About this Issue
The phone rang in the Reed public affairs office one morning in April, initiating an incident
that is pure Reed. Yes, we told the person on the line, we would be happy to show some
folks from Hollywood around the campus to see if Reed fit the needs of a movie to be directed
this summer by Sean Penn.
Not until they arrived an hour later did we realize that Penn
was one of the location scouts. Dressed casually in jeans and a battered fedora, he and
three associates spent 90 minutes sizing up the cinematic possibilities of the front lawn
and various dorms. Emerging from Bragdon, Penn asked a member of our staff: “Do you
think I could bum a cigarette from a student?” We intercepted a woman headed for
the canyon footbridge, smoke in hand, and asked, “How would you like to trade a cigarette
for a chance to give it to Sean Penn?” Barely breaking stride, she reached into her
purse for one and said, “I love Sean Penn, but I have to get to class.
Could you give it to him for me?”
Welcome back to the wonderful world of Reed. It
remains a place where the unexpected is routine, something we have the privilege of illustrating
four times a year in Reed. And this issue is no exception. Where else can you
encounter a philosophy professor who likes to tinker with computer models and tries to create
artificial life in a lab in Venice? Or follow the adventures of an alumnus who rediscovers
his ancestral language and goes on to pursue
Yiddish scholarship—in Kansas? Or discover that the first time a now-celebrated
composer and conductor stepped onto campus to apply for a faculty position, a philosophy
professor asked him why Reed should even
deign to teach music, a mere performing art?
We never did get the name of the student who wouldn’t
meet Sean Penn if it meant being late to class. But we think she has this much in common
with the researcher on the artificial life trail (Mark Bedau ’76), the Yiddish scholar
in the land of Oz (Jonathan Boyarin ’77), and the music professor who wasn’t
fazed by a philosopher’s
arrogance (David Schiff). They are all pure Reed.
A photograph in the article “Architectural
Gems?” in the Winter 2006 issue
misidentified one member of the team reviewing blueprints for Reed’s new chemistry
building in 1948. Chemistry professor Arthur F. Scott is pictured
in the photo along with architect Pietro Belluschi and a partner. Scott was acting president
of the college from 1942 to 1945.
In the Class Notes section of the November 2005 issue, the writer Donald Miller, who was
informally associated with the college for a number of years, was misidentified as being
a member of the Class of 1973.
We regret the errors.