October 5 Colin Diver, became the fourteenth president of Reed College.
Diver, who describes himself as rational, multi-talented, impatient, and
ambitious, acknowledges that the move to Portland entails huge changes
geographically, culturally, and professionally. “At the same time,”
says Diver, “Portland and Reed already feel like home to us in many
ways.” His wife, Joan agrees: “There was a very strong feeling
of something pulling us here.”
“I suppose my background in public service helps me appreciate Reed’s
feistiness, independence, and libertarian ethos,” Diver said. Describing
himself as a “city kid,” Diver said that Reed’s location
in Portland is a “huge advantage because of the educational, service,
and cultural opportunities it offers.”
The Divers, who arrived in Portland in July, moved here from Philadelphia,
where Diver was the Charles A. Heimbold, Jr., Professor of Law and Economics
and former dean at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Before that
he taught at the Boston University School of Law, where he was dean. His
academic career also includes teaching at the Wharton School at Penn and
the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Diver received his
B.A. from Amherst College and his law degree from Harvard.
“Reed reminds me of the best parts of my undergraduate education
at Amherst,” adds Diver. “The breadth of student initiative
and inquiry, the thesis experience, the educational structure are all
very compelling to me. I’m also attracted to the fact that Reed
is very strong in the sciences. I believe a truly liberal education requires
much more than just a passing familiarity with scientific methodology.
“One of the things that appealed to me most about Reed was its stubborn
commitment to liberal ideals, to the training of the formal intellect
of undergraduates. Reed is famously and fiercely independent and has not
given itself over to focusing primarily on graduate training nor taking
a scattershot approach to undergraduate class offerings.
“In the teaching I’ve done in professional schools, I’ve
been a consumer of undergraduate education. I’ve become increasingly
distressed at the lack of preparation I see in my students. Many students
come into law school with a lack of a common core of knowledge about our
civilization, a fear of quantitative concepts, a lack of analytical rigor,
and a very passive approach to learning.” Diver was awarded with
the A. Leo Levin Award for Teaching Excellence in his last year at the
University of Pennsylvania School of Law.