History major Christian Acuña ’14 demolishes flimsy board of mediocrity in South Korea
Congratulations to history major Christian Acuña ’14, who won a spot in the U.S. State Department’s prestigious Critical Language Scholarship program last summer, spending eight weeks studying Korean at Yonsei University Wonju Campus in South Korea.
Around 610 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students were selected to participate in the program. Each participant spends seven to ten weeks in the country whose language they are studying enrolled in intensive language courses and taking advantage of the culturally enriching experiences the CLS program offers. For Christian, such excursions included a Korean archery lesson, a traditional wedding ceremony with tea tasting, and a Taekwondo lesson. Scholarships are offered in thirteen languages: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish, and Urdu.
Christian went into the program never having spoken a word of Korean and considers the program to be an effective and comprehensive way to learn a language without prior experience. For him, the most rewarding part of the experience was the weekly volunteer work at a local orphanage. He was grateful for this opportunity because it gave him a chance to give back to a community that was welcoming to him. For the first week of the program, he stayed with a Korean host family and in the weeks following continued to visit them on weekends for dinner.
Snapshot of the ForeverScape by Vance Feldman ’05
The universe of Vance Feldman ’05 explodes with jumbled houses, bridges and aqueducts, businessmen shaking hands, dolphins jumping out of rivers, and spacemen kicking their feet back in lawn chairs. To call his work monumental would be something of an understatement. Modestly titled the ForeverScape, his drawing rivals some of the longest art pieces in the world. Spanning roughly 650 feet from left to right—the equivalent of two football fields—the ForeverScape is assembled out of 700 sheets of letter-size paper and grows longer by the day.
The ForeverScape started in September, 2009, when Vance was in between jobs and found himself sitting in a bar with a ream of paper. He started aimlessly sketching a landscape and when the first page ended saw no reason to stop. The first couple hundred pages, drawn in ballpoint pen, feature a smoggy, industrial landscape littered with crowded buildings twisting into each other and spilling onto the road and barbed wire fences about to snag innocent hummingbirds. These give way to apocalyptic scenes of civilization being swallowed by the sea. Squid and clownfish lazily swim above a submerged city whose buildings are wreathed in slimy weeds and whose skyscrapers are tickling the belly of a whale. One scene depicts several men attempting to subdue and photograph what appears to be the Loch Ness monster. Later, after Vance switched to using a Sharpie, the sea becomes the sky and we zoom into a psychedelic rendition of outer space, filled with boats and clams and astronauts playing badminton in reclining lawn chairs.
The chairs pay homage to Prof. Michael Knutson [art 1982–], who once told Vance that all he painted for several years were lawn chairs. Prof. Knutson likes the piece so much that he shows it to his art classes every year. The ForeverScape demonstrates, he says, “an incredible imagination, focus and energy.” In a subtler way, it also evokes a childhood loss and a lesson Vance learned at Reed.
Meaningless arrows, questionable data.
The Atlantic published a great article today about the hollowness of the college rankings compiled by US News and World Report. Written by retired Boston College professor John Tierney, the piece highlights the problems that plague the US News system—dubious data, arbitrary rules, and a one-size-fits-all approach, to name a few.
Of course, these were the same problems that persuaded Reed’s then-president Steve Koblik to pull out of the USN rankings back in 1995. It’s a shame to see that matters haven’t gotten much better.
Reed still doesn’t participate in USN, although the magazine insists on ranking us anyway. Which is too bad—as Tierney points out, the USN system remains surprisingly popular, despite an unrelenting stream of criticism through the decades. On the other hand, the last several years have witnessed the rise of more comprehensive alternatives. Perhaps one day they'll supplant the USN juggernaut. In the meantime, USN has released its latest report. Like Tierney, I’ll probably peek at the rankings, but—as they say in the ads for the Oregon lottery—for entertainment purposes only.
Reed College is pleased to welcome 19 new and visiting faculty members, including three alumni.
Rebecca LaLonde ’01 returns to campus as an assistant professor of chemistry. After earning her BA in chemistry at Reed, she obtained a MS in chemistry from Stanford and a PhD in chemistry from UC Berkeley. She has worked as an associate scientist at Dow Chemical and as a research associate in medicinal chemistry at Genetech.
