Sallyportal: Madly Blogging Reed

The Last of Reed’s Fantastic Four Passes Away

Sue Cooley

Sue Cooley, a generous benefactor who greatly enriched Reed College both academically and artistically, died on February 18. She was one of the Fantastic Four, two dynamic couples—Ed and Sue Cooley, and John and Betty Gray—who stepped in to provide leadership and direction in the 1970s when Reed was struggling, and instead of just treading water, imagined something great.

Sue was born March 31, 1923, to Waldo and Marguerite Davison in Brazil, where her father worked for the YMCA. The family moved back to the U.S. when she was six, settling in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Sue attended Wilson College and graduated from Swarthmore College in 1944 with a degree in psychology. That same year, she married Edward Cooley, also from Swarthmore, whom she’d known since high school. At Harvard Business School Ed met John Gray, who suggested that he come to Portland and help with his chainsaw company, Omark Industries. The Grays moved to Portland in 1950 where they raised three children, Susan, Douglas, and Caroline. Ed started Precision Castparts, which originally provided cast parts for Omark. It grew into a giant casting company that provided parts for the aerospace industry.

Many of Sue’s ancestors were artisans who valued working with their hands, and she developed a lifelong passion for painting as a child. As a young woman, she worked for a ceramic artist, and later volunteered at the Ceramic Studio in Portland. That active interest in the arts and painting informed her service on the board of the Portland Art Museum, and on Bainbridge Island, where she helped fund the Bainbridge Artisans Resource Network (BARN). She also supported many artists in the Northwest and Maui.

Looming Debacle in Education?

We now know that the central causes of the 2008 financial meltdown were the transgressions of Wall Street. Over three decades, beginning with President Ronald Reagan, financial regulation was steadily reduced, both overtly (through changes in the laws) and covertly (through increasingly lax enforcement). As a result, the housing market became riddled with fraud.

The fraud was rampant and extensive, in the sense that the whole chain—from buyers to bankers—was involved. At one end of the chain, buyers lied about their financial strength (their assets, their monthly pay, their current obligations). At the other end, banks traded credit default swaps based on bundled mortgages that were knowingly given grossly inflated credit ratings. One brazen employee at Countrywide Financial Corporation had a vanity license plate in 2005 that read “Fund’Em.” Banks extended loans to anyone willing to take them, because a new loan meant positive cash flow for everyone in the system, from the mortgage officers on Main Street all the way up to the high-level fat cats on Wall Street. Why worry about the consequences of default? The prevailing attitude was “I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone.”

How widespread was this fraud? In one study of a typical bundle (a bank box full) of mortgages, the examiner found that about 33% of the loans were defective (in ways that were obvious and should have led to denial of the loans). This 33% (is a lower bound and) becomes the measure of fraud throughout the whole system, since these bundles were then passed up the chain. In this grossly simplified sense, we can say that this 33% fraud rate eventually led to the 2008 meltdown.

RAW Edges Closer to the Borderline

If you happened to be walking through through New York City’s Chinatown one night last August, you might have noticed the words “Gentrification is modern colonialism” projected onto the wall of M.S. 131. You might have stopped and watched as they were replaced first with animations, then song lyrics, then, a question: “Who did you displace to open your gallery?”

Earlier that evening, the Chinatown Art Brigade—an arts collective dedicated to defending tenants from displacement—had parked a van rigged with equipment next to the school. That night, they projected messages about gentrification and community resilience onto the wall as part of their “Here to Stay” project.

Artist Betty Yu, one of the Brigade’s founders, visited Reed on March 4 to talk about “Resisting Gentrification through Art, Culture, and Activism” as part of Reed Arts Week. This year’s RAW curators, Charlie Perez ‘17 and Daphne Lyda ‘17, organized the five-day festival around the idea of borders.

Theatre-lit Major Stages Spring Crisis

UP IN ARMS: Ashlin Hatch ’17 explores Reed culture and traditions in her devised theatre-lit thesis production, which opens March 2.

