Did you know that the alumni association includes nearly 17,000 living members spanning 80 years of the life of the college? To tap into the incredible energy demonstrated on campus for Reed’s centennial year and Reedfayre Reunions celebration, the 25 members of the alumni board have been working on a broad base of initiatives that engage alumni with each other and the greater Reed community, including parents, staff, and faculty.
Though Reed produces some of the highest percentages of graduates with PhDs, the majority of our alumni do not go on to pursue careers in academia. Not surprisingly, many alumni have successful careers in jobs seemingly unrelated to their undergraduate major. Such nonacademic career paths are often not linear; and in today’s workplace climate, they may have slow entry and frequent transitions.
Recognizing these challenges, the alumni board began work in the spring of 2011 with Reed’s career services and alumni & parent relations on the “Life Beyond Reed” (LBR) initiative. Conceptually, LBR embraces the successes and pitfalls along one’s career path. The LBR committee of the alumni board is working toward a broad platform that supports the career development of current students, recent graduates, and midcareer graduates through mentoring and experiential learning opportunities like formal internships and shadowing experiences. We welcome your ideas and thoughts on this effort. If you are interested, send email to the chair of the LBR committee, Tony Fisher ’80.
A short nine months after its inception, LBR brought to campus Reed’s first student-focused Working Weekend event, with nearly 200 students participating. The weekend also included a three-day StartUp Lab, where teams of students presented and marketed their original ideas to potential investors.
The second Working Weekend and Reed StartUp Lab will be February 1–3, 2013, which coincides with meetings of the board of trustees and the alumni board. During these few days, alumni will organize workshops for students and recent graduates, meet with students one-on-one or in groups, sit on industry or expertise panels that address specific topics, and share job and internship opportunities. Some areas of focus for the panels include fine arts, law, media, diplomacy, medicine, education, consulting, physical sciences, and business. If you are interested in volunteering as a panelist, a StartUp Lab mentor, or for one-on-one meetings with students, submit an inquiry online.
In the spirit of LBR, I invite you to consider joining the Reed Career Network, an online network where you can provide valuable information, advice, and referrals to Reedies as they pursue career goals, graduate school, or professional school. Your participation helps enrich our community.
The outreach committee of the alumni board develops initiatives that help strengthen the connection between alumni and the college. The committee also works closely with local chapter leadership to improve volunteer opportunities and events in chapter cities. This year, expect to hear more about an online book club for Reedies everywhere, a community-focused volunteer program in Portland, and a program to connect underrepresented students with underrepresented alumni mentors. We welcome your thoughts on these and other ideas for programming. If you are interested, email the outreach committee chairperson, Beverly Lau ’06.
The alumni association itself will soon be celebrating a milestone: it will turn 100 in 2015. The alumni board is assisting alumni & parent relations in developing programming that celebrates this momentous occasion. In the meantime, I hope you’ll make your plans to join us for Reedfayre ’13, June 12–16, 2013. No matter whether or not it is your reunion year, all are invited to partake in the festivities!