message from the alumni association president
Three good reasons
By Patrick Pruyne ’83
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
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?