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Class of ’15 Takes the Stage

By Chris Lydgate ’90 on May 18, 2015 03:43 PM

Proud Reed grads march at commencement.

Joy reigned and jubiliation rang across the Great Lawn as 318 proud Reed graduates stepped up to the stage on Monday to receive their hard-earned diplomas at commencement.

Sporting robes and mortarboards, fancy shoes and running shoes—and accompanied in one case by an adorably enormous canine companion—the grads listened to an inspiring address from civil-rights leader Kathleen Saadat ’74.

“To live intentionally requires you to keep learning for the rest of your lives,” she said. “Building a better world requires compassion, forgiveness, immense amounts of courage, love, and delight in the process.” (Check out the audio recording.)

Saadat has been a powerful advocate for economic justice, women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community for 40 years. In 1976, she and six others organized one of Portland’s first gay-rights marches. Later she helped craft Portland’s civil rights ordinance. She served on the steering committee for the campaign that defeated Ballot Measure 9, which would have reduced gays and lesbians to second-class citizens She served as executive director of Oregon’s Commission on Black Affairs and was diversity development and affirmative action manager for the city of Portland. She graduated from Reed with a degree in psychology.

The class of ’15 hailed from every continent and wrote theses on an amazing range of subjects, from Singapore technopolitics, to the 1793 yellow-fever epidemic in Philadelphia, to entangled photons, the Siege of Vienna, and the origins of Haitian creole.

“You guys are an amazing class,” said President John Kroger, as professors, families, friends, and classmates erupted in applause.