News of the College November 2004
Diver address
In his welcome address, President Colin Diver told the audience that he believes one of Reed’s tasks is to remind the world of the difference between truth and power. Photos of convocation by Orin Bassoff ’06.
Reed inaugurates 94th academic year

Reed College welcomed the class of 2008 and their families to campus in August with a full schedule of orientation activities, complemented by the famed rainfall of the Pacific Northwest. Students and parents shed their rain ponchos inside Kaul Auditorium to join the Reed community in celebrating the start of the 94th academic year.

President Colin Diver opened the 2004 Convocation with a heartfelt welcome to the new students and their families. Drawing from the Greek word “agon,” which means “contest” and is the source of the English word “agony,” President Diver shared his thoughts on the contests of today’s world: the Olympic Games, the presidential election, the war on terror, the struggle in Iraq, and even college rankings. “It is no accident that we begin with the ancient Greeks, whose contributions to athletics, knowledge, and aesthetics are being celebrated during the current Olympics. Our task at Reed is to return to the timeless understandings that have informed our civilization’s enduring achievements. And it is also our task at Reed to remind the world that there is a difference between argument and allegation, between evidence and assertion, between testable hypothesis and wild speculation, and—most of all—between truth and power.”

President Diver thanks orientation coordinatorsMargaret Boyle ’05 and Michelle David ’06.
President Diver thanks orientation coordinators
Margaret Boyle ’05 and Michelle David ’06.
Spanish and humanities professor Elizabeth Drumm gave the convocation speech, addressing ambiguity and violence in the Odyssey, specifically the slaughter of the suitors and serving women in book XXII. “If Odysseus’ slaughter of the suitors is justified in the text, Telemachus’ actions are less clear and highlight the fact that not all instances of violence are equal,” she said. She juxtaposed Telemachus’ decision to kill the serving women with more violence than necessary with the lynching of black victims in the early 1900s and the brutality depicted in recent photographs from Abu Ghraib prison.

Student body president Erik Cameron ’05 shared his thoughts on why the world needs Reed. “At Reed, we learn to produce culture rather than to consume it,” he said. “For nearly a century, we have been turning out free thinkers and activists, skeptics, and visionaries. When we bring these gifts to the rest of the world, we are the ones exporting real freedom.”

Reed trustee Stephen R. McCarthy ’66 also welcomed the incoming class and offered advice to Reedie families: “For you parents for whom sending your oldest, or only, or youngest, off to college is a wrenching experience, remember that in four years they may move back in.”

You can read the complete convocation speeches at: End of Article

Spanish and humanities professor Elizabeth Drumm
Spanish and humanities professor
Elizabeth Drumm
Reed trustee Stephen R. McCarthy ’66
Reed trustee
Stephen R. McCarthy ’66
Student body presidentErik Cameron ’05
Student body president
Erik Cameron ’05

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Reed Magazine November 2004
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