Traditions at Reed are as varied and unconventional as the college itself. These long-standing and mostly recurring events range from the celebratory to the creative to the downright silly.

The Doyle Owl

The story of Reed's unofficial mascot begins with a theft. Nearly 100 years ago a group of Reedies swiped a large, concrete owl from a neighbor’s yard and returned with it to campus. But it quickly disappeared . . . into the hands of another group of Reedies. Thus began the ritual of the Doyle Owl, named after the residence hall in which the students lived. It has been encased in ice, lit on fire, suspended from bridges, transported across the United States, and made to appear in a Tears for Fears music video. Stolen, shown, defended, stolen, and shown again, the owl threads its way through the Reed community generation after generation, imparting shades of its legendary status on all who touch, see, or possess it.

Renn Fayre

Once an authentic Renaissance Fair, Renn Fayre is now a themed celebration at the end of the academic year. It begins with the Thesis Parade, in which seniors march from the steps of the library to the registrar's office to celebrate turning in their theses, and includes music, softball, art, and a flurry of fireworks.


The Greek word paideia (Παιδεία) means "education" in its broadest sense. For the ancient Greeks, this included philosophy, poetry, mathematics, physics, rhetoric, gymnastics, music, medicine, and many other disciplines. For Reedies, it's a chance to take a break from the classical curriculum and spend a week before spring semester learning about things we're interested in but don't always make time for: fencing (see image, above); the history of punk; birds of Oregon; how to give hugs and high-fives.

Reed Arts Week

Reed Arts Week (RAW) is a celebration of the arts at Reed. In addition to student performances, major artists contribute, perform, and teach master classes.


Canyon Day

Reed’s oldest tradition is devoted to the 28-acre watershed that runs through campus. On Canyon Day, the community gathers to pull weeds, plant native flora, and otherwise work to protect and restore this critical part of Portland's Crystal Springs Creek.