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Annual Fund Raises $4.5M for World Change

The Annual Fund raised a record-breaking $4.5 million in FY 2016. No fewer than 4,446 alumni stepped up to make a gift to Reed. Photo by Leah Nash

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap,” author Robert Louis Stevenson admonished, “but by the seed you plant.”

Alumni, parents, and friends of Reed seeded future generations of Reedies when they came together to give a record-breaking $4.545 million in the Annual Fund drive for fiscal year 2016, which ended in June. And no fewer than 4,446 alumni stepped up to make a gift to Reed.

Reasons for giving were as varied as the givers. Scott Beutel ’06 exemplified the motivation of many alumni who made a gift. “Reed taught me how to think and how to live,” he said. “Even if I can’t give a lot, I want to give something because Reed still influences me every day.”

Tackle Climate Change—Go Birdwatching

Esther Forbyn ’16 has vision (and a keen eye for birds). Katie Pelletier

Bald eagles. Great Blue Herons. Mallard ducklings.

Anyone who has taken a study break to walk the forested Reed Canyon trails looking for birds and wildlife knows that connecting with the natural environment creates a sense of belonging and stewardship. Getting city-dwellers into green spaces and urban forests is an effective way to create a culture of conservation. But environmental studies–history major Esther Forbyn ’16 found that some Portlanders, especially traditionally marginalized groups like low-income residents and recent immigrants, can feel excluded from these spaces. Not only are these members of the community missing out on the benefits of communing with nature, the conversation about solutions to environmental problems is lacking important voices.

Religion major wins Class of ’21 Award

Photo by Foster Seybert

What is religion, exactly? A sacred book? A belief in an invisible force? A system of morality? A way of life?

Religion major Pema McLaughlin ’16 spent many hours wrestling with this question—so simple yet so deep— in a senior thesis on American Buddhism, which won the Class of ’21 award.

While many religions are preoccupied with eternal truths and revolve around unchanging scriptures, they are fundamentally social activities, Pema says, evolving over time and place. Over the last 30 years, for example, a form of Buddhism has gained currency among middle-class, educated, white Americans, often as part of the self-help movement—which has led some scholars to dismiss it as a “night-stand religion.”

The Taste of Reed

HOLY CRÊPE. Jehnee Rains ’93 of Suzette Crêperie whips up a culinary delight at Marketplace during Reunions 2016.

A bevy of Reedie entrepreneurs crowded the stately atrium of the Performing Arts Building on Saturday afternoon for Marketplace, the annual festival held at Reunions where alumni sample classmates' creativity in the culinary, mixological, and intellectual realms. 

Carol Fredrick ’83, co-owner of Stone Griffon Vineyard in Carlton, offered tastes of four wines, from a refreshingly dry pinot noir blush to an estate-grown tempranillo. “People think of tempranillo as a warm-weather grape,” Fredrick explained, “but it’s actually grown in coastal regions of Spain, so it can do well in the Willamette Valley.”

Across the room, Minott Kerr ’80 of Clear Creek Distillery had set up shop. Dating to 1985, the Reedie-founded craft distillery is the second-oldest in the country, and that experience shines through in their huge lineup of award-winning, mostly fruit-based spirits. On Saturday, Kerr poured samples of their signature pear brandy—unaged, dry, but exploding with Bartlett pear flavor—as well as an oak-aged apple brandy and an intensely fruity loganberry liqueur. And then there’s the abiding mystery—however do they fit the pears into the bottles?

Orcas, Under Pressure, Adopt Killer Survival Strategy

New research by Reed bio major shows that killer whales are using novel forms of social organization to form hunting parties. Photo by Monika Wieland ’07

In the wine-dark waters of the San Juan Islands, a band of killer whales is fighting for survival.

Loss of habitat, human meddling, and intense competition for chinook salmon, its main source of food, have put severe pressure on these creatures. This band, known as the Southern Residents, is now smaller than any other group of resident killer whales, which live in communities scattered along the cold coastal waters of the North Pacific.

There are, in fact, just 81 whales left.

