Presidents of Reed

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George Andrews Hay


Born on August 21, 1930, in Pennsylvania
Died in July 1986, in Portland, Oregon

George A. Hay served as acting president of Reed College for one year, during President Bragdon’s sabbatical in 1980–81.

After earning a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore in 1952 and a Ph.D. from MIT in 1956, Hay came to Reed as an assistant professor of economics. He remained at Reed for 27 years, until his retirement in 1983.

Throughout his career, Hay was prominent in the Reed community, serving as director of admission from 1958–64, as vice president-treasurer from 1973–79, as executive vice president from 1979–80, and as special assistant to the president from 1981–83. He was also an active participant in campus choral groups.

During his year as president of the college, Hay established a faculty committee on the future of the library. At the beginning of his term, in May 1980, Mount St. Helen’s erupted, disturbing graduation ceremonies on campus.

Hay chaired the “Hay Committee,” which worked extensively to aid Reed with its financial problems. Under his direction, the committee helped steer Reed into its prosperous years of development by creating a system of cash reserves. Hay monitored Reed’s endowment activities, and helped President Bragdon launch the college’s $4.5-million capital-funds campaign in the early 1980s.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Hay worked extensively in international economics, traveling to Indonesia, South America, and Africa. He worked as a visiting fellow and consultant for the International Institute for Educational Planning of UNESCO in Paris, and in 1976 published a book, Educational Finance and Educational Reform in Peru.

After serving the Reed community for over 25 years, Hay stated: “It is remarkable to me how little the fundamental features have changed . . . at Reed there is a sense in which you don’t study about things, you study the things themselves.”