Reed Magazine August
2004

 

A thesis 5O years in the making

The Presidio, a former army base in San Francisco, had became a national park, and in 1996 Congress formed the Presidio Trust to run the park and oversee rehabilitation and development of the army buildings, with a mandate to achieve financial self-sufficiency. Neighbors and environmental groups were concerned about the big commercial development projects that the Trust was proposing, and Green spearheaded the effort to oppose new building in the park. After a few years, Green and his group succeeded in influencing the Trust to develop a master plan for the entire Presidio.

The experience left Green wanting to write a paper evaluating the first six years of the Presidio Trust; he came to think it could be a good thesis, and began to think about Reed. He had recommended Reed to a relative, Misha Isaak ’04, and Isaak and his family in turn encouraged Green to write his thesis at Reed. Reed’s economics department accepted his proposal, and he began work in October 2003 with Denise Hare, associate professor of economics.

Hare and Green’s second thesis reader in the economics department, James Stewart, introduced Green to theories that didn’t exist during Green’s career in the field, and guided his work. Through their advice, Green was able to refocus on what was critical in his arguments. “Even given his life experience he was willing to take on the role of a Reed senior and receive advice,” said Hare. “He really pushed himself, and he came to a fuller and more nuanced understanding of his topic.”

Don GreenGreen will use his thesis recommendations in pursuing efforts to convince Congress and the Trust to make better decisions. He knows that having written this thesis, his argument will carry more weight: “If it doesn’t, if it falls flat because of the argument or the political powers that be, then it still would have been useful and fun, and I’m glad I did it.”

Before commencement, Green insisted that it wasn’t a big deal that he returned to write his thesis. “I think I used my Reed education all along to do a good job,” he said.

But after commencement, surrounded by fellow graduate Isaak and happy family members, Green admitted that the ritual was much more meaningful than he thought it would be.

He returned to Reed in June for his reunion and enjoyed telling his first set of fellow students about how he finally wrote that thesis and graduated, 50 years after he and his family went fishing on the McKenzie. End of Article

Nadine Fiedler ’89 wrote about platoon leader Larry Doane ’99 in the May issue.
   
Reed Magazine August

2004