As every Reedie knows, spring on campus is the season of junior quals, sunshine deprivation, and the inevitable eruption of some campus controversy known as the “spring crisis.” In an original new play opening this Thursday, theater-lit major and former student body president Ashlin Hatch ’17 explores the spring crisis phenomenon in her production This Must Be the Place.

This Must Be the Place is a devised play that examines Reed traditions, stories, culture, and what happened on campus in the spring of 1972 after Nixon had sent B-52s to bomb Hanoi and Haiphong in his controversial escalation of the Vietnam war. That spring, waves of protest spread throughout the country: demonstrators were arrested at Stanford and the University of Michigan, tear gas and batons used against demonstrators at the University of Texas, and 800 Guardsmen were sent to meet demonstrators at the University of Maryland. Reed students were outraged and wanted to take action.

What happened next is the stuff of Reed legend.

Reed Welcomes New Trustees

Reed's board of trustees has elected two valiant new members to its ranks.

Nick Galakatos ’79 is a co-founder and managing director of Clarus Ventures, a global investment firm focused on healthcare, with $1.7 billion in assets under management. Nick has more than 27 years of experience in the sector, including the founding of three successful biotech companies: Millennium Predictive Medicine, Millennium Biotherapeutics, and TransForm Pharmaceuticals. Before becoming an investor and an entrepreneur, he served as head of molecular biology research at Ciba (currently Novartis). He has published over twenty scientific articles and holds several patents. Nick majored in chemistry at Reed and wrote his thesis on “Synthesis of bis(trimethylsilyl)difluoromethane as an intermediate in the preparation of difluoromethanedisulfonic acid” with Prof. Marsh Cronyn ’40. He went on to earn a PhD in organic chemistry from MIT under the supervision of Dan Kemp ’58 and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School. He also taught organic chemistry at Reed in 1983-84. Nick grew up in Greece and came to Reed on the recommendation of Bill McGrew ’56, who was the President of his high school. He is married to Alice Balshaw Galakatos; they have two adult children.

Tom Daniel is the founding executive director of Catalysis Advisors, offering insight and consultation in the biotech field. He has also served as chairman of Celgene Research, chief scientific officer at Ambrx, vice president of research at Amgen, and senior vice president of research at Immunexx. Tom served for 14 years on the faculty at Vanderbilt University, where he was the Hakim Professor of Medicine and Cell Biology and director of the Vanderbilt Center for Vascular Biology. He also conducted research for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute through the University of California at San Francisco. He earned his M.D. from the University of Texas, Southwestern and completed medical residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. Tom and his former spouse, Susan Erickson, are the parents of Lyle Daniel ’18.

Inside the Mind of a Microbe

Crescent Loom, a neuroscience game invented by Wick Perry ’13, lets you animate rudimentary creatures by wiring up neurons, muscles, and sensors. Along the way, you see how simple circuits can generate complex behavior.

My creature is flailing.

It’s a slapdash concoction of tendon and bone, with floppy appendages and mismatched eyes. Its pathetic brain consists of nine—count ‘em—nine neurons. I have armed it with stingers, harpoons, and suckers, but this arsenal has so far proven utterly worthless, because I haven’t yet figured out a much more basic problem-- how to get the damn thing to propel itself through this alien ocean. Meanwhile, a sleek six-flippered monster (dubbed “the Kraken”) darts dangerously near, pulsing with menace. Unless I can find a way to rewire its brain, my creature (the “Mike-crobe”) is headed for extinction.

Students Explore Careers by Shadowing Alumni

Biology-CS major Amy Rose Lazarte ’19 shadowed NASA systems engineer Arwen Davé ’89 to learn more about careers in science and engineering.

Reed students are finding new opportunities to explore careers before they graduate, thanks to an initiative at the Center for Life Beyond Reed.

More than 100 Reedies participated in the college’s Winter Shadows program, which pairs students with alumni, parents, and friends of the college who work in their field of interest. The students spent anywhere from two to 10 days at the jobsite getting their hands dirty and learning more about everything from particle physics to photojournalism.

