Steven Falk ’83 A message from the alumni association president
By Steven Falk ’83

Well, it turns out that there are some surprises along the way for the president of the Reed College alumni association. The first delightful surprise arrived when I was invited to speak at this year’s convocation ceremonies. The email note said that I would be one of a series of speakers (including president Colin Diver, a representative from the board of trustees, and the student body president) who would welcome incoming freshlings and parents, after which the prestigious Vollum Award would be presented.

These are my notes from the event:
  • Don robe and cowl. Cool!
  • March in processional next to dean of the faculty Peter Steinberger. Very cool!
  • Sit on Kaul Auditorium stage with, to my left, trustee Steve McCarthy ’66 and, to my right, distinguished scientist, inventor, initiator of the Human Genome Project, founder of several biotech companies, textbook writer, and soon-to-be recipient of the Howard Vollum award for distinguished accomplishments in science, Dr. Leroy Hood.
  • Following McCarthy, make three minutes of (hopefully) inspired remarks, then sit back down.
  • Listen to student body president Dan Denvir make three minutes of (definitely) inspired remarks, then watch him sit back down.
  • See, out of the corner of my eye, a flash of light as someone rushes the stage and attempts to deliver a large whipped cream pie into the face of student body president Dan Denvir.
  • Note that pie thrower has exceptionally bad aim. Note that most of pie contents is headed rapidly in my direction.
  • Note that large amounts of pie contents cover my eyes, run out of my ears, and drip from my robe and cowl.
  • Turn to left and note that—just as he is standing up to receive the Howard Vollum award for distinguished accomplishments in science—scientist, inventor, initiator of the Human Genome Project, founder of several biotech companies, and textbook writer Dr. Leroy Hood is unrecognizable behind the pie that covers him.
  • Marvel at the grace and equanimity of Dr. Hood as he strolls gracefully to the podium and, for the next 20 minutes, makes no mention whatsoever of the white cream splattered across his robe and face while precisely describing the future of predictive genomics.

To his credit, the student body president sent me a nice note of apology immediately after the event. I responded, telling Mr. Denvir not to worry because nobody got hurt and, anyway, it wasn’t his fault. I also asked him not to sit anywhere near me at the next event we attend together.

In September, since the old long-term plan had lived out its useful life, your alumni association board of directors adopted a new three-year strategic plan. This document differs from its predecessor in a number of ways, but most notably it reorganizes the board to provide better long-, middle-, and short-term programming for alumni.

For the long term, the board formed a Reed heritage and centennial planning committee; its purpose is to describe the history and heritage of Reed College and to deliver these descriptions to alumni at the college’s centennial celebration in 2011. Richard Parker ’75 chairs this committee.

Our middle-term goal is to provide smashing and memorable reunions each year, and for that purpose we created a reunions and Alumni College planning committee. Eva Labby ’51 and Vera Bustrum ’79 serve as co-chairs for this committee.

Finally, we also seek to deliver meaningful programs to Reed alumni throughout the year—such as Reed on the Road, ReediEnews, and local chapter events. It is the charge of the alumni outreach and programs committee to ensure that we do so. This group is chaired by Dylan Rivera ’95.

These three committees, populated by Reedies whose graduation years span almost 50 years, are energized and already working to accomplish their tasks for the year. If you have comments or suggestions for these groups, please send them to alumni@reed.edu, or call 503/777-7589. End of Article

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