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News from the Reed College public affairs office

Laughing without Lips: the Last Lecture

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The final Hum 110 lecture of the year is one of Reed's longstanding rites of passage. After eight long months of Homer, Plato, and Sophocles, freshlings often feel a little rowdy—and the fact that the lecture typically takes place on the Friday of Renn Fayre only amplifies the sense of mischief. (One year several students actually removed their clothes during the lecture.)

In 2003, professor Jan Mieszkowski [German 1997–] volunteered to give the last lecture on St. Augustine's Confessions, a duty he reprised until 2011 when the syllabus was revised. (St. Augustine may belong to the ages, but he no longer belongs to Hum 110.)

Professor Mieszkowski delivered the lecture, by turns provocative, funny, and profound, at Reunions 2012 to an audience of appreciative alumni.

Grazing at Gastronomy Northwest

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Photo by Leah Nash

By Angie Jabine '79

Vegetarian banh mi, ice-brewed coffee, salted watermelon, and a luscious Imperial Black Saison beer were just a few of the delicacies that drew throngs of alumni to Gastronomy Northwest at Reedfayre '12. For two hours, the student union was packed solid with Reedies vying for sips and samples, while taking care not to tread on various toddlers underfoot.

Griffin to Make Triumphant Return to Rose Parade

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After more than 75 years' absence, a Reed College float will once again join the Portland Rose Festival's Grand Floral Parade, taking place this Saturday, June 9.

Reed first entered a float into the Rose Parade in 1936; although Reedies have played many important roles in the festival since, our beloved institution has never again been represented by its own float.

The Magic Hand Plane

When people come to Gary Rogowski '72 with questions about making a living as a woodworker, he sets them straight.

"It's a terrible way to make a living," he says. "You want to drive a Porsche? Forget it. But it's a great way to live."

Throughout Reunions week, Gary led visiting alumni on tours of his studio in an elegant, old industrial building in Southeast Portland. Amidst the smells of wood, the scratch of sandpaper, and walls lined with hand drills, Japanese pull saws, and clamps, guests posed question about such things as wood pegs versus nails.

Class of '12 Unleashed

2012_Commencement_253.jpgThe bright May morning was filled with enthusiasm and laughter, as family and friends descended on campus to celebrate Reed's 98th Commencement with the 288 members of the class of 2012 under the majestic white tent on the Great Lawn.

The ceremony began to the rousing (or as one senior commented: "awful") sound of bagpipes. Graduating seniors applauded faculty members who guided them during their time at Reed. In an act of symmetry and acclaim, the graduates were then applauded by their professors after they had collected their shiny new diplomas.

In his last commencement speech, President Colin Diver poked fun at graduating with Reed on the "10-year plan." He was surprised nonetheless, when Don Berg '12 shouted from the audience that he had gone to Reed on the 25-year plan. (Don first arrived on campus in 1986!)

Reed Prof Finds Fractal Geometry in Mouse Cortex

Fractals, the bizarre geometrical shapes that undergird natural phenomena from snowflakes to lightning bolts, have been discovered in a new and striking location: the synapses of the brain.

In a recent paper, professor Richard Crandall '69 [physics 1978–] and colleagues at the Reed Center for Advanced Computation found intricate fractal patterns in synapses in the somatosensory neocortex of a mouse brain.

Ordeal of Fortune

Grand, Band, Sand, Land, Gland: all words that contain the right letters but the wrong sound, as Zach Barron '12 discovered to his dismay on last Monday's Wheel of Fortune.

The agonizing video of Zach's bonus round gaffe—in which he reached the right answer a second after the buzzer—has gone viral in the last few days:

Reedies jazz it up

piano.jpgFor more than 100 years, Reed students have written papers, conducted physics experiments, and even occasionally danced to the sound of jazz. Now a new generation is clamoring for its turn in the spotlight at a storied music club next week.

The Reed College Jazz Ensemble will perform at Jimmy Mak's on Tuesday, May 8, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The legendary Mel Brown Septet, with Gordon Lee (Reed's jazz coach) on piano, follows the Reed bands. There will be a $3 cover for the Reed bands and a $6 cover for Mel Brown Septet.

Lee had this to say about how the Reed jazz ensembles have grown exponentially (from two to four) over the last three years: "There is a hunger for these young people to express themselves musically through the American discipline of jazz. There is hope for the future!"

