NOAA November 2004

A message from the alumni association president

Holly Gudmundson Leighton ’78Three Simple Steps
by Holly Gudmundson Leighton ’78

I recently attended the SCAD (Small College Alumni Directors) conference and had the opportunity to meet other alumni association presidents from Middlebury, Pomona, Colorado College, Grinnell, Colby, and others. We shared frustrations and bright ideas, best practices and concerns. That experience has led me to think about ways to encourage alumni to reconnect with their classmates and with Reed. Here are three simple steps:

Step One

You can accomplish Step One without leaving home. Thumb through the articles, the news from the alumni association, and the class notes that are in this copy of Reed magazine.Find out what the person who sat next to you in your Hum110 conference is doing.

Your computer can also help you reconnect. Look in your email inbox. Is there an unread issue of ReediEnews, the electronic alumni newsletter, languishing there? Open it and you’ll find links to interesting stories and lots of good information about what’s happening with your fellow alumni and the college. Check out the Reed website, especially the alumni pages at You’ll find information about upcoming events, the alumni association, and the Oral History Project—and that’s just for starters. Looking for that former flame? ReedLink, a collection of online services for alumni, can help:

If you live in one of the cities where there is an alumni association chapter, attend one of the chapter events. Mike Teskey, director of alumni relations, has been hosting a series of alumni “happy hours” in various cities (both those with chapters and those without) over the past several months. It is a fun way to find out about what’s going on at Reed and to meet Reedies in your own back yard.

Step Two

OK, Step Two involves leaving home, but it’s relatively painless. Now that you’ve reconnected with your freshman dormmates, plan to meet at Reunions. You can even set up a mini-reunion for your group, which my freshman dormies from Mac III did last year. We found that the bond we forged during our first year was still alive and well. Reunions offer great camaraderie, good food and drink, and an opportunity to learn (and talk) about “Old Reed” through the oral history group interviews and the centennial events. This year’s inaugural centennial event featured former president Paul Bragdon in a fascinating trip through the turbulent first years of his presidency. If you want to recapture more academic elements of the Reed experience, attend Alumni College, which precedes Reunions.

Step Three

You’re now ready for the big time: volunteering. No matter what your interest, there’s an area where you can volunteer—admissions, reunions, Oral History Project, career services. There’s also the alumni board, a group “whose purpose is to direct the association’s goals, programs, and services” ( One of my colleagues on the board (a self-described “recently involved convert”) commented that he “found a deeper involvement with the alumni association to be meaningful, even satisfying, as well as fun.” During my five years on the alumni board, I have come to appreciate the commitment displayed by alumni board members and the lengths to which they will go to support and promote Reed.

One of my classmates, Kim Lambert ’80, reminded me recently that volunteering for Reed provides benefits for you and the college. She said, “We can raise the prestige of the institution through our professional achievements, help prospective students understand the value of a Reed education by attending college fairs, help younger Reed graduates in their professional development by critiquing a resume or taking on an intern, and, on the highest level, help shape what Reed is to become for future generations.”

Three simple steps to take you from spectator to participant— and, by reading this article, you’re already halfway through the first one! End of Article

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Reed Magazine November

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