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Carol Joanne Hasson ’49

March 24, 2021, in Laguna Woods, California.

Carol grew up in Portland, where her father ran a produce market. After graduating from Grant High School, she worked for a year in the duplicating department of the Bonneville Power Administration. When the family moved to California in 1944, she began enrolling at the University of Southern California but decided she didn’t like anything about it.

“I got on a streetcar and went home and informed my parents that I had not worked for a year to go to a school dominated by sororities or fraternities,” she said.

She started at Reed as a math major in the fall of ’45, but soon changed her major to political science and wrote her thesis, “The Arab League: A Study in International Regionalism,” advised by Prof. Frank Munk [political science 1939–65].

“Reed gave me an education that taught me to think and develop my thoughts in a logical manner,” she said. “Consequently, I have continued to enjoy literature, history, science, and the arts in the world around me. I’ve been exposed to too many people that are only educated in their major, have not read any classic literature, philosophers, or basically the content of Humanities 11 and 21. And I’m a bit appalled. They’re well trained, but I wouldn’t call people who go through college in this manner educated.”

After graduating, she worked in admission, helping to enroll the class for the fall of 1949. Through Ann Shepard [dean’s office 1926–68] she got a job working for two dermatologists in downtown Portland. Deciding her job wasn’t leading anywhere, she left after two years, returned home to Los Angeles, and was briefly married. She began working at Hughes Aircraft Company, eventually becoming an electrical engineer and program manager. In her 33 years with the company, Carol spent 11 years working on the F-14 and programmed parts of a new radar mode called track-while-scan, retiring as a systems engineer.

“Reed prepared me as a person, to maneuver in the world,” she said. “Someone once told me when she was somewhat annoyed with me that she wouldn’t give me a nickel cup of coffee for my degree in political science. And I thought at the time, ‘Well, lady, every job you’ve had has been a failure.’ I managed to make a very good living, even though my degree was in political science. I think Reed prepares people as human beings.”

For years, she lived with her partner, Samuel Vodopia, whom she described as “a charming, intelligent, and interesting male companion and best friend.” The two never married because, as Sam said, “marriage is the leading cause of divorce.” The two were big supporters of Reed, making frequent gifts to the endowment and establishing the Sam, Isabel, and Carol Hasson Scholarship, which honors the Hasson family. He survives her.


Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2022

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