News of the College May 2004

The class of 2004 urged to follow their dreams

So, is the rumor true? Are you really leaving us? You’ve had your last double espresso from the Paradox Café? You’ve been to your last fetish ball? You’ve paid off your library fines and your bar tab at the Lutz? You’ve read your last Quest? (That assumes, of course, that you ever read ANY Quests.) Your parents have given you . . .their last red cent?

Those were the questions posed by President Colin Diver to the 312 seniors who made up the 2004 graduating class, along with six MALS graduates.

Diver at podium

Commencement speaker Arwen Isaac Davé ’89

Commencement speaker
Arwen Isaac Davé ’89


Diver went on to point out that while they probably believed they were leaving the “bubble,” he avowed that everything in life is a bubble and the seniors were simply going from one bubble to the next. “Some bubbles grow stronger. Some shrivel and die. The difference is what’s kept inside, and what is kept outside; what is celebrated and what is demeaned; what is remembered and what is forgotten.”

Also speaking at this year’s commencement was space station design engineer Arwen Isaac Davé ’89. Davé told the graduates and their families that Reed provided her with the tools to find and attain her “dream job” as a designer on NASA’s International Space Station:

“The large lectures followed by small conference groups put me on familiar terms with my professors. I could talk easily about my hopes and dreams of illustration and space-related large, moving stuff.

“The constant tests of my speaking and writing skills, even in technical classes, and my analytical skills, even in the arts, meant I could communicate better than those from a pure engineering background. Reed’s high academic standards gave me the edge in interviews and early assignments.


“Reed’s atmosphere of creativity fostered my idealism and my belief in the existence of a job I could love.

“Reed bolstered my perseverance and my courage to be different. Later, in my mechanical engineering classes at Rensselaer Polytechnic, there was a ratio of ten men to one woman. In industry, it would be 50 to one.

Diver and grad with funny hat

“Most importantly, Reed helped me acquire my mental toolbox. Here I learned to recognize the premises behind the logic, and tweak them to achieve a new conclusion. I also learned how to learn, so I was not turned away from my calling by a fear of change.

“Reed College gave me the tools I needed to find the life and work that I love. You graduates have these same tools. You need not fear being stuck in anything. You can avoid the ‘golden handcuffs’ of accepting boredom for wages. If your goal seems too far away and you are urged to stick to what you know, be happy you have that safety net, and take a leap into the unknown. If you are told you won’t be able to get along with a certain group, give it a try—there is always a first time!”

Davé concluded by advising the grads, “If someone tells you something is impossible, go and find out for yourself. The possibilities are unlimited—follow your dreams!”

For the complete text of Diver and Davé’s speeches and more photos of commencement, visit hundred undergraduates, a record number, walked across the stage this year to receive their Reed College diplomas. An amazing number of family and friends of these happy graduates stood in the rain afterward and congratulated Reed’s newest alumni (including the two who earned MALS degrees).

Another record was set this year with four students completing the difficult double major, which entails the writing of two separate theses. The greatest number of graduates this year majored in biology (42), followed by English (35), psychology (32), history (25), and physics (17). The largest percentage of students, 30 percent, graduated from the division of mathematics and natural sciences. End of Article

grad clapping
grad smiling

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Reed Magazine August 2004
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