Prof. Ed Segel lectured on the French Revolution, Vietnam, and practically everything in between
Prof. Ed Segel lectured on the French Revolution, Vietnam, and practically everything in between

Scholarship Honors History Prof

By Randall S. Barton | December 10, 2013

Reed alumni have banded together to recognize one of the college’s most influential professors—Prof. Ed Segel [history 1973-2011]—by naming a scholarship in his honor.

A native of Boston, Segel graduated from Harvard in 1960 and earned his PhD at UC Berkeley before coming to Reed in 1973. His primary interests were diplomatic history of the 19th and 20th centuries, European history, and intellectual history in the European mode. He lectured on the French Revolution, Edmund Burke, Beethoven, Vietnam, and everything in between, and made his mark on campus as teacher, scholar, mentor, pool player, parliamentarian, and lyricist.

“This scholarship is a wonderful thing and I’m very grateful to the alumni who established it,” Segel said. “I’m particularly glad that the alumni come from such diverse fields and I likewise hope that the recipients of the scholarship over the years would cover a wide range of interests and academic commitment.”

The three alumni who first established the scholarship were Lucien L. Foster ’95, Nelson Minar ’94, and Behzad Khosrowshahi ’91.

“Ed spent more than 35 years at Reed helping students learn and be successful,” says Nelson Minar. “I wanted to honor his commitment to students, and I know that personally, he likes the idea of scholarships.”

After graduating with a BA in mathematics from Reed—where he set up the college’s first web server—Nelson earned a MS in communications technologies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A self-employed web developer, he lives in San Francisco with his partner, Kenneth Scott.

Although Nelson was never one of Segel’s students, he appreciated his unofficial role as an openly gay professor who supported Reed’s gay and lesbian student group, which in the early ’90s was still unusual.

“I also personally benefited significantly from financial aid at Reed,” he adds, “and I am delighted to help fund financial aid for future students.”

Lucien Foster was a interdisciplinary major in history and literature at Reed, and received an MBA from Northwestern University in 2001. He is now as associate vice-president for corporate strategy for NASDAQ in New York, specializing in mergers and acquisitions.

“I wanted to be a part of this scholarship,” he says, “because of all professors and people at Reed, Ed influenced me during my four years at the college, and guided me afterwards. That makes a professor very special.”

The two men hit it off philosophically, enjoying an occasional night at the opera or dining out together. Ed advised Lucien on everything from career moves to personal relationships with girlfriends, both during and after college.

“I’ve always enjoyed Ed’s even-keeled, articulate, and thoughtful approach,” says Lucien. “His advice was incredibly valuable and he continued to be an important player in my life as I went forward.”

The Ed Segel Scholarship benefits students with financial need and has been awarded to its first recipient, a sociology junior.

Those wishing to contribute to the scholarship should contact Development Director Jan Kurtz at 503/788-6673 or <>.

Tags: Giving Back to Reed, Financial Aid, Alumni, Professors