President’s Office

President’s speeches, letters, and articles

Subject: A few of my initial reflections

September 13, 2019

Dear members of the Reed community, 

As I begin my first semester as president of Reed, I write to you to share a few of my initial reflections. First and foremost, every day the quality of my interactions with this community and the beauty of this campus astonish me. I am in awe and incredibly grateful to be here and to be your president.

Soon after my wife, Cheryl, and I arrived, we went on a meaningful tour of the canyon led by Zac Perry, grounds supervisor. As I learned about the ecological importance of the watershed, the diversity of native plants and wildlife, and the rich history of this stunning natural resource, I began to think about the similarities between my journey at Reed and the stewardship and restoration of the canyon. Both involve commitments to collaboration, caring for immediate needs, and laying down long-term plans. Both require collective work, respect for history, engagement of community members, patience, and a clear sense of purpose in decision making.

With that in mind, I got to work this summer. Many faculty, staff, students, and alumni worked diligently in advance of my arrival to help prepare me for the work ahead, and we have focused on how we can best collaborate on the business of the college. I have received briefings from presidential transition committees that have helped me better understand Reed’s culture, practices, and key concerns. I have also enjoyed meeting with student leaders, and getting to know students during my office hours. I participated in a “speed dating” session with senate where we talked about shared governance, and I learned from the students about their goals and aspirations. Getting to know faculty and staff has also been a highlight, and I have been incredibly impressed by everyone’s commitment to the college. Please be on the lookout for information about my open office hours for students, staff, and faculty. Stop by and say hello! 

As August wound down and campus began to buzz with students, our orientation programming got underway. What stood out to me most was the eagerness and enthusiasm among new students for this next chapter of their lives. The class of ’23 and the students who started with us this year will hold a special place in my heart because we are discovering Reed together. 

Since that first canyon tour, I have spent many hours listening, learning, and walking around campus. Thanks to all who have worked to help me find my way, Reed already feels like home. My promise is to bring my best thinking, actions, and intentions to the community, just as I have experienced and benefited from your best efforts over the past few months.

On that note, I hope you will all be able to attend the inauguration festivities on Friday, October 4. Please join Cheryl and me for the ceremony, dinner, and dancing to live music by one of my favorite bands, NRBQ. I am looking forward to sharing the evening with you, as well as Reed’s journey ahead.

All best,