Renowned physicist Dr. Kip Thorne will give a lecture at Reed on “The Warped Side of Our Universe: From the Big Bang to Black Holes and Gravitational Waves” on Tuesday, August 27, 2013—which may be tomorrow, today, or yesterday, depending on your frame of reference.
Dr. Thorne, a retired professor of theoretical physics at California Institute of Technology, is one of the world’s leading experts on gravitational waves, black holes, and wormholes—hypothetical “shortcuts” in the space-time continuum that give rise to the theoretical possibility of time travel.
Dr. Thorne is on campus to receive the 2013 Howard Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science and Technology. The award was created as a tribute to the late Howard Vollum ’36, a Reed trustee, and a lifelong friend of the college.
Margaret Balk ’13 has won a Fulbright grant to do research at the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. She will collaborate with Professor Olivier Luminet, examining how emotional competence affects the quality of life in children with Type I diabetes.
Emotional competence refers to the ability to pay attention to one’s bodily sensations, confront one’s emotions, and communicate them to others. Quality of life can be measured by how much the illness limits activity, the frequency or severity of the physical symptoms, and to what extent the disease causes negative emotions.
Luminet’s findings show that Type I diabetic children with lower emotional competence have worse glycemic control, which is an objective measure of patients’ management of their diabetes.
Linguist Margit Bowler ’11 doing fieldwork with Warlpiri elder in Australia.
Margit Bowler ’11, Quinn Langdon ’11, and Christina Porter ’13 all won fellowships from the National Science Foundation this year as part of the NSF’s prestigious Graduate Research Fellowships Program.
The program grants each fellow $32,000 a year for three years to pursue a specific research proposal, plus $12,000 a year to the individual's institution. Students may apply to the program their senior year or during their first two years of graduate school.
Margit Bowler ’11 will do fieldwork in the language of Warlpiri, spoken solely by approximately 3,000 indigenous people in central Australia. Her project represents a continuation of the research she began thanks to a Fulbright Scholarship she won in 2011; she is thankful to NSF for the opportunity to continue her research, as she believes Warlpiri should not be studied without a longterm commitment to its speakers and their communities. She is currently at UCLA researching Warlpiri semantics and syntax although she occasionally delves into Warlpiri phonology.
Prof. Jack Dudman ’42, legendary dean of students
Prof. Jack Dudman ’42 played many roles at Reed—often simultaneously. Student leader, proud graduate, inspiring teacher, patient mentor. But he is probably best remembered as dean of students, an office he held from 1963 to 1983—during which time he helped hundreds of students through some of the most difficult times of their lives.
John Almon Dudman was born in Iowa in 1920 and majored in mathematics at Reed, where he made a deep impression on Prof. Robert Rosenbaum [math 1939–53]. “Jack was the best of the group,” Rosenbaum wrote later. “Not just in seriousness and diligence, although he clearly held his own in these qualities—but in the imagination that he brought to his study, and in the evident pleasure that he took from beginning to see the roles that mathematics plays in human culture.”
Dudman was elected student body president and became an active student advocate. During that time, two male students were involved in a homosexual relationship which somehow became public; college administrators were determined to put an end to it. Dudman argued that the students’ relationship was a private matter and that the college had no business meddling in their affairs. Sadly, his arguments fell on deaf ears and the students were expelled.
As everyone knows, Steve Jobs did not graduate from Reed College. (He may, in fact, be one of the most famous “non-graduates” in modern history). Nonetheless, his experience at Reed left a profound impression on him, as he reiterated on many occasions.
This week, the biopic Jobs, starring Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs (and James Woods as Dean Jack Dudman ’42), is being released to theaters around the world. In light of the enduring fascination with all things Steve, we decided to pull together some information about his time on campus. Visit our page on Steve Jobs at Reed for more details.
Visionary. Iconoclast. Rebel. Even though Steve Jobs was officially enrolled for just one semester, he was the quintessential Reedie.
It is far beyond the scope of this obituary to trace his protean career at Apple or assess his accomplishments and failures (and there were many of each). Classmates hardly need to be reminded of how he transformed the personal computer, the cell phone, and the music player, and how those devices in turn revolutionized a dozen industries.
But it is worth taking a closer look at Steve’s time on campus, because Reed was a much deeper part of him than one might think from his official transcript. In his crystalline intensity, his obsession with big ideas, his hunger for perfection, he personified the classic Reed archetype.
