Presidents of Reed

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Arthur F. Scott


Born on August 14, 1898, in Coytesville, New Jersey
Died on January 8, 1982, in Portland, Oregon

On his 75th birthday, Arthur F. Scott was seen riding a bicycle for the first time in his nearly 40 years at Reed. “A little wobbly, but not too bad for a beginner,” recounted a student. The blue, three-speed bicycle, a gift from the chemistry department’s faculty members and students, was a true testament to “Scotty’s” effect on the Reed community.

A graduate of Colby College and Harvard University, Scott taught at Reed from 1923–26 and from 1937–79. During World War II, he served as president of the college, leading the war effort on campus. He oversaw general war-aid efforts, implemented the practice of blackouts, and instated an Army Cadet program to prepare young men for military service in the meteorological arena. However, Scott’s major contributions to Reed were in the fields of teaching and scientific innovation.

Scott came to Reed in 1923 to teach chemistry. In 1926, he left for an appointment at Rice University, returning to Reed in 1937 and remaining a professor of chemistry until 1979. He was chair of the department until 1967. Scott’s dedicated teaching in the science laboratory earned him several teaching awards; his approach was documented in an article—“Education and Training of Chemists in the U.S.A.”—he published in Chemical and Engineering News.

Alongside his pedagogical accomplishments, Scott was pivotal in the development of radiochemistry education at Reed and other U.S. undergraduate institutions. His interest in the field encouraged the college to build the Reed Research Reactor, the only facility of its kind operated primarily by undergraduates. Scott also worked to educate military medical officers in radiochemistry and biology between 1949 and 1960.

Apart from his work at Reed, Scott conducted research for the Portland City Club, the National Science Foundation, the American Chemical Society, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Oregon Graduate Center, and the Northwest College and University Association for Science. Among numerous awards and honors, he received the first Manufacturing Chemists Award for his teaching in 1957. Twenty years later, Reed honored him with a Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science and Technology, and in 1978 he received an Aubrey Watzek award for “adding a special quality of life in the Pacific Northwest.”

After his death, Reed named the new chemistry building the Arthur F. Scott Chemistry Laboratory in commemoration of his dedication to the chemistry department’s facilities, welfare, and teaching.