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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org,
or call 503/777-7589.