president rides on Reeds reputation
John Sheehy 82
is shocking but true. Since graduation 20 years ago, I have allowed Reeds
reputation for intellectual horsepower, independent spirit, and nonconformity
to carry me forward both personally and professionally. And I dont
think Im alone.
As alumni president this past year I have met numerous alumni who share
this secret. The Reed name opens doors, sometimes in places people didnt
even know existed. And for good reason. Reed leaves its mark on students,
and not only its graduates. Those who walk its halls for even a brief
time do not escape unscathed.
At a recent campus dinner commemorating the renovation and expansion of
the biology building, three alumni Eric Selker 75, Carey
Booth 81, and Patrick Phillips 86 shared memories of
their experiences as biology students. Common to each of their stories
was the recognition that Reed had given them the room and resources to
stretch and accomplish more than they believed themselves capable of.
And that wasnt just the result of assigning more books than you
could ever read in one semester.
When Reeds first president, 32-year-old William Foster, set down
his vision for the college, it was to create a place that shuts
its doors on idlers by a means of discipline from which there is no escape.
Since that time Reed has fine-tuned a highly calibrated environment that
engages both professors and students in a mutually challenging and supportive
dynamic. There is nothing quite like it.
This past year has been a time of change at Reed. We have a new president,
a new board of trustees chairperson, a new alumni director, and seven
new faculty members. Reed is more vigorous and financially healthy than
ever in its history. But the intangible essence and the supporting values
that make Reed Reed are as fragile today as they ever have been.
With so many new faces, the burden of stewardship falls more and more
to us as alumni. This past year the alumni
association has laid the steps to increase that stewardship. We are working
to provide more support in admission and career services. We are actively
pursuing our oral history of Reed to preserve the colleges common
social and cultural heritage. We are establishing new means of alumni
commu-nication to widen our sense of community.
Now we need your help. Reed has done much for all of us, whether we choose
to ride on its reputation or not. To find out how you can give something
back to Reed as a volunteer, please call the alumni relations office at