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The Dipylon Analogy

By President John Kroger on September 07, 2012 10:48 AM

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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.

A few personal news items:

 

As some of you know, I am taking Humanities 110 this year. When people ask me why, my answer is simple: "You can't be a real Reedie unless you take Hum 110." Taking the course is a wonderful way for me to learn about Reed, to understand the intellectual inclinations of our faculty, and to share a quintessential Reed experience with the new class of 2016. So far, the experience has been priceless.

Yesterday, Professor Libby Drumm suggested in lecture that certain patterns in the Odyssey are also evident in the Dipylon amphora, a roughly 2800 year-old piece of Greek pottery. I sat in the audience thinking: This is what is remarkable about a Reed education. We are asking 18-year olds, as a basic component of their intellectual training, to consider the potentially analogous relationship between word and artifact, text and thing. Inviting them to reflect on such difficult abstract questions is, in my mind, precisely how we produce creative minds.

I really enjoyed the first two weeks of classes. I played kickball, survived ten very wet minutes in the dunk tank at student activities fair, taught a group of first-year students how to play croquet, and had my first interview with the Quest. I also enjoyed immensely my first convocation, using it to talk about the things I love about Reed: its intellectual passion, its immense creativity, and its deep commitment to students.

My primary goal this year is to learn as much about Reed as I can. In my office, I have produced a list of issues that I think will matter most to the college in the coming years. Item number one on the list is preserving Reed's unique culture. I look forward to working with you in the years ahead to do just that.

If you have thoughts or advice for me, please let me know.

Sincerely,

John R. Kroger
President