Commencement 1998

Photos by Rex Ziak

After days of ceaseless, cold rain, commencement morning broke clear, warm, and sunny. Hundreds of friends, family, and staff and faculty members were on hand to celebrate Reed's 90th commencement and congratulate the 262 members of Reed's class of 1998.

Of the bachelor of arts recipients, the highest number--41--for the second year in a row came from the biology department. Forty graduated from English, 24 from history, 23 from psychology, 18 from religion, 16 from physics, 11 from math, and 10 from art. Five people received MALS degrees this year.

Laurel Wilkening '66, outgoing chancellor of UC Irvine, gave the commencement address. Wilkening, a noted planetary scientist, has served on the NASA Commission on Space, the Advisory Committee on the Future of the U.S. Space Program, and the Vice President's Space Policy Advisory Board. She is also a Reed trustee. Richard Cuthbert '73, president of the alumni association, Walter Mintz '50, chairman of the board, and President Koblik also spoke during the ceremonies.

Mintz urged the graduates to believe in themselves and in the value of their Reed experience: "You have received a lot of help from parents and professors and from many other people, some of whom you don't even know. The fact remains that you would not be here today had it not been for your very hard work, your intellectual curiosity, and your commitment to scholarship. Graduating from Reed is quite a feat, and you have every reason to be proud of your accomplishments, just as the rest of us who are gathered here are enormously proud of you. If you have any doubts about what I just said, consider this statistic: in the entire history of the world there have been only about 13,000 people who have managed to graduate from Reed."

Cuthbert echoed Mintz's admonition to the students to believe in themselves. "Whatever course you follow, I believe you will come to see that as you leave Reed you are exceptionally well prepared with certain skills that have tremendous marketability. . . . Do not sell these tremendous skills short and do use them."

Laurel Wilkening '66 in her keynote address, "A briefing for the next crew of Spaceship Earth," told graduates that they, as the leaders of tomorrow, were part of the crew of Spaceship Earth and they had their work cut out for them. "Some of you as scientists must develop more efficient, non-polluting forms of energy or create augmentations to our current life-support systems. Arts and language graduates, you must devise eloquent methods for communicating with our fellow crew members throughout the spaceship, to keep the rest of the crew abreast of new developments. Humanists, historians, social and political scientists, you are on board to guide and to govern, to help maintain the peace among all the sectors of the ship as new systems are implemented.

"The fact that the Reed class of 1998 is taking the controls fills me with me great hope. A Reed education has given you the learning ability and, more importantly, the independent, even revolutionary, perspective to make changes in our spaceship. Current approaches are inadequate.

"And so, as you become graduates of Reed and members of the crew of SS Earth, I ask you to take the basic pledge: 'I will do no harm to Spaceship Earth.' This briefing is over. I wish you Godspeed as you pilot us into the new millennium."

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