President’s Office

President’s speeches, letters, and articles

Subject: A welcome back message from President Bilger

January 27, 2020

Greetings to all at the start of this new semester!

It is wonderful to feel the energy of students back on campus, and I hope that you were able to enjoy some rest and recuperation over winter break.

Cheryl and I celebrated the dawn of this new decade on New Year’s Day by taking a walk around campus. We ended up getting caught in a shower, and as we were laughing about how we should always be prepared for rain in this new home, we saw a rainbow high in the sky, and as we stood marveling at it, some trick of the light made it look like it was curving down and landing right at our feet. A lovely beginning to 2020.

Many of you were here last week for Paideia. I was incredibly impressed by the range of interesting classes (134 total!) on topics ranging from poetry to stand-up comedy, from learning how to make robots sing to learning how to crochet cuttlefish. I look forward to hearing what new knowledge and skills you gained and offered to others. It is wonderful that this college has such a beloved tradition of sharing knowledge—such a celebration of technical tips, personal talents, and esoteric interests. Thank you to the Paideia 2k20 committee, including Hellie Smith ’22, Nitya Vikrant ’22, Chris Lydgate ’90, and Professor Lena Lencek.

Whether you are starting your second semester on campus, like me, or graduating in 112 days, or joining us as one of our six new transfer students, I hope you will relish every connection, learning opportunity, and unexpected discovery that Reed has to offer. With a new calendar open before us, I am awed by the breadth of stimulating classes taught by our incredible faculty and the array of programming ahead, such as Ijeoma Oluo (tomorrow evening) and Black Celebration Month. I am also particularly excited that the Reed Union Committee has organized the college's first union in many years. For those of you who haven't attended a union before, Reed Unions are gatherings of the entire college to discuss topics of specific relevance to the Reed community. This year's topic is “Community Responsibility in a Time of Climate Crisis,” and the event will be held on February 6 at 4:10 p.m. in Kaul Auditorium.

This spring will be a time of growth and exploration for all—myself included—as we dig into another new season at Reed. Cheers to this next semester of learning together.

Welcome back!