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Reed Mag Autumn 2006


Mitchell Hartman

Class Notes &
copy editor

Laurie Lindquist

Assistant Editor
Johanna Droubay '04

Production Manager
Amy H. Taylor

Alumni News Editor
Robin Tovey '97

Development news editor
Matt Kelly

Graphic Designer
Chris Michel

Associate Graphic Designer
Laura Pritchard

Web Designer
Tony Moreno


About this Issue

If you didn’t stay around Portland after graduation, you may have forgotten just how wet this place can get during a really good autumn rainstorm, though in truth, to call the five days of torrential downpours we suffered in early November a mere “rainstorm” is an insult to meteorology’s rich lexicon. In TV weatherperson-speak it was a “pineapple express,” a tropical storm from Hawaii that dumped more than six inches of rain, turned Reed’s gravel pathways into cataracts, and transformed our lush green lawns into shallow fishing holes.

But the point of this weather report is not to remind you of fall semester, freshman year, when you came to the realization that the caressing summer breezes of late September in Portland were a cruel lie, and that what lay in store instead were months of damp darkness during which one might just as well hole oneself up in the library and catch up on some reading.

Rather, the great deluge of November 3–7, 2006, sets the stage for the story that leads off this magazine—about why professors teach at Reed.

As background for the article, we conducted interviews with more than a dozen professors over the course of two semesters; the last of these interviews, with classics professor Ellen Millender, was to take place on the rainy morning of Tuesday, November 7 (as the country was preparing to send a flood of Democrats to Washington, as it happens). I was working late on Monday night and got a call from Millender around midnight, saying that her backyard was flooded, water was pouring into her basement through the window wells, and she didn’t know if she’d make the interview.

When I got in on Tuesday morning, there was a voicemail from Millender: “It’s 8 o’clock,” she said, “and we’re still bailing.” As I settled down to work, the phone rang. It was Millender again, apologizing for missing our interview—she and her husband had been up all night doing flood control—and asking if we could please meet later that day instead.

“Stay home,” I said, “go to sleep. We’ll do the interview tomorrow.”

“I’m coming in anyway,” she replied. “I teach.”

You can read the inspiring results of that interview. Following our discussion, and still bleary-eyed from her bedraggling all-nighter, Millender went on to teach three classes—Latin 110, Greek 210 (the speeches of Lysias), and Rise of the Roman Empire.

Why do Reed professors teach? Because they can’t not teach.

hartman image
—Mitchell Hartman, editor