Photo by Leah Nash
As my term as president of the alumni board draws to a close, I want to first express my deep gratitude to the staff of alumni & parent relations for their work with our board. Their dedication, experience, and solution-driven approach make volunteering fun, rewarding, and, most of all, easy!
In our effort to establish roots for life beyond Reed, the board has expanded its partnership with career services. As working weekend volunteers can affirm, the career services staff has been wonderfully welcoming, helpful, and generous with their time. We owe a particular thank you to Brooke Hunter, with whom we have worked closely on working weekend and supporting new programming for current students.
You can help ignite the imagination of students and inspire their career exploration by keeping your alumni directory information up to date and joining the alumni career network. For instructions on how to do so and to volunteer as an intern host, extern mentor, or a panelist for working weekend, please visit this site.
Throughout my executive service, I have been grateful for the camaraderie and able assistance of vice president Greg Byshenk ’89 (the board is in good hands as he succeeds me as president), secretary Scott Foster ’77, immediate past president Jay Hubert ’66, and alumni & parent relations director Mike Teskey—who amazes me with his temperance and unfettered willingness to explore new directions. Our leadership has spent energy on becoming better organized, establishing a higher level of professionalism, and improving our visibility on campus and off. This year, we introduced the first digestible yet comprehensive alumni association guidebook, implemented a 10-year strategic plan, and developed the ground work for expanding the Life Beyond Reed initiative. Congratulations to Reunions ’13 class leaders, committee members, organizers of alumni college and Reunions Paideia. Reunions has gotten off to an extraordinary start with record early registration of 600+ by April 1, and will undoubtedly be memorable because of your efforts. Lastly, I extend particular thanks to those volunteers who are completing their terms and rolling off leadership positions on the alumni board. I encourage each of you to explore new challenges and new ways to contribute. To learn more about volunteering in general, all are welcome to join us on campus for the next leadership summit, September 20 & 21; send email to alumni & parent relations for more information.
This year the alumni association has made significant strides towards a more vibrant virtual community. Whether you live in a chapter city, abroad, or in a more remote area, there are many ways to connect with other alumni; check out the variety of intersection points, including ReediEnews, career services, Reed Switchboard, and Renn Fayre Revisions online. Also, Sallyportal, the official blog of Reed magazine, is a great forum for reading incisive coverage of all things Reed and responding to it. Finally, keep a watchful eye towards future launches of an online book club and a one-stop volunteer resource page.
Located on the outskirts of a well-loved if careworn beach community in Seaview, Washington, the Sou’wester might be easy to miss or to misunderstand. The collection of vintage travel trailers, cabins, and campsites—providing overnight or even monthly accommodations—seems to meander through the shore pine and salal toward the sea. A handful of gardens (at least one is secret), an occasional fire pit, an area for RV hookup, and a series of open-air buildings—a bike shed, an event space, a kitchen—serve to further confuse the perimeter, giving the place an air of artsy serendipity. Even the lodge, that magnificent red structure rising up somewhere near the center of the property, has either two main entrances or two side entrances, depending on your perspective.
The lodge was built as a vacation home in 1892 by U.S. senator and Oregon resident Henry Winslow Corbett. In the ’40s or ’50s the second-floor ballroom was converted to suites, which is about when the cabins were added. Thandi Rosenbaum ’00 bought the Sou’wester last spring. She and her team gave it a major overhaul, refinishing hardwood floors, fixing plumbing, painting walls, and getting rid of a half century of junk. Then they added back into the spaces the streamlined furniture and housewares for which the midcentury era is known.
The art she selected—a mix of vintage finds and original works by local artists, not to mention other objects she’s collected, like a whale bone she’s put in one of the cabins or a found-object installation of tsunami debris she’s set up near the lodge—are key to Rosenbaum’s vision for the Sou’wester. Hoping to inspire and support creativity in all forms, the former anthropology major has established an artist’s residency program that gives discounted rates to artists who want to come to the coast to work for a week or longer. She’s also hosted a steady program of music shows, yoga retreats, and craft workshops since reopening last June.
Next time you’re in Astoria, cross the mighty Columbia for a stop at the Sou’wester! After checking in, check out the “thrifty”—an honor-system thrift store in a trailer—where you can finally get that new-to-you pair of high-waisted pants. Then grab a locally grown organic cranberry juice from the general store on the wraparound porch (also honor system) and sign out a bicycle for a youthful ride through the grassy dunes and salty breezes of the glorious Long Beach Peninsula.
Welcomes, thank yous, and insights were woven together in Reed on the Road, a series of events that brought alumni and friends together in several cities. The events provided an opportunity to meet President John R. Kroger and to share thoughts on leading Reed in the coming years. And the college extended thanks to everyone who pitched in to make the Centennial Campaign a success. Herewith some of the ideas exchanged:
Education is transparent at Reed. Tom Weisner ’65 suggested that true learning happens when students put forth—and defend—their ideas in front of probing peers. What a marvelous observation of the hard-hewn way we learn at Reed.
Be gentle with ourselves. I overheard this observation in Chicago. Reedies take education seriously and thereby create a stimulating and enriching environment for all. But it’s important to forgive the mistakes we make along the way.
Why we need each other. Larry Rinder ’83 suggested that actively engaged alumni are the ideal resource to help Reed resist pressure to make the curriculum too instrumentalist. Alumni understand how a Reed education can be effectively applied in the world, and they help Reed make sure its curriculum stays focused on the why, not the how.
Dubai, Mumbai, Shanghai, or Goodbye. It’s great to read Plato and Aristotle, but several alumni want Reed to take a more global outlook. Adnan Hassan ’83 commented that the locus of power is shifting East. He urged Reed to beef up its study abroad program and to encourage students to look beyond Europe.
Reed passions run deep. Whether the lively views were voiced at the tables, posted on the comment charts, or shared in casual conversation, it was clear that alumni care passionately about Reed. As student Serra Shelton ’15 said in a recent video about the Centennial Campaign. “You have changed a life and, for that, thank you just isn’t enough.”
To see more of the ideas exchanged from ROTR, visit the Riffin’ Griffin blog.