Three hundred undergraduates, a record number, walked across the stage this year to receive their Reed College diplomas. An amazing number of family and friends of these happy graduates stood in the rain afterward and congratulated Reed’s newest alumni (including the two who earned MALS degrees).

Another record was set this year with four students completing the difficult double major, which entails the writing of two separate theses. The greatest number of graduates this year majored in biology (42), followed by English (35), psychology (32), history (25), and physics (17). The largest percentage of students, 30 percent, graduated from the division of mathematics and natural sciences.

Grad pictureThe crowd listened attentively to the commencement address by Aaron Rhodes ’71, executive director of the Vienna-based International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF). The IHF, founded in 1982 to foster cooperation among human rights monitoring groups on both sides of the Iron Curtain, includes 41 organizations and is a leading non-governmental human rights organization in Europe. Rhodes offered a thoughtful meditation, “The Immediacy of Sacred Things,” on the relationships among human rights, institutions, and the evolution of charismatic ideas. Many times he related those concepts to a Reed education, as when he said that “At Reed we confront texts, primary sources. We try to keep contact with the fundamentals. We try to keep the institution from becoming too institutionalized, too routinized. We try to ignore much of the clever, complex intellectual static ofthe ages, to get down to the nitty gritty. But of course, that is not entirely possible. We are all children of our time and place, and trying to escape from history is part of the drama of trying to learn. That is why, I think, this is not such a comfortable place, but rather a place that is alive, and a place about which we have ambivalent feelings, feelings like people have about those things that are most central for them, feelings we have, perhaps, for the sacred. We should not shy away from the sense that in such an institution, where at least some achieve immediacy with transcendent things, that we are on sacred ground, ground on which people feel fear, joy, reverence, and awe.”

Grad pictureRhodes also questioned the ground on which most human rights practitioners stand and related that to spiritual and religious beliefs. “In my experience, working with human rights groups all over Europe and the former Soviet Union, and with international institutions like the United Nations and the Council of Europe, the basic questions about human rights are not discussed much or apparently even of concern. . . . Where do human beings get their dignity, the dignity as individuals that state authorities ought not violate? If we do not understand that, we cannot make convincing arguments for human rights protections,” he said. “The idea of human rights is deeply embedded in our cultural tradition and in the common tradition shared by Christians, Muslims, and Jews, and its roots can be seen in other traditions as well. The idea of human rights emerged especially in relation to monotheism. It cannot be separated from the belief in a transcendent order, which imposes obligations on political arrangements. The idea of human rights formed in relation to the belief that if all men are subjects of one transcendent God, then no earthly king can justly exert full power over us—that there is a space around each person that cannot be violated, the space in which we find our relationship with God, our sovereignty, the space in which the sacredness of personality flourishes. Furthermore, being all subjects of a transcendent universal power, we are thus by definition equal with one another, and we owe to one another, the respect due to an equal.”

The following 2002 graduates were elected to Phi Beta Kappa
Grad picture

Christina Athena Aktipis
Seth Adam Belber
Andrew Daniel Berns
Amber Shannon Bradley
Cheyenne Skye Brindle
Christian Roland Buss
Jennifer Anastasia Cameron
Kathryn Elizabeth Davis
Andrew Lambert DeMond
Sarah Katharine Dennis
Chris Lee Flink
Erin Elizabeth Forbes
Monika Anne Gerde
Rhianna Gabrielle Gordon
Harold Mayi Haggard
Kristin Nicole Harper
Michael Scott Harper
Daniel Evan Harris
Ruchama Jerusha
Alon Karniel
Anastasia Ioanna Kayiatos
Peter Lin-Chen Koo
Amanda Stokes Lucier

  Laura Michelle Mangels
Hayden James McGuinness
Dustin Bradley Moore
Martin Jerome Mulvihill
Madrona Blue
Sumner Murphy
Erin Elizabeth Pappas
Sterling James Paramore
Miriam Katherine Posner
Samia Shabnam Rahimtoola
Michael Johannes Raven
Hannah Reid Robbins
Nadine Patricia Sauer
Melanie Ann Schick
Tobias Edwin Schine
Amy Lynn Seese-Bieda
Katherine Gibson Sharpe
Tyler Adam Sinclair
Jennifer Sirek-Love
Anna Danielle Stasch
Samuel Stephenson
Jessica Lynn Stults
Evan Dean Vickers

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