COURTESY OF JEREMY STONE ’99
In the winter of 1996–97, a band of Reed students including Justin Campbell ’99 and Colin McCluney ’99 took the Doyle Owl on a road trip to California. On a whim, they stopped by Steve Jobs' house in Palo Alto and rang the bell. They were floored when Steve emerged, admired the Owl, talked about Reed, and posed for this photo in Justin’s parents’ minivan. “He was really nice about it,” Justin says.
(From Steve Jobs' Convocation speech on August 27, 1991, at which he was given the Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science and Technology.)
Thank you very much for this. It means a lot to me. I’m a peculiar Reed alumnus, as many of you know. I never graduated from Reed—although that doesn’t make that unusual, I suppose.
But maybe more unusual: I ran out of money after one semester here at Reed, so I dropped out, but then I dropped in for another year-and-a-half. So, I was actually here by choice. This is somewhat more unusual. And I had some experiences here that I’m sure many of you will have as freshmen and throughout your years here, that have stayed with me my whole life. I was thinking of some of them to recount to you.
Reedies have known for some time that Comrades of the Quest is a signal achievement. Since its publication last summer, the magisterial oral history of Reed, edited by John Sheehy ’82, has been devoured by Reedies on campus and elsewhere (check out these tidbits that were excerpted in Reed magazine). The book quickly became an invaluable tool for alumni to understand their school and their role in its history. Lately, however, Comrades and the Oral History Project—which produced the enormous treasure trove of interviews which are the basis for the book—have received recognition in the wider world as extraordinary works of scholarship.
The Oral History Association has just named the Reed College Oral History Project as the recipient of its prestigious Elizabeth Mason Large Project Award, given for outstanding works of oral history. The awards committee found that the project had been completed at “consistently high standards of professionalism, ethics, and scholarly rigor,” and that it made “important contributions to the social and cultural history of education.”
Ted Reich ’51 and Barbara Weeks Shettler ’50 were honored for distinguished service during Reunions at Reed in June.
A celebration of the life of longstanding Reed trustee Ted Reich ’51 will be held at the Portland Yacht Club, 2–5 p.m., on Thursday, August 22, 2013.
Classic car enthusiast, sailor, mountaineer, investor, and philanthropist, Ted was one of the world’s foremost authorities on Rolls-Royce and Bentley motorcars. His fascination with automobiles began in early childhood. His father, a surgeon in Cleveland, Ohio, taught Ted to appreciate the design and details of fine motorcars, and Ted was enthralled when his cousin from England arrived at the Reich home in a Bentley. “By the time I was four, I could tell a Duesenberg from a Cadillac.”
Ted came to Portland to attend Reed, where he earned a BA in psychology. “I viewed my years at Reed as positive in virtually all respects,” he said later. A competitive athlete in high school, Ted loved mountain climbing and skiing in the Pacific Northwest. He hiked to the summits of the Cascade Range, and climbed Mount Hood seven times. On his twenty-first birthday, he climbed the Matterhorn in Switzerland. At Reed, he joined the Boar’s Head Ensemble, and faithfully sang at the annual holiday party for 65 years.
The 2014 edition of Princeton Review’s The Best 378 Colleges reveals a Reed that is both familiar to Reedies and one that exists somewhere on a plane between Reedlore and reality.
Reed was #1 in the category of “Best Classroom Experience,” #2 in “Professors with the Highest Marks,” #4 in “Students Who Study the Most,” and #19 in the categories of “Great Financial Aid” and “Most Accessible Professors.”
Kim Durkin ’13 commented on the outmoded stereotype where Reed landed at #4 in the category, “Birkenstock-Wearing, Tree-Hugging, Clove-Smoking Vegetarians.” “Is this 1980? There are plenty of vegetarians, and we do love our trees (the college has a website dedicated to them), but that’s not the picture I get when I think of Reed.”
Reed Switchboard, the networking site created to share Reed love, has been given a boost by Wieden & Kennedy as part of the ad firm’s Portland Incubator Experiment (PIE). Switchboard is the networking brainchild of Mara Zepeda ’02 and Sean Lerner ’10. They created the website so current Reedies and alumni could share their work experiences, offer assistance, post jobs, and give community members a leg up in a post-recession and increasingly competitive job market.
