"Concentrate on your breath and you'll make a better looking L. Breathe in. Breathe out on the downward stroke."
Nearly 30 students, faculty, and alumni hold their Speedball pens at a 45-degree angle and exhaling, grab the baseline with a downward stroke and finish with an exit serif. Next up is the letter O.
"As the O goes, so goes the alphabet," says calligraphy instructor Inga Dubay. "You'll be glad we didn't start with the O, it's not the easiest of letters. But it is a very lovely one in Italic. In handwriting we do the O all in one stroke, but in calligraphy we do a two-stroke O. Please do not do more than three at one time. You will be ill if you do."
One of the most exciting developments at Reed this fall is the return of calligraphy. As alumni know, calligraphy has a long and distinguished history at our college. From 1939 to 1984, Reed's humanist calligraphy program, under the direction of Lloyd Reynolds and Robert Palladino, inspired countless Reed students who pursued distinguished careers in the visual arts, typography, design, and literature, including luminaries like Steve Jobs and typeface designer (and Macarthur genius grant winner) Charles Bigelow '67.
The new Reed Scriptorium is part of the Cooley Gallery's new Calligraphy Initiative (the brainchild of Stephanie Snyder '91) and was developed and is coordinated by Gregory MacNaughton '89. Stephanie and Greg have both shown immense leadership in bringing this vital program back to the college. I dropped by the scriptorium the other night and it was packed with current students, staff, faculty, and old Reedies alike. Take a look at the Cooley's beautiful calligraphy Tumblr for more information about the program.
The Columbus Day Storm is generally reckoned to be the most powerful extratropical cyclone to hit the United States in the 20th century. Starting October 12, 1962, with peak gusts of 100 miles per hour, it rampaged through California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, killing 23 people, destroying 84 homes, severely damaging 5,000 more, and wreaking overall havoc estimated at $170 million.
What's this got to do with Reed? Nothing, except that the storm has sometimes been attributed to divine retribution after Reed defeated Columbia Christian College that day 19–7 on the football field.
Almost any Reedie would tell you that they did not embark on the life of the mind for its monetary potential. Yet few would turn down the opportunity to earn some quick cash by flexing their mental muscle. On this week's episode of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Daniel Herman '15 did just that.
Daniel was well prepared for the show: having been on academic quiz teams in high school, and currently working towards a degree in math and physics he breezed through the first few questions. The question of which presidential couple had been married longest made him pause (answer: George and Barbara Bush), but he deployed a lifeline and continued on unabated. By the end of round one Daniel had $68,000 in the bank, and one lifeline left.
Plutarch's On the Glory of Athens relates the story of Eucles, the Greek who ran 26 miles from Marathon to Athens bearing the news that the Athenians had miraculously defeated Xerxes' army. After declaring, "We have won!" Eucles promptly died of exhaustion.
Last week bio major Ethan Linck '13 ran almost four times further, jogging 93 miles around Mt. Rainier on the Wonderland trail in just under 27 hours, the fastest unaided solo run ever recorded on that trail. Fortunately, he lived to tell the tale!
Ethan has been running cross country and track since high school, but got interested in 'ultra-running'—punishing long distance runs—at Reed, inspired by the heterogenous terrain and the strong ultra-running community in the Pacific Northwest. On his running blog he describes building up to the Wonderland trail: summer frustrations with similar runs, growing confidence in his own fitness, unexpectedly beautiful weather, and senior anxiety about leaving Oregon with so many adventures unexplored. All this led to the question that has pushed so many Reedies to do something outrageous: "Why not?"
Metaphysical education. Lifeguard Eliya Cohen '15 presents philosophical whiteboard to inquisitive Reed swimmers. Photos by Jenn McNeal '14.
The German philosopher Martin Heidegger said the best place to think philosophy was in a hut deep in the Black Forest while a storm raged outside. That may have been true for Heidegger, but it is not necessarily true at Reed, where a robust metaphysical debate has broken out in an unlikely location--the swimming pool.
Visitors to the sports center will notice that the poolside whiteboard no longer displays lap times and opening hours; over the last month it has sprouted a fascinating sequence of questions, claims, and rejoinders that have grown to fill every square inch. The debate began when philosophy major and lifeguard Eliya Cohen '15 asked fellow philosophy major Finn Terdal '12 to jot down some problems of metaphysics on the whiteboard to ponder during her shifts. The questions soon provoked students, alumni, professors, philosophers, physicists, and other sentient life forms who frequent the pool.
Made it out to the Reed Leadership Summit last weekend. Got to see President Kroger's inauguration. Glad to hear he's taking Hum 110 this year! (I wonder if he's doing the homework, too?) Speaking of Hum 110, I attended Friday's lecture by David Garrett, professor of history & humanities. Somehow, I feel like I understand things better. David said Hesiod thought, "The right action at the wrong time is the wrong action." Chew on that!
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
President John Kroger braces for impact as rubber ball of doom hurtles towards its target. Photo by Alex Krafcik '15, courtesy of the Quest.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!"
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.