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Reed to Launch Computer Science Program

BRING IN 'DA FUNCTION. Prof. Jim Fix will lead Reed's new initiative in computer science.

Reed’s digital footprint will grow by an order of magnitude next year with the launch of a fully fledged computer science program.

With $5 million in fundraising for endowments nearly complete, the college will hire two new tenure-track professors, offer deeper and more advanced coursework to a wider range of students, and establish a major in computer science.

Combined with other recent initiatives—such as computational biology and the Software Design Studio—Reed aims to build an outstanding program that provides students from all kinds of backgrounds an unparalleled opportunity to master this dynamic field.

“I’m thrilled that we will now be able to support a complete computer science program, not just to meet the demand, but to provide a variety of new experiences for our students," said Prof. Jim Fix [math 1999–].

Reed has a long and proud tradition of computing, but students’ ravenous intellectual appetite for the subject is overtaxing current resources. Since 2007, the number of students enrolled in the intro computer science course has soared from 34 to 102.

“The demand for computer science among Reed students is immense,” said President John Kroger.

The CS initiative was made possible by a surge of support totaling nearly $5 million from alumni, foundations, and other donors. This includes $2.5 million from anonymous donors; $1 million from Reed Trustee Kurt Delbene and Suzan DelBene ’82; $500,000 from Microsoft; and support from many other generous alumni, friends, and parents, notably Aldus Pagemaker innovator David Walter. Out of this fundraising effort, a chair in computer science was created and named in honor of the legendary Prof. Richard Crandall ’69 [physics 1978–2012].

Reed will formally launch the program in September 2017. Several elements are already in place, however, including multiple courses in computer science, computational biology, digital art, and internet culture. As previously reported, Reed alumni also provided startup funding for the Software Design Studio, which provides students with mentors and more hands-on coding experience.

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