Dimly lit pathways, dusty pipes, graffiti, and intense humidity. At Reed, that could mean one place on campus—the steam tunnels.
One of the attractions during Reunions: Reedfayre '12 was a tour of Reed's mysterious steam tunnels by the Physical Plant's own Steve Yeadon. The labyrinthine route, which made one feel like Indiana Jones on a dangerous mission, started from the basement of Physical Plant, where two gigantic boilers (usually fired by gas, but sometimes by oil, if gas is too expensive) generate the steam that gives the tunnels their purpose.
The tour then wound its way through the depths of Reed, as visitors took care not to bump into the cobwebbed walls or pipes. The abundant graffiti on the pipes, preserved through the years (because as one alum mentioned, the pipes were the only things not whitewashed over for commencement every year), proved highly entertaining.
As an alumnus of both Reed and Willamette Week (where I worked as a reporter for many years), I was fascinated by WW's recent cover story about John Kroger, our next president.
The story, written by Pulitzer Prize winner Nigel Jaquiss, got a lot of stuff right. Kroger's colorful past as marine, professor, and mafia prosecutor comes through strong and clear, as does Reed's reputation as an intellectual powerhouse. Moreover, WW gives us an insider's view into several fascinating political scuffles.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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!)
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.
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:
For 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!"
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.
Simmons 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.
Deafening 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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
A 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.
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.
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.