Paradox Reunion Chatter
Big Joe on Campus
Twenty-five former Paradox Café managers representing eleven class years gathered to celebrate the café’s founding, tell disaster stories, share memories, and reflect on how and why the Paradox continues to be such an integral part of the Reed experience. Matt Giraud ’85 and Michael Magrath ’84, two of the original founders of the student-managed cafe, organized the lively get-together and recorded personal testimonies from the evening.
Matt Giraud opened up the floor by explaining that the Paradox was always about creating an appealing place “by students and for students.” It was also meant to be fluid. “Each generation [of workers and managers] would spawn its replacements. Each new generation would get to redefine the café.”
The original café opened in 1985 in the student union gallery, under the name the Gallery Café; it was renamed Paradox in 1986. A sister café, Paradox Lost, opened during the 2002–03 school year in the ground floor of the biology building, following renovation of Hauser Memorial Library.
Sonja (Seltzer) Sackman ’90 talked about the early days. The idea was born when she,
Magrath, and Rachel Howarth ’87 were hanging out in a coffeehouse off campus. “We
were thinking, we should really have a café like this. You know, we could really stand
to be at school if we had a café like this at school.”