Reed College Catalog

The Reed College campus was established on a tract of land known in 1910 as Crystal Springs Farm; it was a part of the Ladd Estate, which was formed in the 1870s from original land claims.

In a parklike setting near the heart of the city, the rolling lawns and open spaces of Reed’s 116-acre campus include some of the largest and finest specimen trees in the Portland area. At the center of the campus is the canyon, a beautiful wooded upland surrounding a spring-fed lake and emergent marsh. A walking trail around the lake provides numerous opportunities to observe migratory birds and other woodland wildlife.

The founding trustees and the first president who administered the bequest of Simeon and Amanda Reed had the rare opportunity of building from a new vision, and their first architect, A.E. Doyle, developed a strong thematic design in brick, slate, and limestone. Later buildings featured Northwest timber-style construction with exposed beams and natural wood ceilings. Doyle’s early vision is one from which the college has sometimes departed, but it is reaffirmed today in many of the college’s newer buildings and renovation projects.

Educational Technology Center

The educational technology center, constructed in 2002, houses a variety of resources including the computing help desk, student computing labs, technology-enriched classrooms, a digital media lab, a computer store, a hardware services shop, and Computing and Information Services staff offices. The building offers wireless network access and two student lounge areas specifically designed for laptop and other mobile computing usage. The ETC is also home to the departments of classics and religion.

Eliot Hall

Eliot Hall, a large Tudor Gothic building of brick, limestone, and concrete, was one of the first two original 1912 buildings on campus. It was named for Thomas Lamb Eliot, the first chairman of the board of trustees of Reed College and a Portland civic leader and Unitarian minister.

Eliot Hall is home to the president’s office and other staff offices such as admission, business, college relations, registrar, student services, and international programs. The building also houses faculty offices and mailboxes, classrooms, and printing and duplicating services. Most of the offices and work areas have been remodeled, including the stately, paneled chapel, which provides a setting for music performances, lectures, and special events.

Eric V. Hauser Memorial Library

The library building was constructed in 1930 and expanded in 1963, 1989, and 2002. It houses centralized library collections and other campus resources, including a library instruction classroom, a variety of individual and group study spaces, an instructional media center, the college archives and other special collections, and the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery. The addition and renovation in 2002 added over 20,000 square feet to the building, providing more shelving, study desks, and office space. Multipurpose computer workstations, additional computer classrooms, and wireless connectivity throughout the library support continued integration of print and electronic resources.

For more complete information on the library building, collections, and services, see the “Educational Program” section of this catalog.

Gray Campus Center

The Gray Campus Center, named in honor of John and Betty Gray, was constructed in 1965, with renovations and the addition of Kaul Auditorium in 1997. The dining hall was expanded in 2008. The social center of the college, the associated buildings include: the dining hall, meeting rooms, student union (1921), bookstore, convenience store, mail services, game rooms (recreation areas), lounges, offices for student activities (including the newspaper and yearbook), and the music listening and lending library.

The 6,000-square-foot Kaul Auditorium is designed for multimedia presentations, musical performances, lectures, meetings, dinners, and special events.

The Reed College bookstore is an institutional, nonprofit store that stocks all required and recommended textbooks and features an in-depth selection of general trade books, which are sold at a 10-percent discount. Other items include school, office, and dorm supplies; software, electronics, and technology products; T-shirts and other Reedwear; a wide variety of Reed memorabilia; greeting cards; and a broad range of snack foods and drinks. Special-order service is available for any book or supply item not regularly in stock. The bookstore accepts orders via the web (, by phone (503-777-7757), and by email ( In addition to VISA, MasterCard, American Express, cash, and checks, students can set up a bookstore account for a nominal one-time charge. Store hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. (hours may vary when classes are not in session).

Homer’s Hut, the convenience store in the front area of the bookstore, is open from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. on weekdays and from noon to 3 a.m. on weekends during the academic year and offers a variety of health foods, not-so-healthy snacks, beverages, ice cream, a basic selection of health and beauty aids, and DVD rentals.

The student union, with a seating capacity of 400, is completely student-operated and is used primarily for student-run activities, including coffeehouses. Its budget, including the manager’s salary, comes from student activity fees.

