Amid the call of bagpipes and the flourish of horns, roughly 1,500 people descended on campus on Friday to welcome John R. Kroger as Reed's 15th president. Under the big top on the great lawn, Roger Perlmutter '73, chair of the board of trustees, invested Kroger with the trappings of office—including a copy of the Iliad and a bottle of spring water drawn from the Reed Canyon—in a grand inauguration ceremony.
Student body president Brian Moore '13 hailed Kroger as "the ultimate prospie" for his infectious enthusiasm for all things Reed and for enrolling in Hum 110.
President John Kroger braces for impact as rubber ball of doom hurtles towards its target. Photo by Alex Krafcik '15, courtesy of the Quest.
Perched on a minuscule platform, clad in trunks and a red Orientation t-shirt, Kroger shivered with anticipation as Reedies lined up to throw rubber balls at a bull's-eye target from a distance of roughly 15 feet.
Dear Reed Alumni:
The academic year is underway! The campus looks beautiful, the Paradox Café is packed, and the mood on campus seems excellent. My enthusiasm for Reed, and my conviction that the college is in great shape, have only grown deeper in the last two months. I look forward to my formal inauguration on September 21 and the accompanying Alumni Leadership Summit. I hope to meet many of you at these celebratory and informative events.
Monday morning, 8:45 a.m. First day of class. As the new crop of freshlings streamed towards Vollum for their first real Hum lecture, laden with backpacks, and clutching coffee cups and water bottles, they were greeted by an unusual spectacle: a veritable pantheon of Greek gods hooting and hollering on the steps outside the lecture hall.
"Libations!" cried the gods. "Libations to honor mighty Zeus!"
Students, parents, and professors descended in their multitudes upon the Great Lawn on Wednesday for Convocation 2012. Under the billowing big top, 358 newly-minted Reedies were formally inducted into the tribe by an equally fresh president: John Kroger kicked off the ceremony with his first public address as head of the college. Kroger remarked that what he has been struck most by in his first eight weeks cannot be conveyed in a brochure: "Reed is one of the warmest kindest, most welcoming institutions I have ever experienced," he said. "It feels like home."
Home may now be Anna Mann or Foster-Scholz for new students, but they came from all over the globe to get here. Keith Todd, dean of admission, laid out the impressive pilgrimage; students hailed from China, Kenya, New Mexico, and Jakarta, among others. They include more Texans than Minnesotans, several Nicholases and Katherines, not to mention a Thor and a Zeus.
Reed's new president, John Kroger, took office today and has already been spotted at strategic campus locations like Eliot Circle, commons, and the Paradox Café, leather satchel in hand.
Personally, I'm excited about Kroger's presidency for three reasons. The first is his book Convictions, a look at his career as a federal prosecutor fighting mobsters, drug kingpins, and Enron executives. It's provocative, philosophical, confessional, and a cracking good read.
As an alumnus of both Reed and Willamette Week (where I worked as a reporter for many years), I was fascinated by WW's recent cover story about John Kroger, our next president.
The story, written by Pulitzer Prize winner Nigel Jaquiss, got a lot of stuff right. Kroger's colorful past as marine, professor, and mafia prosecutor comes through strong and clear, as does Reed's reputation as an intellectual powerhouse. Moreover, WW gives us an insider's view into several fascinating political scuffles.