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Frederic Claiborne Shorter ’44

Frederic Claiborne Shorter ’44, February 21, 2012, in Olympia, Washington. Fred grew up in Seattle, the son of a Congregational clergyman. “My father was usually quite poor, and was a pacifist and a socialist, and quite outspoken,” he said in an interview in 2005. His father strongly approved of Fred’s choice to attend Reed, and Fred’s sisters, Mary Alice Shorter Holmes ’45 and Ruth Shorter, also studied at Reed. Fred managed the bookstore and the student union and did kitchen and janitorial work to finance his undergraduate years; he also sold women’s shoes. He lived in a room in the SU with Jerry L. Kelley ’44 and participated in hijinks to ferry the Doyle owl off and on campus. Fred earned a BA in economics and got a job in a public accounting office in Seattle before enrolling at Haverford, where he earned an MA in international administration. At Haverford, he met Bani Knight Shorter. They were married for 30 years and adopted a daughter and son. After Haverford, he worked for the American Friends Service Committee, spent a year in India analyzing the jute industry on a Ford Foundation fellowship, and earned a PhD from Stanford in economics. Fred taught at UCLA and at Harvard, where he was part of an advisory group in Dacca (then, East Pakistan). Four years later, he went to teach at Princeton and to work in Turkey. “I began to branch towards demography and population studies—more about the demographic context.” He later worked for the Population Council in New York. In that capacity, he was in Egypt for many years and married Belgin Tekçe. They were together for 19 years and also lived in Turkey and in British Columbia. In 2004, he married Zeynep Angin and found his way to Idaho and Washington, where he was a visiting scholar at the University of Washington. Fred said that at Reed he learned to read and criticize, to work with other people, and to participate in discussion groups—“all extremely helpful as experience and optimism that enabled me to do the work I did in Cairo and Turkey all those years. As an outsider in those countries, one must have something to give and be considerate of the people you work with. Now, perhaps, I had some of those qualities already from my family, but they were certainly reinforced at Reed.”

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2012

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