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Reed College Launches $200 Million Centennial Campaign


"This economic downturn has illuminated the role a healthy endowment serves in advancing our academic program in good times and supporting it through bad," said Reed President Colin Diver.


Portland, OR (June 9, 2009)--Conventional wisdom would argue that a period beset by rising unemployment, widening deficits, and the deepest recession since World War II is not exactly a ripe climate for philanthropy. But true to its iconoclastic nature, Reed has chosen exactly this climate to launch the most ambitious campaign in the college’s 98-year history. The goal of the campaign is to raise $200 million by December 31, 2012.

"This economic downturn has illuminated the role a healthy endowment serves in advancing our academic program in good times and supporting it through bad," said Reed President Colin Diver. "Two-hundred million is an audacious goal for an institution with only 16,355 living alumni, but we have already received tremendous support. I know there are many more alumni and friends who will help nourish the ideals that have become synonymous with Reed College."

Two substantial gifts, $10 million from trustee Dan Greenberg, class of ’62, and his wife, Susan Steinhauser, and $18 million from fantasy fiction author David Eddings, class of ’54, have energized the campaign. Altogether, Reed’s alumni and friends have given $129 million in advance of the public launch, leaving $71 million toward the goal.

One of the campaign goals is to increase need-based financial aid by 20 percent. More than half of current Reed students receive financial aid, with the annual average package totaling $34,873. Even so, every year the college must turn away qualified applicants because Reed’s tuition is beyond their financial reach. The college hopes to make its education accessible to more of the highest achieving and academically motivated students in the world, regardless of their financial means.

Additionally, the campaign will support increases in the faculty ranks to achieve a 10:1 student-faculty ratio, bolster academic support services for those students who want or need additional help, and increase opportunities for, and support of, faculty research. The college recently added five new residence halls, and a second bridge spanning Reed canyon. The next major addition to Reed’s core facilities is an integrated building for the dance, music, and theatre departments.

Through its first 98 years, Reed has held fast to its founding ideals: the transformative power of intellectual discovery; the primacy of the classroom experience; and the essential role of the community in the pursuit of knowledge.  As Reed graduate Irena Swanson, class of ’87, and current professor of mathematics summed it up: “We don’t serve up formulas. We train thinkers.” Reed College hopes to build on those traditions into its next century.