact as rubber ball of doom hurtles towards its target. Photo by Alex Krafcik '15, courtesy of the Quest.

Students took aim at President John Kroger last week (and we don't mean metaphorically) when the new prez sat in a dunk tank to raise awareness for the student group Reedies for Reedies.

Perched on a minuscule platform, clad in trunks and a red Orientation t-shirt, Kroger shivered with anticipation as Reedies lined up to throw rubber balls at a bull's-eye target from a distance of roughly 15 feet.

Johnson Creek Art Show

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Gary Michael, Powell Butte, pastel

Reed is hosting a cool show of art inspired by Johnson Creek and its tributary, Crystal Springs, which issues forth from the Canyon.

Check out the art on display in Vollum Lounge until October 12, 2012.

The Dipylon Analogy

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Dear Reed Alumni:

The academic year is underway! The campus looks beautiful, the Paradox Café is packed, and the mood on campus seems excellent. My enthusiasm for Reed, and my conviction that the college is in great shape, have only grown deeper in the last two months. I look forward to my formal inauguration on September 21 and the accompanying Alumni Leadership Summit. I hope to meet many of you at these celebratory and informative events.

Colleges That Change Lives

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Reed is proud to be featured in the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives. Originally written in 1996 by former New York Times education editor Loren Pope, the newest edition of the book was released this month. Colleges That Change Lives is different from other college guides. In its own words, it exhorts students to "be bold" and seek a "transformative college experience":

Don't fall for Ivy worship. Don't listen to the blather about "best" schools whipped up by the rankings game. . . . College isn't just about the end result. It's also about the means, the process, the path you take to earn your degree, whom you meet, and who inspires and mentors you.

Diver: Honor Principle Curtails Cheating

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Former Reed president Colin Diver wrote an op-ed in the Boston Globe this morning about the recent allegations that as many as 125 Harvard undergrads had cheated on a final exam last spring.

In contrast to the widespread lament that today's students have an iffy moral compass, Diver declares himself optimistic, based on his experience with Reed students and the Honor Principle:

Fighting Malaria On the Cheap

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Malaria is a killer. Over 200 million people are infected every year, and over one million, mostly children, die as a result. It is not a lack of medicine that allows malaria to run rampant; a highly effective treatment called Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) has existed for years. The issue is cost: ACT's main ingredient, artemisinin, is prohibitively expensive. A research team led by Indiana State University professor Silas Cook '99 has found a way to change that.

Artemisinin is usually obtained in one of two ways: harvesting it from its natural home in the sweet wormwood plant, or using a bit of biological alchemy to create a synthetic version. Harvesting it from wormwood is a difficult process to begin with: combined with crop shortages caused by poor planning, natural disasters, and other unpredictable disruptions, this method has proven incapable of providing a consistent, cheap yield.

Ambassador of Art

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Ceramics instructor Geoffrey Pagen eyeballs a slab in the art building. Photos by Jenn McNeal '14

The art of Geoffrey Pagen [ceramics 1987–], director of Reed's ceramic program, will grace the exterior of the new U.S. embassy in Bujumbura, the capital city of Burundi.

Pagen has previously exhibited his work in Nouakchott, Mauritania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of the State Department's Art in Embassies program. Exhibitions feature original works from U.S. and host country artists that are compatible with the values of the host country and complement the architecture and interior design of the space. The installations foster visual diplomacy in more than 200 diplomatic venues worldwide. His piece for Burundi is a commissioned piece that will be permanently affixed to the exterior of the new embassy.

"Libations!" They Cried

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Monday morning, 8:45 a.m. First day of class. As the new crop of freshlings streamed towards Vollum for their first real Hum lecture, laden with backpacks, and clutching coffee cups and water bottles, they were greeted by an unusual spectacle: a veritable pantheon of Greek gods hooting and hollering on the steps outside the lecture hall.

"Libations!" cried the gods. "Libations to honor mighty Zeus!"

Convoking the Muse

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Students, parents, and professors descended in their multitudes upon the Great Lawn on Wednesday for Convocation 2012. Under the billowing big top, 358 newly-minted Reedies were formally inducted into the tribe by an equally fresh president: John Kroger kicked off the ceremony with his first public address as head of the college. Kroger remarked that what he has been struck most by in his first eight weeks cannot be conveyed in a brochure: "Reed is one of the warmest kindest, most welcoming institutions I have ever experienced," he said. "It feels like home."

Home may now be Anna Mann or Foster-Scholz for new students, but they came from all over the globe to get here. Keith Todd, dean of admission, laid out the impressive pilgrimage; students hailed from China, Kenya, New Mexico, and Jakarta, among others. They include more Texans than Minnesotans, several Nicholases and Katherines, not to mention a Thor and a Zeus.

Iron Man with a Heart of Gold

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Photo from Cathy Stephens's blog bringiton23.com. Todd tells Cathy, "You are an Ironman."

