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Kroger Named Prez

By Kevin Myers on April 24, 2012 12:35 PM

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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."

Kroger, 46, was selected after an extensive national search. He met with faculty, staff, and students as part of the process, and made a strong and positive impression. Reed's presidential search committee also interviewed dozens of Kroger's professional colleagues.

Kroger has had a long and distinguished career as a public servant and educator. He was elected Oregon's Attorney General in 2008 after winning the nominations of both the Democratic and Republican parties. Since taking office, he created new units to prosecute environmental crimes, protect civil rights, and combat mortgage fraud. He has testified before Congress and argued twice before the United States Supreme Court.

Prior to his election, Kroger was a tenured professor at Lewis & Clark Law School, where he taught criminal law and legal philosophy. Kroger won the law school's Levenson Award for Teaching Excellence in 2004, 2007, and 2008.

From 1997 to 2001, Kroger served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York—serving as lead counsel in more than 200 criminal cases involving racketeering, violent crimes, narcotic trafficking, public corruption, and white-collar crimes. He wrote about his experience as a prosecutor in Convictions: A Prosecutor's Battles Against Mafia Killers, Drug Kingpins, and Enron Thieves, which won the Oregon Book Award in 2009. Kroger also served as a United States Marine and was deputy policy director of Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign.

Kroger earned both BA and MA degrees in philosophy from Yale and graduated from Harvard Law School magna cum laude in 1996. He has also won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Harvard Law School, and the Aspen Institute.

"The committee was impressed by his commitment to diversity while at the Attorney General's office and at Lewis & Clark Law School," said Professor of Art Geraldine Ondrizek, who was on the search committee. "He understands the benefit a diverse faculty brings to the academic program. John had many attributes the committee admired, but one of the things that really clinched it for us was that he went to Yale on scholarship. He reminded us so much of the brilliant students we get at Reed. His education transformed his life. It made him such a believer in the type of education Reed provides."

Kroger is an avid runner, cyclist, and hiker. He has run Oregon's Hood-to-Coast Relay seven times and biked across the United States. Kroger's wife, Michele Toppe, is the dean of student life at Portland State University.

Read a great piece about Kroger by AP reporter Nigel Duara.