Eliot Circular

Class of ’12 Unleashed

Photo by Leah Nash

NPR reporter Robert Smith ’89 speaks at Commencement.

By Nisma Elias ’12

Total: 298
Female: 171
Male: 127

How they paid

Percentage of students receiving financial aid: 50%

Average aid package (including grant, loan, and work components): $35,990

2011-2012 institutionally administered aid: $28.6 million

Average parental income of students on aid: $68,910

Average loan indebtedness upon graduation: $20,840

Cool thesis titles

Tevon Edwards, political science: China Syndrome? Normal Accidents, High Reliability and Nuclear Power Plants

Matthew Lambert, physics: the perfect skipping stone

Aaron Webb, biology: Constructing a Nitrogen Budget of the Reed College Canyon

Casey Yazejian, physics: Killing Schrödinger’s Cat: The Effect of Entanglement on Interference Visibility

Kathleen Aston, linguistics: Don’t Touch Me with that Tone of Voice: An investigation into aspects of audio-tactile integration

Courtney Fraser, linguistics: And I was like :( : Emotive Features, Tone, and the Construction of Gender in Instant Messaging

D’nae Henderson, history-literature: Red Water, Black Magic, and White Jesus: Political, Natural, and Supernatural Disasters in New Orleans in 1927, 1965, and 2005

The bright May morning sparkled with enthusiasm and laughter as family and friends descended on campus to celebrate commencement with the 288 members of the class of 2012 under the majestic white tent on the Great Lawn.

The ceremony began to the rousing sound of bagpipes. Graduating seniors applauded the professors who guided them during their time at Reed. In an act of symmetry and acclaim, the graduates were then applauded by their professors after they had collected their shiny new diplomas.

In his final commencement speech, outgoing President Colin Diver poked fun at graduating with Reed on the “10-year plan.” He was surprised nonetheless, when Don Berg ’12 shouted from the audience that he chose the 25-year plan. (Don first arrived on campus in 1986!)

Diver then mentioned three virtues that he hoped the class of ’12 would carry with them in their lives: forgiveness, gratitude, and love.

“Gratitude is, in Cicero’s words, not only the greatest of virtues but also the parent of all the others. For the privilege of having been in this place, at this college, surrounded by these people, you and I have so much to be thankful for. So, let’s start today, now, to embrace that good fortune by feeling gratitude and expressing gratitude.”

In his commencement address, NPR reporter Robert Smith ’89 encouraged the graduates to develop a style of work that is unique to them; something that they contemplate at the end of a day and know only they could have done it in just that way. Departing from usual platitudes, he didn’t tell the graduates to “live their dreams,” but suggested that it takes time to develop one’s voice and that it’s okay to emulate others during the process.

Smith also noted how in the story of the hero’s journey, or the epic myth, you never hear about the failures and disappointments it took to succeed, or the part of the legend where the “hero just wants to chill for the summer . . . the mighty king who just wants to figure stuff out, get his head straight.” This leads to important information being ignored—all those periods that are just as significant to shaping the person we become and the voices by which we know ourselves.

Congrats, class of 2012. We look forward to hearing your voices as well.