Read Past the Headlines on Sexual Assault Statistics

The recent sentencing of a Stanford University student convicted of rape reignited a conversation in the national press about the incidence of sexual assault on American college campuses. In an article last week, “These colleges have the most reports of rape,” The Washington Post compiled federal data into a sortable chart to show which schools had the highest reports. Reed College, with 12.9 per capita reports, ranked at the top of the list along with other small liberal arts schools such as Wesleyan, Swarthmore, Williams, and Pomona when sorted by reports per 1,000 students.

Experts say that Reed’s high reporting rate doesn’t mean a higher incidence of rape than on other campuses, but rather an atmosphere in which survivors feel comfortable coming forward. Many news media outlets however, seized the opportunity for alarming headlines about universities and colleges that, like Reed, occupy top positions on the chart.

Victim advocate and founder of ServJustice, Laura Dunn, told Inside Higher Ed “It is really misguided to use sexual assault reports as rankings because schools with higher rates are actually doing a better job of encouraging reporting and addressing the issue.” The Washington Post, reporting on the data, similarly found that “the data reflect what victim advocates say is a positive trend: Growing numbers of students who may have experienced a sexual assault are stepping forward to tell authorities about incidents that in years past might have gone unreported.”

Outstanding Alumni Hailed by Foster-Scholz Club

SERVICE WITH A SMILE. Foster-Scholz chair Jim Kahan ’64 bestows the coveted Distinguished Service Award upon Diane Rosenbaum ’71 and her husband Jas Adams ’71.

The Foster-Scholz Club recognized Martha A. Darling ’66, James "Jas" Adams ’71, and Oregon State Sen. Diane Rosenbaum ’71 with the Distinguished Service Award for their continued commitment to communities within Reed and beyond.

Jim Kahan ’64, chair of the club’s steering committee, delivered the awards during the Reunions 2016 Foster-Scholz lunch. Dazzling the audience with a selection of Brahms, the Musicum Collegium performed in honor of keynote speaker Prof. Virginia Oglesby Hancock ’62 [music], who retired this spring and earned the same award in 2011.  

A career-long environmental advocate, Jas recently retired as attorney-in-charge of the Natural Resources Section of the Oregon Department of Justice and remains an adjunct professor of wildlife and administrative law at Willamette University. In 2011, Jas was hailed by the Oregon Invasive Species Council for his contributions to invasive species control. Jas sings with the Reed chorus and was nominated jointly for this award along with Diane, his wife.

Pass the Torch. Make a Gift.

PHOTO BY AIMÉE SISCO

Summertime. The dorms are silent, the seniors have marched, reunions have come and gone. History professors are breaking out their bicycle shorts. The school year is well and truly over, except for one extremely important detail—your gift to Reed.

Make no mistake, your gift matters. One of the many delights of spending time on campus is that I witness the impact of your generosity every day. When I read an essay by a political science major who grew up in a family of farmworkers. When I listen to a sophomore in a math class slicing her way through a topological conundrum. When I watch a physics major powering up a giant laser to analyse the harmonics of a Tibetan singing bowl.

Last year, your gifts helped 304 seniors write their theses. Let us grant $26.5 million in financial aid to more than half our students. Bought 8,000 new library books and let us subscribe to 315 online resources. Practically everything at Reed—from the DoJo to the philosophy department—is made possible by your philanthropy.

Chinese major wins Lankford Award

Ian Connelly ’16 won the Lankford Award for this thesis on the Folk Memory Project.

Chinese major Ian Connelly ’16 has won the William T. Lankford III Humanities Award for his senior thesis on the Folk Memory Project, a series of documentary films about the Great Chinese Famine of 1959-61.

The award recognizes accomplishment in both history and literature and is given to students with outstanding academic records and strong potential for further achievement.

The award committee praised Ian for his “exceptional” thesis, which, it said, “exemplified independent and rigorous research across disciplines.”

Classics major wins Lankford Award

CHILD'S PLAY. Haley Tilt ’16 won the Lankford Award for her thesis on how ancient Romans thought about childhood.

