Half of Life is Showing Up
By Tony Fisher ’80, alumni association president
On behalf of my volunteer colleagues on your alumni board, I wish all 15,000 of you a fulfilling and peaceful 2007. As this issue of Reed includes a special pull-out supplement announcing Reunions 2007 (May 29–June 3), I would like to offer some reflections on Reunions at Reed.
In recent years, around five percent of our alumni and their families have returned to campus for Reunions. The head count has ranged between 600 and 800 people. For me, this represents a great opportunity to encourage both the Reunions “faithful” and “lapsed” alike to come back to Reed this year.
For some of us, it takes a touch of courage to decide to come back to Reunions. Friends of mine have recounted how they were literally shaking with anxiety when they returned to campus for the first time. I remember that the college’s catalogue for 1972–73 quoted a student saying that the experience of being at Reed “is too complex to be entirely painless.” What a wry understatement.
But we can get over it—and have a great time. A friend in an earlier class came back for his 30th reunion—the first one he had attended—and said he regretted deeply not having come back many more times, because he had so much fun and found it so meaningful. And since so many of us took more than four years to complete our degrees, we have more bandwidth—I have attended reunions that fall two years on either side of my erstwhile “class,” and find I know more than enough people to feel like part of a crowd and have a great time. So come whether or not it’s your official five- or ten-year reunion—you’ll find plenty of kindred Reedies no matter what.
There are easy ways to enhance the Reunions experience. Register early so your friends and classmates can see you’re coming—registrants’ names appear on the website—and reach out to your closest friends to ask them to join you. Think about organizing or attending your own “mini-reunion” for your freshman dorm, your Reed house-mates, your rugby team, etc. Our MacNaughton III freshman year mini-reunion was a blast!
The reunion programs themselves are fun and rewarding, starting with some serious brainwork—this year’s Alumni College features workshops and readings by Reedie fiction writers, poets, playwrights, and memoirists. Plus, there’s lots of great food and drink, music-making, oral history sessions (which are both moving and hilarious), Olde Reed storytelling, parades, tours, children’s activities, and excellent fireworks. And the scene on the dance floor, with Dr. Demento (a.k.a. Barry Hansen ’63) spinning the tunes, can’t be beat.
And of course, Portland is now one of the top cities in the U.S. If you haven’t been here recently, you’ll be amazed at the changes in the city, as well as on campus. You can build in trips to the Oregon Coast, the Columbia Gorge, Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, and the outstanding wineries (including Reedie wineries) in nearby Yamhill County.
In the end, Reunions is about reuniting, about connecting with each other, and thereby connecting to our pasts, our presents, and our futures. Please give the gift of yourself to your classmates—come back to Reed!