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Eileen Ruth Pease Kuhns ’45

A picture of Eileen Kuhns

Eileen Ruth Pease Kuhns ’45, March 15, 2013, in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Eileen was orphaned at the age of 2, and lived with several of her relatives before she “struck out on her own” and returned to her hometown of Portland at 15. She went to Reed on a full scholarship, earning a BA in sociology. The Reed experience, and the humanities program in particular, were the “springboard” for her life, she wrote. In May 1945, she married college sweetheart Edward Douglas Kuhns ’45, whom she found to be a kindred soul. Both Eileen and Douglas completed doctoral degrees at Syracuse University—Eileen’s was in sociology and anthropology. Eileen was a gifted researcher, who wrote numerous textbooks and papers and coauthored the book Managing Academic Change: Interactive Forces and Leadership in Higher Education (1975). She served as a director and trustee for the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. She taught at Syracuse, Lake Forest College, and Montgomery College—where she advanced to the position of executive dean—and was dean of the faculty at Mount Vernon College. She was cofounder and president of Washington International College in Washington, D.C., and she taught sociology, anthropology, and statistical methodology at American University, George Washington University, and later Catholic University, where she retired. The university’s president and her graduate students begged her not to retire, but she made the decision to do so at the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. In a very busy life, Eileen found time to garden and to help rescue stray animals. Survivors include Douglas; children John, D.C., Paul, and Anne; and 8 grandchildren. “She taught them all that the world is an open and beckoning place, waiting to give you what you seek to find. She taught them the importance of giving back; always striving to leave the world a better place than you found it.”

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2014

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