Classics major Haley Tilt ’16 has won the William T. Lankford III Humanities Award for her senior thesis on children in Roman North Africa between the first and sixth centuries CE.

The award recognizes accomplishment in both history and literature and is given to students with outstanding academic records and strong potential for further achievement.

Haley’s thesis focused on the Roman province of Africa Consularis, which included bits of modern-day Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, during a time when a new religion known as Christianity was exploding across the region. She examined archaeological evidence like gravesites and epitaphs as well as literary evidence like poetry and letters.

Spanish Major Wins Poetry Prize

Tara Borgilt ’17 won the 2016 Mary Barnard Poetry Prize for her poem, "Separation."

Congratulations to Tara Borgilt ’16, who won the 2016 Mary Barnard Academy of American Poets Prize contest with her poem, “Separation.” (Hear Tara read the poem by clicking the Soundcloud link below.)

This year’s contest was robust, with 36 poems submitted. Entries were judged by Elyse Fenton ’03, author of the award-winning book of poetry, Clamor

Tara is a Spanish major from Ashland, Oregon, and has been writing since she was little. “I was an obsessive journaler,” she says. 

Three Profs Granted Tenure

Prof. Sarah Schaack [biology] specializes in mobile DNA.

Congratulations to three members of the Reed faculty who were granted tenure this year:

Prof. Morgan Luker [music]

Prof. Luker joined the music department in 2010 as Reed’s first ethnomusicologist. His research focuses on the cultural politics of Latin American music, with special emphasis on contemporary tango music in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “We often think that aesthetics are just aesthetics, or that a musical style is just a musical style, but music in fact carries a tremendous range of meanings and functions, serving as both a symbol and generator of other forces in social life and history,” he says.

Class of ’14 and ’15: Where Are They Now?

What do you do with a degree from Reed?

Scattered to the wind, the Reed classes of ’14 and ’15 are beginning to take root in their careers, according to a “first destination” survey conducted by the Center for Life Beyond Reed.

Six months after commencement, 90% of the grads of both 2014 and 2015 reported having found successful first destinations: 65% held full-time jobs; 9% held part-time jobs; and 11% were in grad school. The remaining 10% were looking for work.

On Top of the World: Students Climb Mount Hood

SUMMIT FEVER. Reed students brandish axes after climbing to the peak of Mount Hood, which boasts an elevation of 11,245 feet. (3.4 x 10^5 cm for you metric fans.)

An intrepid band of Reed students pulled off an epic feat last weekend, trekking for six hours through snow, ice, steam, and rock to reach the windswept summit of Mount Hood.

Environmental studies major Raphaela Hsu-Flanders ’16, political science major Sydney Scarlata ’16, physics major Evan Peairs ’16, and biology major Guananí Gomez-Van Cortright ’18 climbed Oregon’s tallest peak with Reed climbing instructor Rodney Sofich.

The began their trip at the flagpole at Timberline Lodge at 1 a.m., equipped with boots, ice axes, crampons, helmets, day packs, water, chewy bars, and sunglasses, except for Evan, who wore a pair of welding goggles (he’s a physics major—what did you expect?)

Art Major Nabs Udall Scholarship

Studio art major Leila Pyle ’17 was recognized for her commitment to the environment, leadership potential, public service, and academic achievement.

Studio art major Leila Pyle ’17 has won a prestigious scholarship from the Udall Foundation recognizing her commitment to the environment, leadership potential, record of public service, and academic achievement.

The foundation’s announcement describes Leila as:

… passionate about environmental education and action through art. Both in her own work and in teaching others, she tries to communicate how the materials we use and the stories we tell through art can be used to generate a positive cultural relationship with the natural world. Leila also loves working with children and is an active Girl Scout leader. She attended the 2016 World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts Helen Storrow Seminar as a representative of the United States. She gathers wonder from gardening, singing, hiking, and climbing trees.

Math Major Wins Award to Fight HIV in Ethiopia

Meaza Abate ’17 won a Davis Projects for Peace Award to promote better understanding of HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia.

