Reed College Catalog

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

The great lawns and open spaces of Reed’s 116-acre campus include some of the largest and finest specimen trees in the region. At the center of the campus is the 26-acre natural area known as the canyon, a diverse wooded upland surrounding a beautiful spring-fed lake. A walking trail around the lake provides numerous opportunities for observation of migratory birds, native fish, beaver, otter, and other native 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 and limestone with intricate detail. Later buildings featured Northwest timber–style construction with exposed beams. 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 (ETC) 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, Computing and Information Services staff offices, and student lounge areas. 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, 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, financial aid, registrar, student services, and international programs. The building also houses faculty offices and mailboxes, classrooms, and printing and duplicating services. All of the offices and work areas have been updated or 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 is the social center of the college. Named in honor of John and Betty Gray, it was constructed in 1965, with renovations and the addition of Kaul Auditorium in 1997. The 6,000 square-foot Kaul Auditorium is designed for multimedia presentations, musical performances, lectures, meetings, dinners, and special events.

The associated buildings include the dining hall, meeting rooms, student union (1921), bookstore, convenience store, mail services, game room, and student organization spaces.

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 Reed wear; 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 ( The bookstore accepts VISA, MasterCard, American Express, cash, and checks; in addition, students can set up a bookstore account, for which a statement will be sent to the parent or student at the end of each month. Store hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. (hours 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, and a basic selection of health and beauty aids.

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

Performing Arts Facilities
The new 78,000-square-foot performing arts building opened in fall 2013. The building provides teaching, practice, and performance spaces, as well as faculty offices for music, theatre and dance.

Located adjacent to the Kaul auditorium, many of the concerts, drama, and dance presentations previously held in the Eliot Hall chapel, student union, Sports Center, Theatre, and Vollum College Center are presented in the new facility.

The theatre’s main stage is a versatile performance space with a seating capacity of 200. It is used for both faculty-directed productions and student thesis shows. The black box theatre is easily adapted to many configurations and seats up to 100. There is a large dance studio with floor-to-ceiling windows, music choral rehearsal space, five classrooms, and a large shared performance lab. The building is designed to provide ultimate sound isolation. Each music practice room is designed with acoustically isolated floors, walls and ceilings. The building includes a performing arts resource center (PARC) that houses library materials, computers, and other information resources that support studies in the performing arts.

At the center of the building, the atrium provides gathering space with natural light for productions and serves as a stage for presentations and special events. The new facility represents an exciting opportunity for collaboration among the music, theatre and dance departments, and provides a welcoming gathering place for the entire Reed community.

Adjacent to the west parking lot, the building is easily accessed by visitors to campus. The elevators and walkways provide access to Kaul Auditorium, Gray Campus Center and the grounds leading to the center of campus.

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 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, which 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.

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

Athletics, Fitness, and Outdoor Facilities

The emphasis of athletics, fitness, and outdoor programs at Reed lies in encouraging students to become participants rather than spectators. The 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 facilities include outdoor tennis and basketball 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 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, as well as 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.