Reunions can change your life

By Sheldon Hochheiser í73 and Laura Leviton í73

Reed reunions can change your life. Ask us. We know. We graduated Reed together 26 years ago. We knew each other back then, but were at best casual friends (Laura even has a photo of the two of us and other classmates on the library steps just before the thesis parade). And now we are engaged and plan to marry in May. We'll show up at Reed again this year for reunions (after all, Sheldon is the next president of the alumni association), but this time as a married couple.

We went our separate ways after Reed and did not stay in touch. Laura went to Kansas for a Ph.D. in psychology and a career as a professor of public health; Sheldon was off to Wisconsin for a Ph.D. in the history of science and a career as a corporate historian. We saw each other for the first time in two decades at our twentieth reunion. We became friends again, but nothing more. We did, however, stay in touch by phone. Close to five years later, with another reunion coming up, we decided to take a joint vacation just prior to reunions. Laura was driving across the country to Corvallis, helping a friend and her daughter move. Sheldon arranged to meet her in Portland at the end of her trip. We planned a tour of Oregon that would take us back to some old haunts (the coast, the Rogue River, the Shakespeare festival in Ashland) and some activities that hadnít existed in the early í70s (Willamette Valley wineries, the restored lodge at Crater Lake). It proved a truly magical vacation. By the time we arrived back in Portland for reunion, we were head over heels in love. Though we were somewhat in a daze, it was still the perfect frame of mind to be back at Reed reconnecting with old friends.

Reunions98 ended with a social sponsored by the class of 1968, featuring a reunion of Laura and the Vipers, the late í60s Reed rock band. So there we were, in the new Kaul Auditorium, dancing to music we might have danced to a quarter century earlier. Lost in ourselves and in the music, we were interrupted by a tap on the shoulder from one of our classmates. He said, "will you guys knock it off for just a minute? Iím trying to say good bye." It was the perfect comment to end a magical week. We did knock it off for just that minute, but we have kept it up ever since.

Volunteer opportunities

If you wish to become more involved at Reed, there are ample opportunities for you to do so.

Local alumni interested in helping at current alumni and student events such as the finals week feeding frenzy, or in starting a new alumni tradition at Renn Fayre, should call Becky Chiao í85 at 503/771-4816 or send email to

If you are interested in working with Reedís community service program, please phone the SEEDS office at 503/777-7563.

The approach of spring brings a bumper crop of smart and eager Reedies looking for intelligent work. Alumni are needed throughout the year to answer career questions from students, participate in career panels, or perhaps attend one of Reedís informational career fairs. If you are interested in assisting the career services office, please call them at 503/777-7550.

The alumni association, the admission office, and the development office are always on the lookout for enthusiastic new volunteers. Please call Kristin Converse at 503/777-7789 for more information.

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