More than 750,000 people in Ethiopia live with HIV, which causes an average of 25,000 deaths every year and has orphaned more than half a million children. If you ask Meaza Abate ’17, however, the biggest failure is not the prevalence of HIV, but rather the nation's failure to integrate these individuals into society.

“People with the virus are stigmatized, and the intransigent cultural norms have made it difficult to access information,” she says. “Ethiopia’s conservative cultural norms and strong religious beliefs create barriers to the fight against HIV/AIDS, because they limit sex education in schools and disallow open discussion.”

Meaza has won a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace award to do something about that problem. This summer, she plans to arm youths with knowledge about HIV by training like-minded high school students, creating a network of youth leaders, and developing a platform for them to execute change.

Physics Major Invents New Musical Instrument

Evan Peairs ’16 invented a musical instrument for his physics thesis by borrowing ideas from aerospace and structural engineering. Photo by Chris Lydgate

Physics major Evan Peairs ’16 has built a new kind of bell for his senior thesis using an innovative design that is capable, in theory, of generating musical tones never previously achieved by a percussive instrument.

The instrument—which is related to a musical family known as the bell plate—consists of a slab of aluminum carved in an otherworldly shape that resembles a mutant unicorn. When you strike it with your finger, however, it rings with the sweet, reverent chime of a church bell.

Using the acoustical wizardry he developed for his thesis, Evan is now designing bell plates that sound like a gong, a xylophone, and a woodblock. “And I’m working on one that sounds like a trumpet,” he adds, showing a visitor around a laboratory in the Physics Building that bristles with lasers, mirrors, wires, pipes, and imposing electronic gadgetry.

Reedies win Fulbrights

Russian major Isabel Meigs ’16 won a Fulbright award to teach English in Ukraine. During her time at Reed, she edited the Quest, lived in the Russian House, and taught a Paideia course in the ancient art of psysanky.

Congratulations to our talented Reed students and alumni who just won Fulbright awards to study overseas. They are going to embark on some fascinating journeys!

Russian major Isabel Meigs ’16 has been chosen to serve as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Ukraine. Isabel edited the Quest, wrote for The Grail, is a house advisor in the Russian House, spent a semester abroad studying in Russia, and has taught Paideia courses in pysanky, the ancient art of Ukrainian egg-dyeing.

Recent grad Annelyse Gelman ’13 won a Fulbright award to create “poetry films” in Germany. Annelyse wrote her thesis on improvisation and comedy with Prof. Allen Neuringer [psych] and recently published a book of poems, Everyone I Love is a Stranger to Someone.

Econ Students Win Ginormous Boardgame Tourney

Triumphant Reed students brandish gamepieces after taking first place in the Pacific Northwest Intercollegiate Ginormous Blokus Tournament.

An undefeated Reed team took first place in the Pacific Northwest Intercollegiate Ginormous Blokus Tournament on Saturday.

The tournament, now in its sixth year, is inspired by the boardgame Blokus, in which players systematically set down blocky geometric tiles on a square grid in an effort to claim territory and prevent their opponents from doing the same. But there’s a twist: the tournament is played on a gargantuan outdoor grid measuring some 400 square feet in area.

The Reed team was drawn from students taking Economics 315, Game Theory, with Prof. Jon Rork. “I like to use Blokus in my class to teach students how to think about strategy in a non-mathematical way,” says Prof. Rork. “When we get to the math, students find it more intuitive.”

Econ Prof Unlocks Puzzles of Human Behavior

Can drought affect domestic violence?

Is sex like driving?

Does foreign aid actually benefit its intended recipients?

These are the kinds of questions that Prof. Nick Wilson ’99 and his students wrestle with every day. And if this doesn’t exactly square up with your ideas about what economists are supposed to do, it’s time you took a fresh look at the discipline.

“If you were an alien observing Earth over thousands of years, what you’d notice is that until about 1820, the entire planet—every nation, every region—was basically poor,” Prof. Wilson says. “And then you see a striking divergence, where some countries get really rich, but others stay poor. I think understanding that phenomenon is the most important thing I can do.”

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