President’s Office

President’s speeches, letters, and articles

Subject: Greetings on my first day

July 15, 2019

Greetings, members of the Reed community!

Today is my first day on campus as Reed’s president. The past weeks have been a whirlwind of details, big and small: from the logistics of the move, to figuring out where to get groceries, to the ongoing work of unpacking numerous boxes of books and vinyl records. I’m happy to report that I am beginning to get my bearings, and everyone has been incredibly helpful and welcoming. Cheryl and I are especially enjoying the later sunsets here. It gives us the sense of having even more time than before and heightens our optimism for the future.

I am thrilled to join Reed as your president. The college truly embodies all the qualities that led me to it: dedication to the liberal arts and sciences, intellectual curiosity, creativity, rigorous scholarship, and commitments to diversity, inclusion, and engaged participation in society. Reed is the kind of environment I looked for as an undergrad—a community of people who care deeply about education, about one another, and about the world around us.

While going through this time of great change, I find myself reflecting on my childhood and recalling the bookish youngster in rural Oklahoma who dreamed of becoming an author. The path from book lover to published writer was a complete mystery to me. I was hungry to learn and eager to study, and so I followed my curiosity to Oklahoma State University.

As a first-generation college student, I was filled with anticipation and wonder. My educational journey reinforced my passion for reading, research, and the exploration of big questions. I started out as a humanities major and ultimately graduated with a degree in philosophy, going on to earn advanced degrees in English with a focus on gender studies. Along the way, I had the good fortune of studying with inspirational professors, and when I became a teacher myself, I discovered the joy that arises from working with bright students and developing life-long connections and an expanding community of fellow learners.

With every stage of my academic and professional career, I have been guided by a belief in the value of higher education to change lives and make the world a better place. Every step built on the last: the questing student and the professor of literature; the curious girl and the college president. Mine has been a story of mentors and mentees and of supportive and caring communities.

I look forward to getting to know all facets and constituencies of Reed as we work together to co-create the kind of supportive, inclusive, and intellectually vibrant community that will provide inspiration for generations of students to come.

So glad to be here!