Biology/CS major Amy Rose Lazarte ’19 spent three days shadowing Arwen Davé ’89, a mechanical/systems engineer at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain Park, California. Amy Rose explored a botany lab where biologists see how plants will react to zero gravity and low light and a robotics lab where Arwen is working on the next Mars rover.

Radiolab Founder Chases the Antelope

Jad Abumrad, co-creator and host of the hit podcast Radiolab, lives his life according to two principles, he revealed to a crowded Kaul Auditorium on Saturday: “chase the antelope” and “follow the odds.” If the juxtaposition of a plains-dwelling ungulate and a poker game seems absurd yet intriguing, then you have a sense for who Abumrad is.

Born and raised in Tennessee, Abumrad got his undergraduate degree from the Oberlin Conservatory. It was on the long drives from Nashville to Oberlin that he fell in love with broadcast journalism. The best known product of that love, Radiolab, has earned Abumrad a MacArthur Grant and a Peabody Award.

Jad began the Radiolab project in November 2003, during a breakfast with his friend and fellow Oberlin alum Robert Krulwich. Since then, the show has exploded in popularity with an average 1.4 million listeners tuning in each week. Their most listened-to piece is also their most recent—an exploration of financier Bernie Madoff’s “Ponzi Supernova.”

Reed Honors Life of Mara Gibbs ’19

Family and friends mourn Mara Gibbs, who died after a fire broke out in her SE Portland apartment.

Hundreds of Reedies who knew and loved Margalit “Mara” Gibbs ’19 crowded into the Student Union on Wednesday night to celebrate her life.

Mara died Tuesday, February 7, after sustaining extensive injuries in a fire that raged through her Southeast Portland apartment early Sunday morning. Awakened by the fire, she managed to dial 911, but passed out from the smoke and the heat before she could finish the call. Two other people survived by jumping from the second floor window.

Lauren Gibbs, Mara’s mother, said her daughter hated ceremony, and even avoided her own high school graduation. “She would not have wanted a ceremony to celebrate her,” Lauren said. “But we are going to because she loved Reed, she loved the friends she made here, she loved her classes and her professors, her internships with GlooPen and Reed's Software Design Studio, and she loved Portland.”

Olde Reed Rises From Grave in Last-Minute Rally

STRETCHING THE LIMITS. Impressive jumping by student team (gray jerseys) was not enough to keep the grizzled veterans of the alumni team (black jerseys) from pulling out an upset win. Photo by Alejandro Chavez ’17

Olde Reed and New Reed battled for supremacy on the basketball court Friday in a nail-biter of a match between students and alumni. But when the dust settled, the old-schoolers came out on top 57-56.

In its first game of the semester, the Reed team, coached by Ried Woodlee, started strong. By the end of the first half, the students were up 30-19 with point guard (and English major) Ciaran Short ’20 claiming 8 points. With 11:15 left in the second half, the students pulled ahead 44-29 and seemed poised to trounce the grizzled elders.

But In the next 10 minutes the alumni went on a remarkable 22-10 run, and with 1:20 left in the game, the students were struggling to hold onto their 54-51 lead.

After a foul, alumni powerhouse Kasra Shokat ’14 found himself at the free-throw line. He made his first free throw, bringing the score to 54-52. His second throw hit the rim but was successfully rebounded by Lars Fjelstad ’92. Lars threw it out to Colin Daniel ’00, who shot the go-ahead 3-pointer and put the alumni in the lead 55-54.

Reed Opposes Immigration Ban

Photo: Jolie Griffin

Reed President John R. Kroger today announced that Reed will ask Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly to review President Trump’s executive order banning immigration from seven majority-Muslim nations in the Middle East.

In a message to the Reed community, Kroger said that the order “deeply offends” the values of the Reed community and is in direct conflict with Reed’s commitment to educate thinkers from a broad range of nations, faiths, and races.

