President’s Office

President’s speeches, letters, and articles

Subject: Thank you

photo of ceramic heart hanging from tree branch
As the fall semester comes to an end, I feel gratitude and pride in our community. My wife, Cheryl, and I placed ceramic hearts in trees around campus as a symbol of love for Reed. —Audrey

December 15, 2020

Dear faculty colleagues,

Much has been asked of our community and of us as individuals this year. Our small and interconnected campus environment was reconfigured into socially distanced spaces, and many of our gatherings were moved into a digital realm. Layers of complexity have been added to everyday tasks. Although the burden of adapting the college to meet our current circumstances was distributed widely, we want to acknowledge the burden that fell to you.

Since March, it has been necessary to focus on managing every aspect of what we do in order to contain the virus. In the frenetic crush of COVID-19 preparation, some accomplishments, events, arrivals, and departures that were worthy of more attention may have felt pushed to the side. None of this has diminished the deep respect and admiration we have for all of you. We know how lucky we are to have such accomplished and dedicated faculty.

This is the time of year when we would normally gather to celebrate the holidays and the end of the semester. During any other time in our lives, an email would have been a poor substitute for raising a glass and toasting to your health. Next year, when it is safe again, we will plan to have multiple gatherings—and an abundance of toasts.

We thank you for the tremendous extra effort it took to get through this semester. We thank you for the hours spent and ingenuity employed so that no Reed students affected by the virus would be left without access to education. We thank the many of you who committed long hours to the working groups. We thank all of you who lent your expertise or took the time to provide comments, concerns, encouragement, and good cheer throughout this difficult time.

It seems impossible to make predictions about the new year, but we will venture a hope or two. We hope the experience of navigating these challenges will make the college stronger and bring us closer together as a community. And we hope it has shown us that we are capable of more than perhaps we imagined. We long for the day when we can once again gather to celebrate with each of you, but until then, please know that we are deeply grateful for all that you do.

Happy winter break,

Audrey and Kathy