Workin' It with Richard Simmons

Fashion isn't the only 1980s cultural iconography recently spotted on the Reed campus: on Wednesday, Richard Simmons made a Gray Fund-sponsored appearance to motivate and inspire the Reed community during reading week.

IMG_9385.jpgSimmons spent the first part of the day roaming around campus in his short-shorts and sequined top, dishing out hugs, kisses, and compliments to students, faculty, and staff. (Sadly, I hear that President Diver was out of the office when Richard dropped by.) By shortly before 3 p.m., Simmons was outside the sports center greeting people who were dresseed in their workout best and and ready to hit the gym for a straight-out-of-the-late-twentieth century aerobics routine.

Witty and self-effacing, Simmons worked the crowd a bit before heading up on stage to get the aerobicizing started. Simmons's love of people, life, and exercise shone through everything he said and did; he was euphoric in the presence of hundreds of participants and buoyed by the tunes blaring out of the sound system. He ribbed the folks who chose to watch rather than dance, worked in a centennial joke, and scoffed at those who couldn't touch their toes during the stretching exercises. Participants waved their arms, grapevined, kicked, and strutted. Simmons invited a wide-ranging selection of people up on stage to dance with him, encouraging men to doff their shirts and everyone to be proud of their participation. So strong was the positive vibe in the room that I don't think it was possible to walk through the door without cracking a smile and breaking out the jazz hands.

Gray Fund Turns 20 (gasp!)

John Gray.jpgDeafening drums, sky-towering stilt-walkers and heart-rending Broadway numbers exhilarated the Reed community on April 20 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on the 20th anniversary of the Gray Fund.

Since its establishment in 1992, the Gray Fund has brought together students, faculty, and staff in a range of activities—from hot air balloon rides, to sailing down the Columbia River, to attending the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Events are free of charge and substance-free, allowing all members of the Reed community to participate. It has been 20 years since Betty Gray gave $2,000,000 to Reed so that the students, in her husband's words, "could have some fun." Her generosity was celebrated in style at the Schnitz as part of Reed's ongoing Centennial.

The revelries started off with a bang—literally—when MarchFourth, the boisterous Portland marching band, started playing in the commons quad. They led students in a parade across campus to Eliot Circle, where students boarded yellow school buses to go downtown to the Schnitz and to get first pick of the seats in the auditorium.

The Pelting of the Freshmen

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Eliot Circle erupted in a flurry of snowballs this morning as upperclassmen enacted a relatively new tradition, the Pelting of the Freshmen, after the final Hum 110 lecture of the academic year.

Unidentified upperclassmen (rumored to include Seth Douglas '13 and Jeremy Lawrence '12) drove a pickup truck to Mount Hood, loaded the bed with snow, and lay in wait for the unwary freshlings to emerge from Vollum. Cheers rent the air as the youngsters streamed down the steps and the icy fusillade commenced.

Kroger Named Prez

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Reed has just announced that Oregon Attorney General John Kroger will be the college's 15th president.

"John impressed us with his brilliance and clarity, advocacy for the primacy of the liberal arts education, and his commitment to the mission and vision of Reed College," said board chair Roger Perlmutter '73. "We are very excited about his arrival on campus this summer."

Freshlings Trounce Seniors in Soccer Tourney

soccertourney_ii.jpg Emotions rose and fell faster then a rubber ball on a hardwood floor during Reed's annual indoor soccer tournament.

For five hours on Friday, April 13, Reed's strongest soccer players battled for the championship and its rewards: plastic medals bestowed by soccer coach and event organizer Larry Beutler.

The soccer tournament follows on the heels of the March Madness basketball tournament, and takes a similar form; eight teams of six players each square off with round-robin-style elimination.

Reedies Descend on Portland

Almost 200 Reed students, alumni, professors, and staff volunteered their time for the Centennial Day of Service on Saturday, restoring native habitat in Oaks Bottom, building a toolshed for a day-labor community center, and repairing books for low-income children.

The event, organized by SEEDS (Students for Education, Empowerment, and Direct Service), celebrated Reed's tradition of community service with a battery of projects throughout Portland that left a positive mark on the city—and on the participants.

SEEDS earned glowing reviews from students. Jennifer Caamano '12, who has volunteered with SEEDS all four of her years at Reed and now works as an intern with the Lane After-School Education with Reed (LASER) program, enthused that "it's super easy to just hop in a van and do service projects... It makes it really accessible." Shelly Skolfield '14, who reported having worked with SEEDS for "seven minutes," was no less enthusiastic. "It seems like it's going to be awesome," she said.

