Sallyportal: Madly Blogging Reed



Riggs Hailed for Working Weekend

Adam Riggs ’95 brandishes the Babson Award, presented by Alice Harra, Director of the Center for Life Beyond Reed, at the Volunteer Recognition Dinner last week.

Digital entrepreneur Adam Riggs ’95 was honored with the Babson Society Outstanding Volunteer Award last week for his leadership in establishing Working Weekend, an annual conference that connects Reed students to alumni with similar career interests.

Alice Harra, Director of the Center for Life Beyond Reed, presented Adam with the award, hailing Working Weekend as an inspiring event that helps Reed students connect with alumni mentors and explore career fields and paths. The success of the program was echoed by student testimonials and has proven so popular that it has now spawned a series of focused events such as Mindstorm, TechFayre, and the Winter Shadows.

The presentation took place at Reed’s annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner, which honors alumni volunteers who, through their generous contributions, help advance Reed and support student success. Trustee Dr. Deborah Kamali ’85 recognized many other individuals and groups who make a significant impact, including

Foreign Correspondent Looks Beyond Plato’s Shadows

Foreign correspondent Matthew Brunwasser ’94 has filed stories from more than 30 countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

It seems safe to assume that few Reedies are familiar with Dinko Valev, a hulking, bearded semi-professional wrestler-slash-amateur vigilante who now styles himself a folk hero in his native Bulgaria.

Have you seen Dinko’s proud emblem of his allegiance to the Bulgarian Orthodox church, a pectoral tattoo that’s as big as a T-bone steak?

Didn’t think so.

Have you beheld the jacked four-wheeler that Dinko rode out to the Bulgaria-Turkey border in February, to subdue 16 Syrian migrants (12 men, three women, and a child), forcing them to lay prone on the dirt as he likened them all to “dogs”?

Well, journalist Matthew Brunwasser ’94 has watched the video of Dinko’s assault numerous times, along with the clip of the Bulgarian TV news anchor calling Dinko a “superhero.” He’s also interviewed the thuggish grappler—in Bulgarian. And in his recent profile for the BBC, he unraveled the nuanced import of Dinko, tracing Bulgaria’s nationalism back to the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, when the Bulgarians were ruled by Muslims and Christian Balkan states were clamoring for independence. He talked to an anthropologist who said they were “programmed,” he writes, “to view every representative of the Islamic world as a potential rapist and terrorist.”

Alumni Talk Elementary Education

The Alumni College focused on the subject of elementary education at Reunions ’16. Photo by Leah Nash

“In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer,” said Albert Camus.

For many alumni, Reunions week is a time to rediscover that invincibility as they gather to reminisce, recall their comrades in the quest, and take part in stimulating programs and activities.

Jim Kahan ’64 has long organized the Alumni College, which focuses on one topic in depth during the course of the reunion. This year’s focus was elementary education, attracting an array of professors, teachers, students, and parents.

The Taste of Reed

HOLY CRÊPE. Jehnee Rains ’93 of Suzette Crêperie whips up a culinary delight at Marketplace during Reunions 2016.

A bevy of Reedie entrepreneurs crowded the stately atrium of the Performing Arts Building on Saturday afternoon for Marketplace, the annual festival held at Reunions where alumni sample classmates' creativity in the culinary, mixological, and intellectual realms. 

Carol Fredrick ’83, co-owner of Stone Griffon Vineyard in Carlton, offered tastes of four wines, from a refreshingly dry pinot noir blush to an estate-grown tempranillo. “People think of tempranillo as a warm-weather grape,” Fredrick explained, “but it’s actually grown in coastal regions of Spain, so it can do well in the Willamette Valley.”

Across the room, Minott Kerr ’80 of Clear Creek Distillery had set up shop. Dating to 1985, the Reedie-founded craft distillery is the second-oldest in the country, and that experience shines through in their huge lineup of award-winning, mostly fruit-based spirits. On Saturday, Kerr poured samples of their signature pear brandy—unaged, dry, but exploding with Bartlett pear flavor—as well as an oak-aged apple brandy and an intensely fruity loganberry liqueur. And then there’s the abiding mystery—however do they fit the pears into the bottles?

Outstanding Alumni Hailed by Foster-Scholz Club

SERVICE WITH A SMILE. Foster-Scholz chair Jim Kahan ’64 bestows the coveted Distinguished Service Award upon Diane Rosenbaum ’71 and her husband Jas Adams ’71.

