President’s Office

President’s speeches, letters, and articles

Subject: Pause and express gratitude

aerial photo of two students walking south on the blue bridge over Reed canyon
“What I find special about Reed is that we have a true sense of community here . . . we are connected, we care about one another, and we are here for one another.”
—Audrey Bilger, President
Reed College

November 20, 2020

Dear students, parents, faculty, and staff,

I have run out of ways to describe the complexities of our shared experience over the course of this year. I know 2020 has been grueling. With that in mind, I approach 2021 with some optimism that we will find our way back to a greater semblance of normalcy and begin, once again, to envision and experience equilibrium.

As in-person classes conclude and many in our community prepare to leave campus until the start of next semester, I want to pause and express my deepest gratitude. It took everyone’s cooperation for us to get to this point. We used our collective expertise and ingenuity to accomplish seemingly impossible goals, and we exceeded expectations.

I recognize that completing the semester online may bring additional challenges. Students, please remember that college resources and services are available to you. Regardless of your location in the coming weeks, you will not be alone.

I want to leave you with a video made for prospective students that celebrates how our community came together during the fall semester.

Watch video

Watching the video gave me a sense of pride and appreciation for this remarkable and resilient community, and I hope it does the same for you.

Whether you are traveling or staying right here in Portland, please be careful and continue to take necessary precautions. Experts predicted that the colder months would bring more cases of COVID-19, and this has proven correct. Remember that even small gatherings with family and friends can pose risks, so take steps to protect yourself and those you love.

Be safe, happy, and well. We look forward to seeing everyone back on campus for the spring term.

All my best,



Audrey Bilger