As a practical matter, he said, the order will make it “difficult, and in many cases impossible,” for students and scholars from the seven nations to attend or teach at Reed and will have a “chilling effect” on the ability of students and scholars to travel to the region.

Reed Rallies Around Muslim Community

Professors and students write messages of support for members of the Muslim and Middle Eastern community at Reed in the wake of President Trump's executive order banning immigration from seven nations in the Middle East.

Students, professors, and staff jammed the Hauser Library today in a show of solidarity with Muslim and Middle Eastern members of the Reed community in the wake of President Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from seven nations in the Middle East.

“Look around this room,” Dean for Institutional Diversity Mary James told the crowd. “I want you all to remember that people at Reed care about our community and they care about you.”

Reed currently has no international students with visas from the seven banned nations, but it does have many students, professors, staff, and alumni with deep connections to the region. In addition, many students from all backgrounds feel threatened by the ban.

Reed Biologists Divide and Conquer

The eye of the zebrafish peers into your soul.

There’s a definite buzz around the Griffin Biology Building these days, and it’s not just the fruit flies. Like cells that keep dividing, the students, professors, and staff in the bio department keep generating news.

Prof. Derek Applewhite and Wick Perry ’13 published a paper in the Journal of Cell Science on a protein known as PIGS that has a dramatic effect on cytoskeleton organization. What, you ask, is the cytoskeleton? It’s the network of filament that gives a cell its shape and allows it to move. Prof. Applewhite’s research is focused on these fundamental structures.

Prof. Kara Cerveny and five of her former students published a paper in Development on the growth of the eye in zebrafish, and the role played by a mutant gene and retinoic acid in regulating the timing of this fiendishly difficult feat. The students were Terra Vleeshouwer-Neumann ’13, Amanuel Tafessu ’14, Audrey Williams ’14, Will Horner ’15, and McKenzie Givens ’17. Also on the author list: bio lab manager Dayna Lamb.

Reed to Students: “We Stand With You.”

Dear Reed Community,

The news over the weekend of the Trump administration’s Executive Order calling for an immigration ban has caused widespread confusion and concern. We know that for some in our community, these developments are particularly troubling. 

We do not currently have any members of our international student community on visas from the seven countries subject to the immigration ban. Nonetheless, we know that for some students, as well as staff and faculty, and especially for those who identify as Muslim, this is a time of great fear and uncertainty. We want you to know that we stand with you.

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates for our international students. In the meantime, I hope that we will focus on doing everything we can to come together as a community. Reed is undeniably and immeasurably enriched by the diversity of people who live and learn, work and teach here, together.

With hope and in gratitude,

—Mike Brody

Vice President for Student Services
Title IX Coordinator
Reed College

Dublin, Sligo, and Gort: See Ireland with Reedies

Join Prof. Jay Dickson and a merry band of alumni on the adventure of a lifetime—a trip to the  Ireland of James Joyce and W. B. Yeats during June 12-21, 2017. We’ll examine the Dublin of Joyce and experience the city on Bloomsday, June 16. But we will also enjoy special access to historic manuscripts, including the Book of Kells. Our trip will take in the Irish countryside as we explore important megalithic sites and stop to admire the miles of stone walls and learn to describe their different styles. On the west side of the country, we will be in Yeats country. And we will explore the areas that inspired his descriptive poetry including Rosses Point, Glencar Waterfall, and Thoor Ballylee. And for those wishing to explore other aspects of this great country, the program includes optional activities so travelers can take nature walks, ride bikes, or tour distilleries.

For details or to sign up, please visit Eventbrite.

Cost:

Reed Alum Perishes in “Ghost Ship” Fire

Peter Wadsworth ’02. "He was like our Dumbledore—our wise wizard."

We are sorry to report that Reed alumnus Peter Wadsworth ’02 perished in the catastrophic fire at the Oakland warehouse known as the “Ghost Ship” on December 2. The blaze claimed 36 lives.

The fire broke out during a party at the warehouse, which served as an artists’ collective. Neighbors had complained of people living in the building illegally, with trash piling up, and other unsafe conditions.