PIE had an ultra-competitive selection process, with only seven tech start-ups picked out of over 400 applicants. Switchboard, a Reedie endeavor, manned by Reedies, and beta tested on Reedies, was one of the lucky seven. Each startupreceives $20,000 in seed money, office space at Wieden & Kennedy, and three months of hands on mentorship from past PIE winners and other successful technological ventures.
Mara and Sean are hoping to use the money and expertise they gain through PIE to open up Switchboard to other college communities, offering the same basic format that connects Reedies with Reedies, but instead connecting Clarkies with Clarkies, and so on.
This summer finds Reed students interning at the Paris Review, studying the art of Japanese woodblock printing in Kyoto, farming organically in the Provence, and interning at a law firm.
Learning for its own sake is a trope frequently invoked to describe a liberal arts education. Conventional wisdom, however, holds that employers flock to those college graduates with quantifiable workplace skills. Increasingly a summer internship serves as the bridge for exhibiting skills that will translate to success in the job market.
Reed’s office of career services works with students to guide them in career development, hone their interviewing skills, advise on job applications, and help them access a community of partners that includes parents and alumni. One key initiative is helping students identify and secure summer internships.
Hausu wins acclaim for debut album "Total." Left to right: Carl Hedman ’13, Benjamin Friars-Funkhouser ’14, Alexander Maguire ’14, Santiago Leyba ’14.
Deep in a forgotten corner of the Gray Campus Center basement, down the hall from the comic book library, Reed’s band practice room (BPR) is anything but glamorous. But for many Reedies it is a hallowed space, a place that (between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. on weekdays, all day weekends) can incubate their energy and talent. For the last three years one group of Reedies in particular have made the BPR home. They call themselves Hausu, and this summer all their hard work is finally paying off.
Hausu is composed of Carl Hedman ’13, Benjamin Friars-Funkhouser ’14, Alexander Maguire ’14, and Santiago Leyba ’14. They are rockers in the vein of 1990s indie bands like Sebadoh and Sonic Youth, and their debut album, Total, is full of interlocking guitar pieces and post-punk snarl. Total was released by Hardly Art Records on June 25. So far it has met with nearly unanimous acclaim. The Portland Mercury called “one of the finest debut records in recent memory,” while the website Allmusic called the album “infectious,” and wrote that its single, “Leaning Mess,” felt like a “distant classic.” The album’s release was timed to coincide with Hausu’s six-week, cross-country tour, which took them from Portland to New York City and back.
Hausu recorded Total over winter break, but the band had been honing the songs on the album since their first jam three years ago. It wasn’t always easy for the band members to align their schedules: last year Carl wrote his thesis in economics, while Ben, Alex, and Santi all took the junior qual (in art history, anthropology, and studio art, respectively). “it was difficult to make time to play the music,” Carl said, “but it was an important catharsis for us to deal with academic stress.”
Fanning themselves with their programs in a standing-room-only Eliot Hall chapel, the audience was transported straight to the barrios of Buenos Aires as the violins, basses, bandoneones and piano plunged into a sultry tango beat.
The nine players kicked off the grand finale of the Reed College Tango Music Institute, held June 23-30, 2013. For the next two hours, 53 musicians of varying experience and combinations showcased what they’d learned that week under the tutelage of four of the world’s preeminent tango musicians. Bassist Pablo Aslan, pianist Octavio Brunetti, and bandoneonist Julian Hasse, all Argentine-born, and U.S. violinist Nick Danielson capped the evening with a couple of virtuosic romps that lifted the applauding crowd to its feet, stomping for an encore. Many in the crowd refused to sit back down until they’d tangoed well past midnight at the milonga that followed in Student Union, led by Alex Krebs ’99.
This summer Dominic Finocchiaro ’11 will present his new play, complex, at Portland’s JAW: A Playwrights Festival. He was one of four playwrights—chosen from more than 200 submissions worldwide—who will collaborate with theatre professionals from across the country before presenting their works in staged, public readings.
Sponsored by Portland Center Stage, the two-week JAW (short for Just Add Water) festival, spotlights new works selected through a blind submission process. complex will be presented at 4 p.m. on Friday, July 26, at the Armory. The story takes place a big city apartment complex where residents are dying in strange and gruesome ways. One tenant sets out to stop the bloodshed and mayhem.