the past three years the Reed alumni association has been conducting
oral history interviews of alumni from the 30s, 40s,
and 50s. Aside from colorful tales of pranks, political intrigue,
and creative anarchy, there is one common theme that emerges from
the interviews across the yearsno one leaves Reed College
quite the same as when they entered it.
The college clearly leaves its mark, the impression deeper on some
more than others. The interviews point to a familiar pattern. First
comes the high bird callpeople who have mentored
or observed you in your quirky adolescence start whispering about
Reed College, as though it were part of a secret society.
Next, you arrive and for the first time in your short life you feel
youve found a place where youre accepted, intellectual
quirks and all (60 years later people still break into tears remembering
that sense of belonging).
Then comes the whirling blender of the Reed experience humanities,
socials, junior quals, thesis, oralsand soon youre spit
out into the world. Some colleges serveas transitional way stationsto
some place elsegrad school, a career ladder, worldly successbest
left behind on a list of credentials.