Convocation: Class of 2010
Reed welcomed 430 new students—including 376 freshmen, 46 transfer students, and eight exchange students—at the 96th annual convocation this fall.
Before the formal convocation gathering on August 23 in Kaul Auditorium, nearly 150 members of the freshmen class set off on outdoor and community service orientation trips. These included backpacking, rafting, rock climbing, and volunteer work with local nonprofits.
Reed’s Peer Mentor Program has also begun offering an orientation-week retreat program for students with ethnic minority backgrounds (23 percent of the non-international incoming class this year) and first-generation college students (seven percent).
International students arrived on campus the week before convocation. These students (including exchange students) came from 19 countries: Bangladesh, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Ecuador, Ghana, Great Britain, Italy, Jamaica, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Romania, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Zimbabwe.
President Colin Diver officially welcomed incoming students, and the 480-plus parents, family, and friends who accompanied them. The Class of 2010 is the most selective in Reed’s history: only 40 percent of the 3,054 applicants were offered admission. The class was also welcomed by Rick Wollenberg ’75, vice chairman of the board of trustees; Tony Fisher ’80, president of the alumni association (his convocation address is reprinted on p.43); and Lauren Rother ’07, student body president.
The convocation ceremony included presentation of the Vollum Award for Distinguished Achievement in Science and Technology to Stanford mathematics professor Daniel W. Bump ’74. In presenting the award, Reed professor Rao Potluri, who taught Bump senior-year algebra, said: “From the outstanding work that he produced in that class, it was clear to me back then that he had the potential to be a world-class mathematician. I am now excited to say that the potential I saw in him has been realized.” Bump is a key figure in multiple Dirichlet series, and one of the original programmers for GNU Go, an artificial intelligence project to create a computer program that can play a moderately competitive game of Go, an ancient Asian board game.
Steven Wasserstrom, Moe and Izetta Tonkon Professor of Judaic Studies & Humanities, delivered the Odyssey Convocation Lecture—“Field Full of Asphodel”—analyzing the afterlife of Achilles in the Iliad and the Odyssey. A faculty member has given the first Hum 110 lecture of the semester at convocation every year since 1998. (Read a transcript of “Field Full of Asphodel”.)
This year’s convocation came amid a flurry of national media attention for Reed. In September, the college received coverage in the New York Times three times in one week, including an op-ed by Diver about SAT-optional admissions. Newsweek named Reed one of 25 “new Ivies.” And, both ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson and National Public Radio interviewed admission dean Paul Marthers about college rankings and higher education marketing, further affirming the college’s growing national visibility.