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Remembering Dorothy Johansen

From Brewster Smith '39
The article in the last issue about Dorothy Johansen's death told me something I didn't know about her: the year I had her as a section leader in my ancient history course in 1935-36 was her first year teaching at Reed. With Dorothy Jo for the section and Rex Arragon for the lectures, it was the best course I ever experienced anywhere as undergraduate, graduate, or colleague-at Reed, Stanford, or Harvard. Of course, the two made a magic combination, but Dorothy Jo's part was as crucial as Arragon's. Dorothy Jo was masterful in raising issues that evoked lively discussion that was truly relevant to the lectures and readings; that brought in the shyer or more reluctant contributors as well as the verbal virtuosos. And she had a sense of the dramatic structure of the conference hour and the skill to bring it to a conclusion that left participants with the good feeling that they had shared an intelligible trip. I wish I had been able to acquire the skills that she modeled so splendidly.

From Robert Ornduff '53
I was saddened to learn of the death of Dorothy Johansen '33, a vital and vibrant figure on the Reed campus when I was a student there 50 years ago. Interesting that although she was a professor for many years, upon her retirement she became a professor emerita. I suspect that Dr. Johansen's linguistic and historical integrity would have prevented her from using that designation herself, since the Latin word professor is a masculine noun. The proper term is professor emeritus for women as well as men, since emerita is used for feminine and not masculine nouns. In browsing through a 19th-century Latin to English dictionary I discovered that a second definition of emeritus is a person who "has become unfit for service, worn out," a revelation that prompts me to close with: Sincerely yours, Robert Ornduff, retired professor.
[Ed. note: Rest easy, Professor Ornduff. While 19th-century dictionaries might offer this secondary definition, "emerita" is used widely today by colleges and universities as a distinguished and honorary title.]

More Doyle Owl Tales

From Lance Montauk '71
"It is stone, homely, and weighs 150 pounds, stands three feet high, has a black base and eyes, with yellow claws. It has many coats of paint, like the bars in a jail re-painted time and time again due to the excess man-hours available, and it is broken apart and glued back together." Looking for Work, Lance Montauk, 1971

Around 1967 mountaineering students displayed the owl from the library tower. They had slicked down the slate roof with oil so no one could climb up there to get it. A helicopter came, plucked the bird off the roof, and landed it in the field near the Osteopathic Hospital on Steele Street. In the ensuing car chase a new red convertible was destroyed, a Reedie was temporarily hospitalized with head injuries, and possession of the owl passed to a group of students pictured-with the owl-on page 7 of the 1968-69 Griffin.

The new group made three full-sized plaster replicas of the owl and used them for "showings," actually destroying at least one model. The viewing public's wail of despair on seeing the destruction turned to gasping relief when the true owl materialized in the distance, only to quickly vanish. I was so obsessed with the owl that it's in my senior thesis-certainly a premonition of later equally non-productive fixations.

Student Guides Provide Impressive View of Reed

From Douglas R. Brown '68
I'm not sure if other small liberal arts colleges appreciate the impact of the students they select to lead tours for prospective students and their parents. I do know that when we toured Reed in the summer between our son's junior and senior years in high school, the quality of the student guide, a philosophy major, stood so much higher than those encountered at other schools that the choice of an intellectually challenging school became a quick drill in the car leaving the Reed campus. Of course, it is entirely possible that the caliber of students we met on tours at other campuses was exactly representative of their student body, but I certainly hope not. The fact that our Reed tour confirmed for our son all of my stories about the "Reed experience," and the maturity and confidence of a Reed senior, removed for him any thoughts about attending other schools. I hope Reed continues to provide an accurate and impressive picture of the school, its students, and their experience through the tours it gives, as this provides a confirming experience for those who seek a Reed education.

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