Reed College Welcomes New Board of Trustees Chair

Reed alumna Deborah D. Kamali succeeds alumnus Roger M. Perlmutter, who served in the role for 14 years

February 5, 2024


PORTLAND — Reed College today announced that Deborah D. Kamali was elected as its new board chair during the February Board of Trustees meeting held at Reed College. Effective July 1, 2024, Kamali will succeed Roger M. Perlmutter, who has served as chair since 2010.

“Deborah brings a wealth of experience and a love of Reed College. She understands deeply the college’s mission and that Reed is a place of serious inquiry where we prepare our students to address challenges that are not easily or quickly solved,” said Reed College President Audrey Bilger. “Roger has done an extraordinary job over the past 14 years, and his leadership has assisted in guiding Reed to the strong position it is in today. It has been a privilege to benefit from his knowledge and wisdom during my time here. I look forward to working with Deborah in service of this truly distinctive institution.”

Kamali, who graduated from Reed in 1985, will be the first woman to serve as board chair at Reed.

“Reed has been an important part of my life and my family’s life for many years, and I look forward to serving as chair of the Board of Trustees,” Kamali said. “The strength of the academic program is unparalleled, and I am excited to provide guidance as the college continues to serve the next generation of students.”

Perlmutter, who graduated from Reed in 1973, has played an important role in much of the change at Reed over the past 14 years, from helping navigate the pandemic to Reed’s 2010 fundraising campaign, which resulted in $203 million raised. Upon concluding his service as chair, he will remain on the board.

“It has been my great pleasure to serve as the chair of the Board of Trustees during the past decade,” Perlmutter said. “I am also delighted that Deborah has accepted the invitation of the board to serve as our next chair. She is exactly the right person to partner with President Bilger in leading Reed during the next decade.”

About Deborah D. Kamali

Dr. Kamali is an emerita professor in the department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the University of California San Francisco, where she served as a faculty member and clinician for over 20 years. At UCSF, Kamali was involved in educating and mentoring learners in medical school, nursing school, and in residency training programs, and she served on medical school and residency admissions committees.

Kamali graduated from Reed with a B.A. in biology in 1985 and earned an M.D. from Oregon Health and Science University. Before becoming a Trustee at Reed in 2015, Kamali served as chair of Reed’s Strategic Planning Partners and has participated in Working Weekend and as a career network volunteer. As a Trustee, she has served as chair of the Student Life committee and is a member of the Trusteeship, Budget Policy, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committees. Her husband, Kevan Shokat, graduated from Reed College in 1986, and they have three children who all attended Reed: Kasra Shokat (class of 2014), Mitra Shokat (class of 2018), and Leila Shokat (class of 2021).

About Roger M. Perlmutter

Dr. Perlmutter majored in biology at Reed and graduated in 1973. He went on to earn both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Washington University in St Louis and became Professor and Chairman of the Department of Immunology at the University of Washington in Seattle. He also served as a professor in the Departments of Medicine and Biochemistry there, and as an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and both a Distinguished Fellow and past president of the American Association of Immunologists.

Perlmutter joined Merck in 1997 as executive vice president of basic and preclinical research. From 2001 to 2012, he served as executive vice president and head of research and development at Amgen. He returned to Merck in 2013, serving as executive vice president and president of Merck Research Laboratories until 2020. He is currently chairman and chief executive officer of Eikon Therapeutics.

About Reed College

Founded in 1908 in southeast Portland, Oregon, Reed College is a coeducational, independent liberal arts and sciences college. Referred to as one of the most intellectual colleges in the country, Reed is known for its high standards of scholarly practice, creative thinking, and engaged citizenship.