FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oregon's Professor of 2004 Nigel Nicholson named to the new Walter Mintz Chair in Classics at Reed College
Friends of the late Walter Mintz '50 exceed goal to endow classics chair in his memory
Portland, OR (February 4, 2005) - At a meeting today of the Reed College board of trustees, president Colin Diver announced the creation of the new Walter Mintz Chair in Classics, endowed in honor of the late Reed board chair and longtime supporter of the college. Nigel Nicholson, associate professor of classics and humanities, has been named to the new professorship.
With the support of current board chairman Daniel Greenberg '62, recent board member Jerome Debs, and other others, fundraising for the Walter Mintz chair exceeded its $1.25 million goal.
Says Hugh Porter, vice president for college relations, "The outpouring of gifts in memory of Walter Mintz tell a remarkable story about Walter's impact, not only on the Reed community, but also within his circle of colleagues and friends. Jerome Debs has led a tremendously successful fundraising effort among Walter's admirers that will result in establishing the Walter Mintz Chair in Classics.
Greenberg, who provided the lead gift for the chair, adds "As a trustee, Walter did not agree with every action taken on the college's campus, but he and the college shared a strong commitment to training inquiring minds. As Walter said, 'Where you stand on an issue should not depend on whether you think of yourself as a liberal or as a conservative but on your assessment of the available facts.' Reed believes that serious interaction with academic disciplines can inculcate such habits. Certainly, Walter's life and work exemplified the thoughtful, dedicated search for answers that lie at the heart of the college's values."
The Classics at Reed College
Since Reed College's beginnings, the study of classical Greece and Rome has formed the heart of the college's humanities program and the core of Reed's curriculum. All new students are required to take a yearlong course studying the classic texts of western civilization, Humanities 110. More than 20 regular professors at Reed teach the course, making it the single largest aspect of the college's curriculum. It is in this course that new students learn how to navigate a Reed conference--more a discussion than a lecture--to write effectively, and to hone their skills in logic and reasoning.
For many years, the college has funded a position for rotating visiting faculty to help cover large enrollments in classics' classes. The Mintz professorship will allow the college to permanently endow this position and to recognize the work of an extraordinary professor.
Nicholson, 36, has been a professor at Reed since 1995. Prior to joining Reed's faculty, he lectured and served as an assistant professor at Wellesley College. He received his B.A and M.A., both with honors, from Oxford University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Last fall, Nicholson was honored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as their 2004 Oregon Professor of the Year.
In addition to his work on campus, he has been actively involved in several educational outreach programs within the community, including the Reed Latin Forum for Oregon and Washington high school students, the Middle School Outreach Program, and the continuing education program for adults, Humanities in Perspective.
Nicholson is currently working on a book, "Aristocracy and Athletics in Archaic and Classical Greece" (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming in 2005), that explores the commemoration of athletic victories in the late archaic period, and their representation of charioteers, mule-cart drivers, trainers, and jockeys.
Walter Mintz's contributions to Reed were far reaching; the college and its students benefited from his business and financial acumen and personal dedication for decades. Mintz served on the board for 33 years, chairing the investment committee and ultimately becoming the first Reed graduate to serve as chairman of the board. While he was chairman, many major projects were undertaken, including the highly successful Campaign for Reed College, of which he was chair until he became board president. His health forced him to resign his board position in 2002, but his involvement with Reed continued as his health allowed.
Mintz was a 1950 economics graduate, and his interest in that department continued throughout his lifetime; in 1985 he established the Walter Mintz Economics Scholarship, which gives critical support to several junior and senior economics majors each year. In 2002, he and his wife, Sandra, along with fellow trustee Thormund Miller '41 and his wife, Hannah, also donated $1 million to create an endowed chair in economics, the Thormund A. Miller and Walter Mintz Chair in Economic History.
Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, is an undergraduate institution of the liberal arts and sciences dedicated to sustaining the highest intellectual standards in the country. With an enrollment of about 1,360 students, Reed ranks third in the undergraduate origins of Ph.D.s in the United States and second in the number of Rhodes Scholars from a liberal arts college (31 since 1915). For more information, visit web.reed.edu .