Convocation 2011 marked 100 years since the first Reed College classes convened. Heralded by John Stanley’s stirring trumpet voluntary, 374 freshly minted Reedies gathered under the big top on the Great Lawn to be welcomed by President Colin Diver and the faculty bedecked in full academic regalia. “You arrive here at an auspicious moment,” Diver told them, “almost exactly a hundred years from the day when a handful of intrepid souls attended the very first classes ever offered at an upstart college in Portland, Oregon, called Reed College.
“So here we are, a hundred years later, different but the same. Still an upstart, still marching to our own drummer. Reed College really is distinctive, but not for the mere sake of being different. Reed is distinctive for the highest purpose imaginable: to liberate ourselves, and the world, from the curse of ignorance, to pursue honestly and relentlessly the search for truth. So, if that’s what you are looking for, you have found it. Welcome home.”
The Vollum Award for distinguished accomplishment in science and technology was bestowed upon Lynn Riddiford, emerita professor of biology at the University of Washington, for her work on the biochemical basis of insect metamorphosis. Ken Brashier [religion 1998–] delivered the first humanities lecture of the year, comparing the underworld of Homer’s Odyssey to the afterlife of ancient China.