Convocation 2009

Welcoming remarks of
Acting Dean of Admission Kristine Sawicki

Sawicki image
Kristine Sawicki

Good afternoon everyone. Welcome to Reed College! My name is Kristine and I am Reed’s Acting Dean of Admission. I am here to welcome you on behalf of the entire admission office staff. This is an exciting day for admission. Today the paper applications that have dominated our winter and spring, become actual Reed students. We are as excited to have you here as you are to be here.

In addition to working as a member of the staff here at Reed, I am also a Reed alumna. The new Reedies here today have dazzled me and my staff with their accomplishments, talents, intelligence, and creativity. The opportunity to get to know you through school visits, college fairs, and as visitors to campus has been awesome. I am energized every time a counselor returns from an interview inspired by the conversation, every time an admission staff member is so impressed with an essay that she is compelled to share it with other staff, every time a counselor beams as he realizes the student whose application we are discussing seems to be a Reedie already.

To have the opportunity to welcome you to our community today is an honor. It's an event admission has anticipated since the moment we stuffed your envelope with confetti five months ago. So, welcome to Reed!

Respect for individuality is an important aspect of the Reed community. But together we are a community that shares many things in common. I would like to take a few minutes to describe you as a class . . . a tradition started by my predecessor, Paul Marthers. Paul was dean of admission when we selected you. (You may recognize his name from the signature at the bottom of your acceptance letters.)

So you, the newest class of Reedies are 374 new freshman, 41 new transfer students, and 10 new exchange students.

You represent 21 different countries and 41 different states. California is the state most commonly represented with 97 students, Washington follows with 31, Oregon with 29, New York with 25, Massachusetts with 23, and Texas with 16.

52.7 percent of you are women, 12.3 percent of you are the first in your family to attend college, 6.4 percent of you are continuing a family tradition of attending Reed, and 26.6 percent of you identify as students of color.

You come from 320 different high schools: 61 percent from public, 37 percent from private or parochial. Reed does not typically have feeder schools—schools that regularly produce a lot of Reedies. That said, this year two schools have sent us four students each—the Commonwealth School in Massachusetts and Oakwood School in California. Eight other high schools sent us 3 students each—from as close as Lakeridge High School in a suburb of Portland to as far away as Champlain Valley Union High School in Vermont.

Our transfer students come from a wide variety of institutions. Connecticut College, Oberlin, Northwestern, Portland Community College, Tufts, Bard, University of Chicago, and Princeton are among the schools on the list.

Elizabeth is the most common girl’s name in the new class—eight of you share this name. Six of you are named Alexander, the most common boy’s name. The most common last name is a tie: four of you each share Jones and Johnson. The most common mother’s name is Mary and most common father’s name is John. So the question for the statisticians in the house is, what is the probability that the class includes an Elizabeth or an Alexander Jones or Johnson with a mother named Mary and a father named John?

Two of you have the name Reed—one as a first name and one as a last name.

And two of you have birthdays today. Happy Birthday!

I hope that your Reed years prove to be stimulating, challenging, and rewarding. Along the way, through Hum papers, qualifying exams, and the senior thesis, know that the admission office believes that you will all shine as Reedies.