Performing Arts Facilities

Concerts, drama, and dance presentations are held in many locations on the Reed campus, including Kaul Auditorium, the chapel in Eliot Hall, the student union, the commons, the Watzek Sports Center, and the Vollum College Center. The Reed theatre main stage is a versatile performance space with a seating capacity of 165. It is used for both faculty-directed productions and student thesis shows. The lower level of the theatre has been converted into a small chamber theatre with seating for 70. The music building, called Prexy because it was formerly the Reed president’s residence, contains practice rooms (several large enough for ensemble playing), teaching studios, a computer lab, 15 pianos, several harpsichords, and a Positiv organ.

Research Reactor Facility

The Reed research reactor facility consists of a 250 kW TRIGA research reactor and associated laboratories. Since its installation in 1968 the Reed reactor has been actively used for student research and instruction. The small reactor is about the size of a washing machine, sits at the bottom of a pool of water 25 feet deep, and is inherently safe in its design.

Reed’s research reactor is the only reactor in the country staffed primarily by undergraduate students. A weekly noncredit seminar that explains radioactivity, radiation, health physics, nuclear physics, and nuclear reactor operation is open to everyone. Particularly interested students can design and run their own experiments or learn to run the reactor itself. Students who are interested can study to take the Nuclear Regulatory Commission exam and earn a reactor operator’s license. Each year approximately 12 to 15 students earn licenses to operate the reactor.

The reactor is used for science courses and for senior thesis research. It is also used by high schools, colleges, and research institutions for tours, demonstrations, and research.

Research at the Reed reactor centers primarily on quantitative neutron activation. A major research area for students using the reactor is the determination of trace element concentrations in biological, chemical, geological, and environmental samples. Students have used the reactor on many projects that include studies of factors affecting the distribution of a rare and endangered plant in southeast Oregon, the uptake of iridium in plants, absorption of metal ions from sea water by the mineral zeolite, toxic metals in painting pigments, analysis of superconductors, radiation effects on DNA, lava flows in Oregon, sources of obsidian used by Native Americans, cancer research with boron neutron capture therapy, and bone mass measurement for osteoporosis research.

Science Facilities

The science laboratories at Reed are among the best equipped of any undergraduate college in the United States. These include the L.E. Griffin Memorial Biology Building, the A.A. Knowlton Laboratory of Physics, and the Arthur F. Scott Laboratory of Chemistry. The biology building was expanded and renovated in 2000; it includes faculty offices, research and teaching labs, improved student thesis space, and a tiered seating classroom.

More important than the equipment itself is the philosophy of its use. While sophisticated equipment in university laboratories is often available only to graduate students and faculty, Reed students have complete access to all equipment. Even the reactor and computer facilities are run on an “open shop” basis, available to any student who has demonstrated the skills necessary to meet licensing requirements.

The tradition of ready access allows Reed students to become familiar with instrumentation techniques not commonly available to undergraduates and gives them a distinct advantage in the more advanced scientific environments of graduate school, professional school, or industry.

Detailed descriptions of science facilities and equipment are available from the admission office or the relevant academic department. The web address for Reed’s academic departments is

Sports Facilities

The emphasis of sports programs at Reed lies in encouraging students to become participants rather than spectators. The remodeled Aubrey R. Watzek Sports Center houses two gyms, an indoor pool, racquetball and squash courts, locker rooms with saunas, a weight room with state-of-the-art equipment, a martial arts room, and a dance studio.

Other sports facilities include tennis courts, a trail for jogging and walking, and fields for soccer, rugby, ultimate Frisbee, and softball. Additionally, the college owns a ski cabin on Mt. Hood and six vans for transporting students. There is an outdoor backpack co-op where students can check out outdoor recreation equipment for their use.

Studio Art Facilities

Reed’s studio art building was constructed in 1980 and was renovated and enlarged in 2001. It provides space for instruction in the fine arts, including studios designed for drawing, painting, printmaking, letterpress, bookmaking, sculpture, photography, digital media, and ceramics; seminar, projection, critique, and exhibition spaces. The building also provides studio offices for art faculty and private studios for senior art thesis students. Support facilities include a woodshop, a covered outdoor welding area, and an electric and gas kiln shed.

Related facilities on campus include a student-operated print shop and darkroom in the student union, the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, and a gallery in the Vollum lounge.

Vollum College Center and Lecture Hall

The Vollum College Center is named for the late Howard Vollum ’36, Reed trustee emeritus, and his wife, Jean. Constructed in 1980, it features a 400-seat lecture hall used by members of the Reed community and visiting speakers as well as conference-style classrooms, faculty and staff offices, and a lounge-gallery.