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35th Reunion Chatter
The Naked Truth
Class pride ran high at the Class of ’71 reunion, which kicked off with a dinner in Old Dorm Block; Matthew Kangas and Marge Goldwater were the class coordinators. Kangas, who is an art critic and curator in Seattle, announced that the 35th reunion year had topped all others in the “I Love Reed” department by collecting $41,555 for the annual fund, 11-grand above its goal. He also shared the news that classmate Geoff Robison, who sent in a photo album from 1968 (he lives in Seattle and works for Adobe), couldn’t make Reed’s gathering because he was at a reunion of friends who met in Buffalo, New York, defending inmates after the Attica Prison riots. (Attica erupted on September 9, 1971, capping a hot summer after graduation that year.)
Goldwater flew in from New York, where she runs the Jewish Foundation for the Education of Women. She said she was still getting over a headache—“from all this green, it’s a bit of a shock”—but added that it was nothing compared to the shock of arriving at Reed from the East Coast in 1967, going to her dorm, and discovering that her freshman roommate had been a member of the Portland Rose Festival court (the ones who ride with the queen in the annual parade).
Most memories of Reed and Reedies were decidedly more counter-culture. One alumnus remembered a college dean spreading it around that a police raid was imminent—leading students to frantically stash their stashes. And it was a common rumor that a prominent college donor had threatened to pull the plug if students kept running around campus in the buff and getting their pictures in the Quest. One winter weekend, after a trip to Bagby Hot Springs in the Cascades, Jim (Jas) Adams, now at the Oregon Justice Department, hatched a plot to stage a mass sauna party at Watzek Sports Center followed by a naked roll in the snow. “Dean of Students Jack Dudman convinced me it wouldn’t be good for Reed, and we didn’t do it,” Adams said.
Larry and Judy Ruben (Larry is Professor Emeritus of Biology and Judy worked in the department in the 1970s) joined the class dinner and Judy said of those times: “It was more wild then. The faculty was divided about the curriculum and students were very angry about the Vietnam War. Reed survived, and now it’s even better.”
Roger Levin and Patricia Lyn Richards were back for the first time since leaving Reed, and it became clear they share a similar nonprofit/educational career path with many from the class. Levin investigates alleged tenant rights violations in San Francisco, while Richards teaches Italian at Kenyon College; Sara Patton is a lawyer and runs the Northwest Energy Coalition in Seattle; Patrick Call (who followed Reed with a Rhodes) has pursued a long career in educational software and publishing; Lee Blessing teaches at Rutgers and writes plays; Terry Winant teaches philosophy at Cal-State Fresno; Debbie Prince retired as an academic adviser at the University of Washington, where Alan Borning teaches computer science (wife Andrea Borning ’68 has worked in IT as well); Petros Panagopolous teaches English and theatre in the Bay Area; Patti MacRae just joined the Northwest Regional Educational Lab after working for Reed and several Portland youth agencies, while husband Timothy Rowan does computer security for Multnomah County.
After dinner, the class was busy making lunch plans for the next day at Pho Van, a chic new Vietnamese restaurant on Hawthorne Boulevard in Southeast Portland, which led to questions about parking. “If it’s hard to park in Portland it means you have to walk two blocks,” quipped Linera Lucas, who now lives about 22 blocks from Reed (give or take), but knows parking from Seattle and the Bay Area.
Bob Weppner ’72, meanwhile, stirred up neighborhood memories by hosting a mini-reunion at a once-famous off-campus student house on SE Clinton Street that is now his own Portland abode. Hans Lofgren lived there with Weppner back in the day, and was looking forward to a few late-night beers to celebrate old times in the old digs.
Lofgren, by the way, may have logged more miles than anyone to get to Reunions this year—he made the trek from Göteburg, Sweden, where he is a professor of American literature. “I haven’t been in touch since graduation,” said Lofgren, “but I wanted to recover a part of my life that was so formative. I went to look at my senior thesis, and I was writing about the same questions then. I can tell the college has changed—Reed has more money and it’s doing very well. But it’s easy to see the Olde Reed, too. I might not be in the American mainstream, but I feel very much at home at Reed. These are my people.”