The Foster-Scholz Club recognized Martha A. Darling ’66, James "Jas" Adams ’71, and Oregon State Sen. Diane Rosenbaum ’71 with the Distinguished Service Award for their continued commitment to communities within Reed and beyond.

Jim Kahan ’64, chair of the club’s steering committee, delivered the awards during the Reunions 2016 Foster-Scholz lunch. Dazzling the audience with a selection of Brahms, the Musicum Collegium performed in honor of keynote speaker Prof. Virginia Oglesby Hancock ’62 [music], who retired this spring and earned the same award in 2011.  

A career-long environmental advocate, Jas recently retired as attorney-in-charge of the Natural Resources Section of the Oregon Department of Justice and remains an adjunct professor of wildlife and administrative law at Willamette University. In 2011, Jas was hailed by the Oregon Invasive Species Council for his contributions to invasive species control. Jas sings with the Reed chorus and was nominated jointly for this award along with Diane, his wife.

Pass the Torch. Make a Gift.


Summertime. The dorms are silent, the seniors have marched, reunions have come and gone. History professors are breaking out their bicycle shorts. The school year is well and truly over, except for one extremely important detail—your gift to Reed.

Make no mistake, your gift matters. One of the many delights of spending time on campus is that I witness the impact of your generosity every day. When I read an essay by a political science major who grew up in a family of farmworkers. When I listen to a sophomore in a math class slicing her way through a topological conundrum. When I watch a physics major powering up a giant laser to analyse the harmonics of a Tibetan singing bowl.

Last year, your gifts helped 304 seniors write their theses. Let us grant $26.5 million in financial aid to more than half our students. Bought 8,000 new library books and let us subscribe to 315 online resources. Practically everything at Reed—from the DoJo to the philosophy department—is made possible by your philanthropy.

Reedies win Fulbrights

Russian major Isabel Meigs ’16 won a Fulbright award to teach English in Ukraine. During her time at Reed, she edited the Quest, lived in the Russian House, and taught a Paideia course in the ancient art of psysanky.

Congratulations to our talented Reed students and alumni who just won Fulbright awards to study overseas. They are going to embark on some fascinating journeys!

Russian major Isabel Meigs ’16 has been chosen to serve as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Ukraine. Isabel edited the Quest, wrote for The Grail, is a house advisor in the Russian House, spent a semester abroad studying in Russia, and has taught Paideia courses in pysanky, the ancient art of Ukrainian egg-dyeing.

Recent grad Annelyse Gelman ’13 won a Fulbright award to create “poetry films” in Germany. Annelyse wrote her thesis on improvisation and comedy with Prof. Allen Neuringer [psych] and recently published a book of poems, Everyone I Love is a Stranger to Someone.

Tech firms come to Reed for skull sessions

Chemistry major Luke Kanies ’96 founded IT giant Puppet Labs, which employs more than 300 people in downtown Portland.

The room is a hubbub of debate about broken code, JSON arrays, and the finer points of system architecture. But we are not in a conference room of a tech startup. We are gathered in a Reed classroom for an innovative event organized by the Center for Life Beyond Reed.

Its name? MindStorm.

Huddled at a whiteboard typically devoted to Milton and Hobbes, a group of students led by former math major Chris Fesler ’96 discussed the minutiae of designing service discovery protocols with all the earnestness of Odysseus begging Achilles to return to the siege of Troy. In lay terms, a service discovery protocol tells individual copies, or instances, of programs how to find and communicate with each other—so that if, for example, one instance of a security program fails, another can quickly armor up to continue its defense. Or so that, in the case of Fesler’s financial clearing company, Apex Clearing, a member of al Qaeda can’t sell shares on the New York Stock Exchange when one of Apex’s trade screening systems goes down.

Making a Career out of Creativity

This year’s Working Weekend featured an in-depth workshop on Arts and Beauty in the World for students interested in pursuing careers in the creative field.

The two-dozen students in attendance got a chance to spend time with a dynamic group of Reed alumni:

conservator Jim Coddington ’74;

Student Performers Win Kahan Fellowship

Hannah MacKenzie-Margulies ’16 was one of the winners of the Jim Kahan Fellowship.

Dance/music major Hannah MacKenzie-Margulies ’16 and art/dance major Grace Poetzinger ’16 are first-ever winners of Reed’s new Jim Kahan Performing Arts Fellowship.