"Invisible" Indians Converge on Campus

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The thunder of drums and the syncopated chant of voices echoed through Eliot Chapel last month when traditional dancers swept a captivated audience of students and faculty into a culture, a community--even a world--often overlooked by those outside of it: the Native American community.

The dance introduced Reed's fifth annual Vine Deloria lecture, a panel discussion titled "Making the Visible Invisible," referring to the striking fact that Portland has the ninth largest Native American population in the United States, including more than 20,000 residents drawn from 380 different tribes, according to a recent report titled "The Native American Community in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile," released by the Coalition of Communities of Color and PSU.The panel discussion served as a powerful counterpoint to the energy and brightness of the dance, and presented a sobering portrait of prejudice, racism, and repeated attempts by mainstream culture to define Indians out of existence.

Blue Like Jazz unleashes dogma

 

BLJ_blue_bridge.jpgA six pack of beer as payment for a lesson in how to ride a tall bike? This was the confession made by Marshall Allman, the lead actor in Blue Like Jazz, at an advance screening of this independent film at Reed on Wednesday night (the movie opens around the country today). The preview for students, staff, and faculty included a Q&A at which we learned about Allman's preparation for his role as Don Miller, a person of faith who finds his way from being dogmatic to authentic during his time at Reed College. The character of Don was based upon some real-life experiences of author Don Miller, who audited Hum 110 at Reed and then stuck around as adviser to the student group "Oh, for Christ's Sake!" for a couple of years; he went on to include his Reed interlude in his spiritual memoir, Blue Like Jazz (2003), upon which the film is loosely based. Don was present at the Q&A, along with the director, Steve Taylor, and three of the actors (Allman, Tania Raymonde, and Justin Welborn); they were a genial group and even encouraged the Reed crowd to indulge in a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 viewing of it.

 

Fighting for Somalia

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Reedies for Somalia held a fundraiser to help relieve the destructive famine ravishing the east African nation at Kaul auditorium last weekend, drawing roughly 100 supporters.

"Famine is declared when 2 in 10,000 people die each day," said Hamayoun Jamali, a representative of Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), who just returned from relief work in Africa. "In Somalia up to 15 children out of 10,000 die every day." He also said that even a few dollars could make a huge difference to the ongoing human disaster. For example, it costs $71 to support an average Somali family of seven or eight for an entire month.

Our Brilliant Students

With the flowering of the cherry trees on Eliot Circle comes the notice of the spring crop of student awards and fellowships. We salute the following Reed students for their scholarship, dedication and inventiveness.

Davis Projects for Peace

Two seniors in biochemistry and molecular biology, Gabe Butterfield '12 of Sedro-Woolley, Washington, and Michael Gonzales '12 of Round Rock, Texas, have designed a grassroots project in Nicaragua this summer for Davis Projects for Peace.

Reed Conquers the Globe

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"Reed jus ah stress mi out…and that means reed is stressing me out," said Shanee Harriot '15 setting off the audience into splits of laughter. Shanee's Jamaican-English creole routine was only one of the performances that delighted the audience at the International Festival, held on April 1. There were no stand up acts but Shanee made sure that everyone at the SU that afternon had a good laugh, "jah know ah weh mi ah go do fi get dis ya work done, mi salt to bauxide!" (Oh my God what am I going to do to get this work done? I'm screwed!)

International Festival, organized by the International Student Advisory Board (ISAB) is an annual celebration of Reed's cultural diversity. The center of the festival was the student union, which had vibrant flags of all the countries represented at Reed draped across its rafters. "I didn't know Reed had students from so many countries," remarked one observer who dropped into the SU because he heard music and laughter streaming out. That was exactly one of the reasons why ISAB was eager to promote the presence of the 116 international students from 35 nations at Reed by having everyone share a piece of their culture.

Feeding the Famine

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Reed has a long tradition of humanitarian activism. In the 1930s students picketed a Nazi ship docked in Portland harbor. In the 1980s students took over Eliot Hall to protest apartheid in South Africa. Students and alumni are engaged in humanitarian efforts across the globe, such as Namaste Kathmandu, founded by alumni, which provides relief to families devastated by the civil war in Nepal.

An exciting upcoming event promises to follow in these noble footsteps. Last semester Erica Maranowski '15 formed a student group, Reedies for Somalia, to raise funds to fight the famine in Somalia, labeled by the United Nations to be the most acute hunger crisis in the world.

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