Todd Hesse never thought it would be a big deal.

At midnight on June 24, Hesse stood at the finish line of the Ironman race in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. He had completed the grueling triathlon, which comprises a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run earlier in the day. It hadn't been a particularly difficult race for Hesse, who works in alumni & parent relations at Reed and who ran an Ironman once before. He was doing it more because he wanted to spend time with his brother.

Reedies find Horror a Bit Queer in Article for "Film Matters"

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Reedies Kerstin Rosero '11, Stephanie Bastek '13, and Isabel Lockhart-Smith (2010-11 exchange student from the University of East Anglia), have published a collaboratively written article on Henri-Georges Clouzot's Les Diaboliques (1955) in the undergraduate film journal Film Matters.

The current issue of the journal focuses on questions of film genre. The article by Kerstin, Stephanie, and Isabel, "Queer Horror: Unearthing Sexual Difference in Les Diaboliques," argues that, through the denial of suture, the manipulation of filmic space, and a disruption of normative gender roles, Clouzot breaks classical conventions of horror, shifting audience expectations by disrupting the predictability of where, exactly, the horror will come from. The film, however, is all the more frightening for robbing the audience of the safety blanket of expectation. The authors term such an unconventional horror a kind of "queer horror," for its subversion of both sexual difference and genre. The three Reedies wrote the piece as a collaborative course assignment in English 328, Film Theory, taught by Becky Gordon, assistant professor of English and humanities, in spring 2011.

Annual Fund Surpasses Goal

Thumbnail image for Azmar.jpgReed alumni led record-breaking efforts for the Annual Fund this fiscal year, with key leadership provided by a group called Alumni Fundraising for Reed (AFR). From its inaugural meeting in November 2009 to today, the AFR has matured from a group of about 10 people brainstorming around a San Francisco conference table to an established steering committee with several working groups. Last year more than 90 AFR volunteers worked to strengthen Reed's Annual Fund. They are some of the scores of volunteers who donate countless hours to raising money for the college.

Alumni joined with parents and friends of Reed to give $3.78 million to the Annual Fund in the fiscal year ending June 30. This amounted to 5% over the goal of $3.6 million. Annual Fund dollars are up 60% over 10 years ago.

"It's wonderful to see Reedies coming together to support the college in this difficult economy," says Hugh Porter, vice president of college relations, "and enormously helpful to the college."

Massive Bench Graces SU Porch

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Photo by Miles Bryan '13

For years the porch by the Paradox Café has been graced by an anonymous series of sofas. Coffee-sipping students slouched across them at all hours; their fabric and stuffing distressed by wrappers, cigarette butts, and water damage. Eventually a student union manager would remove a couch for detoxification. A new couch would arrive. Repeat.

The installation of a set of beautiful wooden benches to the Paradox porch last week finally broke the fabric cycle. The 300- to 400-pound sectional benches were hand hewn from a magnificent Douglas fir that stood for nearly 200 years on the east side of campus before falling three winters ago.

Reedies Kickstart a Scuttling Wonder

The last wooden walking machine we saw on Reed's campus was a six-foot tall plywood behemoth trundling around the student union. Now David Lansdowne '09, one of the instigators of that project, has teemed up with fellow Reedies Dano Wall '09 and Hannah Monshontz '10 to make coffee-table size toy versions of that crawler.

The Reedies call their venture Small Wonder Toys, and their walking toy, named the Humble Velocipede, is minitaure version of Dutch artist Theo Jansen's Strandbeest. Lansdowne says that they built the first velocipede on a lark during the construction of their Strandbeest, but quickly realized their work was more attractive than other miniatures on the market. Aesthetics is a major reason why Small Wonder choses to use bamboo as the material for their toy, but the choice is also conceptual. "A plastic velocipede would just blend in with the rest of your house." Lansdowne said. "We use bamboo because it stands out as natural in an artificial environment."

Kroger Takes the Helm

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Reed's new president, John Kroger, took office today and has already been spotted at strategic campus locations like Eliot Circle, commons, and the Paradox Café, leather satchel in hand.

Personally, I'm excited about Kroger's presidency for three reasons. The first is his book Convictions, a look at his career as a federal prosecutor fighting mobsters, drug kingpins, and Enron executives. It's provocative, philosophical, confessional, and a cracking good read.

Will Reed College Go the Way of Newspapers?

Thumbnail image for ColinDiver_reunions12.jpgLikening the internet to a tsunami, Reed College President Colin Diver warned the information wave that decimated daily newspapers now threatens undergraduate institutions. He offered a compelling look at the future of colleges like Reed in a June 2 speech entitled "Prix Fixe Education in an à la Carte World: The Impact of the Information Revolution on the Future of Liberal Arts Colleges." Following are excerpts from that speech at the Foster-Scholz Club and Annual Recognition Luncheon.

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