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Colin S. Diver, Reed's 14th President

Diver acknowledges that the range of responsibilities is broader at a small college. “The breadth of the faculty and academic disciplines is enormous. I’ve been meeting with faculty members individually. One day I’m discussing subatomic particles with a physicist and the next I’m talking about Shakespeare and literary theory with a professor of English.”

His interviews with the faculty have helped Diver identify many challenges at Reed, including the difficulty of balancing teaching and research. “I want to be able to allow the faculty more time for research but do it in a Reed way, which means making sure that faculty research grows out of, and supports, teaching, which must always remain the first priority.”

Diver has been considering the community as a whole, as well. “In the past, the Reed community was small enough that faculty members participated in each others’ lives. In other schools, as the faculty grows, that participation is limited to within the departments. I don’t know how things at Reed will settle, but I hope we will be able to maintain a cross-disciplinary community.”

Diver names his parents as two of the most influential people in his life. When he was born his father, a photographer at MIT, was 50, and his mother, one of the first women lawyers at a prestigious Boston law firm, was 41. “Because of their ages they had different things to offer me that were terribly influential in my personal development,” says Diver.

He also names Common Ground biographer Tony Lukas as another powerful life force. “Tony was a person of unrelenting integrity with an incredible commitment to objectivity and truth.”

But he readily identifies his wife, Joan, as the single most influential person in his life. “We’ve been married for 37 years and we have changed and grown together. . . . Joan sees the world through a spiritual lens. She has taught me that things happen for a reason and that staying present in each moment enables one to discern that purpose.”

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