The purpose of the fellowship is to provide students with the means to be able to spend their summer working on a music, dance, or theater project, which is performed at Reed during the following year.

Both students took creative risks with their projects. Grace travelled to Vienna to study an obscure but influential modern dance movement. Hannah, a talented dancer, spent the summer learning the clarinet. They performed a joint concert (or was it a Kahan-cert?) of music and dance in October.

Students Drub Alumni in Ultimate Match

LEAP OF FAITH. Xander Harris ’16 seizes the day as Reed students triumph over alumni in epic Ultimate match. Photo by Jordan Yu ’16

The Berserk—Reed’s men’s ultimate team—narrowly defeated an all-star alumni team 9–8 on the sports field near Sullivan Hall, Saturday, September 5. The victors gave an impressive demonstration of speed, endurance, and determination that left the alumni panting.

The game was held to honor the wedding of two Reed ultimate coaches: Shane Rubenfeld ’06, who has coached the Berserk since 2011 and played ultimate all four of his years at Reed, and Whitney Mount, who coached the Reed women’s team last year. Alumni ultimate players converged on Portland to celebrate the occasion and decided to seize the opportunity to play a game against the students.

The alumni team was the odds-on favorite—last time they faced the students, they racked up a score of 17-8. But Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, was not on their side in this contest. While the alumni demonstrated superior skill and cunning, the students had the hustle and energy to run down the disc.

Annual Fund raises record-breaking $4.4 million

AWE-INSPIRING. Alumni, parents, and friends gave a record-breaking $4.4 million to the Annual Fund. Photo by Leah Nash

We made it!

Thanks to a last-minute surge of support, Reed alumni, parents, and friends shattered the record in giving to the Annual Fund this fiscal year, which ended on midnight June 30.

UPDATED July 16, 2015: According to the latest unofficial returns, contributions to the Annual Fund amounted to an astonishing $4,442,186.22—the biggest in Reed’s history—blowing past last year's total of $4,084,000.

Reunions ’15 Opens with Fanfayre

Cheered on by Reunions attendees, retiring professors and staff were inducted into the ranks of honorary alumni. Photo by Leah Nash

More than 1,500 Reed alumni and allied life forms descended on campus last weekend for Reunions ’15and the celebration began with Fanfayre, the formal-informal opening ceremony that took place this year in the Cerf amphitheatre.

The event began with a charmingly odd welcome by musician Paul Anderson ’92, the composer of Reed classics such as “Sensitive Guy” and “On the Night Bus.”

Paul’s offbeat presentation set the tone for the afternoon: President John Kroger made quips about Reed lacking a football team, raising a rousing cheer from the audience, while Scott Foster ’77, the outgoing president of the alumni board, assured the crowd that his cowboy hat he sported was legitimate because he does in fact own livestock.

Class of 2014 Begins Quest for World Domination

Snapshot of the class of 2014 six months after graduation, based on a study by the Center for Life Beyond Reed. The knowledge rate for the survey is 85%; in other words, the destinations of 15% of the class remain unknown.

Like wildflower seeds on the wind, the class of 2014 has dispersed to the far reaches of the globe in search of work and opportunity.

According to a survey conducted by the Center for Life Beyond Reed (CLBR) six months after graduation, of those who responded that finding a job was their primary destination, 76% had found full-time or part-time employment, 10% were in grad school, and 4% were doing service work such as AmeriCorps.

Their activities span everything from monitoring human rights in Mexico, to working in the district attorney’s office in Portland, to promoting sustainable textiles in Tibet. More than 30 are doing research of one kind or another and about two dozen are teaching or tutoring.

Reed Alumni Go to Hell

Dante Alighieri, author of the towering Inferno.

President John Kroger and Reed alumni gathered in Prexy last week to discuss a burning issue—Dante’s Inferno.

Balancing copies of the Divine Comedy and glasses of wine, alumni listened intently as President Kroger shared his thoughts about this 14th-century masterpiece of allegorical verse.

Like many Reedies, Kroger read the Inferno in college. (It's currently on the syllabus for Hum 210.) Recently, however, he committed some leisure time to exploring not just Inferno but its two lesser-known companions, the Purgatorio and the Paradiso.

Working Weekend Connects Seekers with Knowers

Data scientists Ross Donaldson '06, Allison Morgan '14, and Melissa Lewis '13 share career advice with Reed students at Working Weekend.

