News of the Alumni Association Head
A message from the alumni association president
Three good reasons
By Patrick Pruyne ’83

Patrick PruyneI recently participated in the Small College Alumni Directors Conference along with Reed’s director of alumni relations, Mike Teskey. Alumni association presidents and directors from 13 small liberal arts colleges have been meeting regularly over the past two decades to discuss how to serve and engage their members: in other words, how best to “flip the switch” for alums from being passive to active participants.

It is about continuing and enhancing the relationship begun between you and the Reed community while you were earning your degree and setting your life’s course. The two most common barriers preventing Reed alums from becoming active are either not knowing where the opportunities to contribute lie or, more often, merely for the want of being asked.

I’d like to offer three venues of opportunity for your consideration.

Alumni play a positive role from before a student begins at Reed until after they’ve graduated.

Reed’s admission office depends upon a geographically dispersed network of alums to meet with and interview prospective students.

During the academic year the Portland alumni chapter sponsors a series of well-attended on-campus events.

Finally, while completing their work and planning for life beyond Reed, students may avail themselves of a network of alumni mentors via the career services office.

Tuition currently purchases about 70 percent of the true cost of one year at Reed. That percentage has been on the decline in recent years. Reed’s endowment has improved substantially, thanks largely to gifts from alumni and friends as well as investment performance. And current support for the annual fund is critical to the college’s day-to-day operations. What is not widely understood is that beyond the sum of gifts, the proportion of alums donating has ramifications. When Reed competes for funding from philanthropic organizations, the percentage of alums supporting the college is compared with that of other institutions. It is something of a satisfaction index. Thus even a humble annual donation can yield substantial results.

In the near term, spring 2003 presents an opportunity for alums to welcome and advise Reed’s new president, Colin S. Diver. He will conduct a tour of alumni chapters and select locations as the featured guest of our next Reed on the Road series.

While altruism is a worthy motivator it would be remiss to overlook the pure selfish joy of re-entering the Reed community. There are alumni chapters in Boston, New York, D.C., Chicago, Seattle, the Bay Area, southern California, and Portland. Each of these chapters gathers Reedies from all eras together for sharing both the pithy and the playful. You will be welcomed to participate in reading groups, hiking events, pub crawls, and cultural and sports outings—all laced with the deeply informed, witty, and dependably irreverent opinions found among no other group.

For those of us who have been savoring the pleasures of being engaged Reed alums, the only remaining question is; won’t you please consider joining us and making a very good thing so much better?

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