Reed will honor two long-serving trustees
Reed College will confer degrees on John Gray and R. P. Wollenberg, who leave the Reed board with 89 years of combined service
PORTLAND, OR (April 5, 2006) – Reed College will confer honorary degrees on two business and civic leaders who have retired as trustees of the college after nearly 90 years of combined service. John D. Gray and Richard P. (Dick) Wollenberg, each a former chair of Reed's board, will receive honorary doctorates of humane letters May 15 during Reed's 92nd annual commencement exercises.
The president of the Association of Governing Boards of
Universities and Colleges, Richard D. Legon, said that the
concurrent length of service to Reed by Gray and Wollenberg is
probably unprecedented in the annals of American higher education.
"These two volunteers have demonstrated a passionate commitment to Reed College that is unique to trustee service among the many boards serving higher education in the United States," Legon said. "In an era when board accountability is in the spotlight, they stand as role models for all who will follow and contribute to the shaping of the college in the years ahead."
Reed president Colin Diver, who will present the degrees, called both men irreplaceable. "That the faculty would recommend and the board would vote to award these degrees reflects the esteem in which we hold both John and Dick and the awe we have for the length and quality of their service to Reed," Diver said. He noted that these are the first honorary degrees the college has conferred since 1993, when long-time trustee Mary Tobin Winch was honored.
Gray, a resident of Portland who completed 45 years as a Reed trustee in April, is the retired chairman of the board of Grayco Resources Inc., which has specialized in environmentally sensitive property development. Gray developed Salishan Lodge and Salishan Hills on the Oregon Coast, Sunriver in central Oregon, Johns Landing in Portland, and Skamania Lodge on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. Land development was a second career for Gray. He was a controlling owner of Omark Industries– formerly known as Oregon Saw Chain Manufacturing Corporation– retiring after 37 years when the company was sold to Blount, Inc., in 1985. Oregon Saw Chain is credited with inventing the Cox Chipper Chain, a basic design still widely used today that revolutionized the industry by introducing lightweight, high-speed, direct-drive chain saws. A native of Ontario, Ore., Gray graduated with honors from Oregon State University in 1940, and then spent five and a half years in the Army during World War II, rising from Second Lieutenant to Lieutenant Colonel and Adjutant General of the 82nd Airborne Division and earning a Bronze Star. In 1947, he received his MBA, with distinction, from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.
Wollenberg, who completed 43 years of service in October is chairman emeritus of Longview Fibre, a Fortune 1000 company that manufactures an assortment of paper-packaging products, employing 3,200 employees nationwide at 15 location, 2,000 of them at its flagship plant in Longview. The company also owns and manages timberlands in Oregon and Washington. His 32-year tenure as president of the company, which had been co-founded by his father in 1926, was marked by dramatic growth and extended prosperity. Dick Wollenberg's son, Richard H. (Rick) Wollenberg, a 1975 graduate of Reed College, is now Longview's president, CEO and chairman as well as vice chairman of Reed's board of trustees.
A native of Juneau, Alaska, Dick Wollenberg received a B. S. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California and an MBA from Harvard. He, too, was a lieutenant colonel in World War II, serving in what was then the Army Air Force.
John Gray joined the Reed board in 1961 and served as chairman from 1967 to 1982, when he stepped down to chair the college's first fundraising campaign, which concluded in 1988 after raising an unprecedented $60 million in support for Reed College. Dick Wollenberg joined the Reed board in 1962 and succeeded Gray as chairman, serving from 1982 to 1991.