Bob Mule, Peter’s roommate in the Ghost Ship, told reporters that Peter had broken his ankle while trying to escape from the loft of his space. The oppressive heat and smoke forced Mule to abandon his attempt to pull Peter from the flames.

Response to Kimberly Peirce Protest

On November 11, 2016, at a public event on campus, Kimberly Peirce, the director and writer of Boys Don't Cry, was met with signs bearing profanity-laced slogans, and her talk was disrupted by a small number of Reed students.

John Kroger, Reed’s president, in response to the event, stated, “expressing dissenting viewpoints is central to intellectual debate, as is made clear in Reed’s dissent policy. All views, however, must be expressed in a way that does not deliberately obstruct others from sharing their ideas. Such conduct has no place at Reed College.”

Reed’s dean of the faculty, Nigel Nicholson, was present at the event and issued a statement to the campus community in the student newspaper, Reed College Quest (full text below). He stated, “[t]he principle that a speaker, any speaker, should be treated with respect was explicitly rejected.”

Nicholson also said of Peirce, “she was very gracious in the face of considerable hostility” and “did a remarkable job respectfully and patiently addressing the concerns of the protesters.” He said, “Many speakers would not have hosted a discussion under such pressure, but the resulting Q&A led by Peirce proved to be genuinely productive.” Nicholson called for the community to “reflect on what happened and make a determination not to repeat it.”

RAR Demands—December Progress Report

Dear Reed Community,

Just over a month ago I sent an email summarizing progress on the concerns students raised with President Kroger as part of the September 26 campus Black Lives Matter demonstration. Since that time a great deal has happened at Reed and beyond. Most notably, as a divisive election season came to a close, many people across the country as well as members of the Reed community have expressed their deep sense of anxiety about the prospect of a Trump presidency. Some students, staff, and faculty from historically marginalized groups have made it very clear that they fear for their safety. Incidents like the hateful graffiti found in the Reed library and anonymous threats made against students in social media amplify these fears.

RIP Ernie Bonyhadi ’48, Faithful Friend of Reed

"He had a sort of effervescence. He always spread light when there was darkness."

Prominent attorney, generous philanthropist, and steadfast Reed trustee Ernie Bonyhadi ’48 died on Thanksgiving Day while visiting family and friends in Australia. He was 92 years old.

Ernie lived an astonishing life. He escaped the Nazis as a boy, fled to the United States, then returned to Germany with the US Army to search for war criminals. After graduating from Reed, he pursued a long and distinguished legal career, arguing before the Supreme Court, and became a stalwart Reed trustee, serving on the board for more than 25 years and remaining an active trustee emeritus until his death.

“He was not a typical lawyer,” says longtime friend and legal partner Charles Hinkle, who argued several cases alongside him. “He had a sort of effervescence. Nothing discouraged him. He could see the good in everyone. He always spread light when there was darkness.”

Biology Prof. First Winner of Prestigious New Award

Involving undergraduates in award-winning research: Prof. Sarah Schaack (right) was recently honored by the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust.

Congratulations to Prof. Sarah Schaack [biology 2011–] who is the first ever recipient of a new award from the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust: the Lynwood W. Swanson Promise for Scientific Research Award.

"It is truly an honor to be recognized by something like this—an award unheard of in the sciences, especially for early career faculty," Prof. Schaack says. The foundation noted that Prof. Schaack “was chosen for her research in the nature of mutations, particularly those caused by mobile DNA, and for deeply involving her undergraduate students.” Named in honor of Dr. Lynwood Swanson, a prominent scientist, entrepreneur, and trustee for the Murdock foundation for 30 years, the annual award recognizes an emerging professor's scientific research.

"I have appreciated the Trust's financial support for my work as a scientist through their grant programs, but to be recognized by the Promise award not only for my work, but the work I endeavor to share with undergraduate and international collaborators, is more than a compliment-- it is motivation to do more," says Schaack.

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