Why We Give

By Randall S. Barton

As the Centennial Campaign enters the final stretch, we found ourselves pondering a fundamental issue—why do alumni give to Reed?

We decided to interview five radically different alumni and ask some personal questions. (We also asked for permission to print their giving totals.)

We hope their answers—and their stories—will inspire readers to join the quest to make sure that Reed’s next hundred years are as incredible as its first hundred years.

Find out more about the campaign (which ends on December 31, 2012)—and how you can contribute—at campaign.reed.edu.

Cindy Joe

Cindy Joe ’08

Smashing Atoms and Supporting Reed

WHO: Cindy Joe ’08 
MAJOR: Physics
WHY: Gratitude
STAT: Cindy is one of 889 young alumni who gave to Reed last year.

Smashing atoms to study physics is an extension of the work Cindy Joe ’08 did on the nuclear reactor as a physics major at Reed. She operates an accelerator at Fermilab, a high-energy particle physics research facility run by the Department of Energy in Batavia, Illinois.

As a student at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts in Hot Springs, Cindy became intrigued with Reed after reading about it in Cool Colleges for the Hyper-Intelligent, Self-Directed, Late Blooming, and Just Plain Different by Don Asher ’83.

“Everything I read about the college continued to make it sound more and more awesome,” she says.

Her parents were immigrants who owned a restaurant. Though they didn’t have a lot of money, they helped Cindy achieve her dream. Now with Reed in her rear view mirror, she has been able to put the experience into perspective.

“Reed is a special place because we all agree it’s a special place,” Cindy says. “We give ourselves permission to make it incredible. Nearly everyone infuses the place with enthusiasm and earnestness, the professors really care about the job they’re doing, and I love how intensely and unapologetically academic it is. We all sort of gloried in that.”

Cindy connects with other Reedies as a representative for the alumni chapter in Chicago and as a volunteer for the alumni admission and career network.

“Reed’s not the only place where people think critically and deeply and well, but it’s the one that I picked,” she says. “Reedies are largely self-chosen, self-recruiting. There’s something about us that reaches out to each and says, ‘Hey, this is a member of my tribe.’”

Recently Cindy began giving to the Annual Fund, despite the fact both she and her parents are still paying off loans that financed her education.

“At first I thought, ‘Didn’t they get enough while I was there?’” she says. “But then I realized that a Reed education costs much more than is actually asked from any particular student. They make up the difference with alumni contributions and gifts to the endowment.”

Cindy is grateful for the place the college holds in her life, and her gifts enable others to choose Reed.