News of the Alumni Association Head
Alumni president rides on Reed’s reputation
John Sheehy ’82

John Sheehy pictureIt is shocking but true. Since graduation 20 years ago, I have allowed Reed’s reputation for intellectual horsepower, independent spirit, and nonconformity to carry me forward both personally and professionally. And I don’t think I’m 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 didn’t 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 wasn’t just the result of assigning more books than you could ever read in one semester.

When Reed’s 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 college’s 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 503/777-7589.

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