Building a career is dependent on both what you know and whom you know, as Reed’s fourth annual Working Weekend proved. The event, organized by the Center for Life Beyond Reed, attracted a record 336 students and young alumni who came to network with more experienced alumni and gain job-seeking skills.

Reed alumni created Working Weekend three years ago to help students transition from college to career. The two-day event brings alumni panelists from around the country to mentor students, answer questions and provide a window on the world of careers such as banking, law, medicine, technology, music, writing, and food.

The campus buzzed with notable alumni, including:

Film Focuses on Enigmatic Psychologist

Psychologist, veteran, holocaust survivor, and jazz fanatic Frank Wesley '50 is the subject of new documentary by David Bee.

Like a jazz movement, the new documentary Frank’s Song, by Portland filmmaker David Bee, is at times languid, at others staccato, and sometimes a little drawn out.

Truth is, it’s a tall order for any film to capture the protean life of Frank Wesley ’50, who survived the holocaust, worked in the shipyards, became an influential psychologist and author of many books, and still, at the age of 95, cuts a distinctive figure in the Hawthorne district of southeast Portland.

Frank also is obsessed with jazz. The grizzled, diminutive, always-smiling nonagenarian is often caught on camera sitting in a chair, clutching and absentmindedly repositioning his brass wind instrument, much like a father with an infant. That is, when he’s not blowing into his sax with everything he’s got. “Jazz doesn’t let me die,” he says in his accented, soprano English.

Marketplace Spices Up Reunions 2014: Reedfayre

Hungry alumni swarm Marketplace at Reunions to taste creations of the culinary, mixological, and intellectual variety. Leah Nash

On Saturday afternoon of Reedfayre, the Performing Arts Building was abuzz with alumni, students, and families browsing the crafts, comics, cosmetics, and, most numerous of all, culinary creations, all cooked up by Reed alumni.

Always ready for a grand appearance, the Meat Smoke Crew greeted guests with enough pulled pork and brisket sandwiches to choke a Doyle Owl. Gigantic Brewing offered samples of its latest seasonal beers, including the Firebird smoked Hefeweizen, which founder Van Havig ’92 described as “like a peanut butter cup . . . two great things making one amazing thing.” Next door, Daniel Thomas ’89 served up delicious red and green tamales from his popular Portland restaurant Xico.

One of the most arresting displays belonged to Bob Combs ’90 of Combs Honey, whose table featured a transparent container filled with honeycomb—and live bees. Once drawn in by the bees, I couldn’t help but sample his blackberry honey and take home a couple slabs of honeycomb for myself.

Alumni Trounce Students in Ultimate Showdown

Alumni Frisbee Game

Bryson Uhrig-Fox ’10 knocks down the competition as he snatches the disc from students' awaiting grasp. Photos by Kimberly Durkin ’13

Experience and cunning overwhelmed youth and bravado two weeks ago as a team of alumni all-stars dominated Reed students 17-8 in an epic alumni-student Ultimate Frisbee game.

The upper soccer field outside the Naito-Sullivan dorms was spattered with a decade's worth of uniforms as lanky students in red huddled in one end zone to gather courage against the talent-laden alumni in black. Student team captains Sam May ’13, Daniel Dashevsky ’13, and Xander Harris ’16 rallied their players with jokes about alumni beer bellies. Alumni heavy hitters Bryson Uhrig-Fox ’10, Andrew Lynch ’12, and Shane Rubenfeld ’06 (who coaches the student team when he’s not playing against them) traded quips about the sleep-deprived students.

Young Alumni Triumph in “March Madness” Tourney

Alumni dominated Reed’s annual March Madness basketball tournament last week as Just Blasé (composed of younger alumni) edged out the Has-Beens (older students) 30-26 in a hard-fought final match.

Now in its 26th year, the madcap single-elimination tournament features eight teams, composed of students, alumni, professors, and staff. Some players show considerable skill, others haven’t touched a ball in years. It’s not uncommon to see teams fielded by dorms, academic departments, the Ultimate Frisbee team, or the rugby team. The combination of wildly different levels of talent makes for exciting games, which progress from fun and sloppy to tense and skilled as the tournament moves into its final rounds.

There are some unique rules, too, that add elements of unpredictability to March Madness, including a running game clock, meaning that play is never stopped during the 12-minute halves, and the three-foul-limit per player, which requires any player who commits three fouls to leave the game immediately. This can cause teams to have to play with less than five players, if too many of their players foul out.

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