NOAA Novemberautumn2006

fisher imageNew Reedies Rock!

By Tony Fisher ’80, alumni association president

At Reed’s convocation ceremony in August, I had the pleasure of addressing 376 members of the incoming Class of 2010 and 46 transfer students. Here’s what I told them:

“It was a fast 32 years ago that I walked into my freshman dorm room in MacNaughton III (yes, my sympathies to all of you in that cell block) after driving all the way from Pennsylvania. I remember vividly the thrill of sitting on the lawn with my new ‘Dorm Mom’ and ‘Dorm Dad’ (loved those titles) and my fellow dormies, learning about my new home, beginning this great adventure. Those first few days were so exciting. Stressful too! I so hope you are enjoying them.

“A lot of great things have happened at Reed since my time that cause older alumni like me to be jealous of all of you—and not only because of your youth. Just a few examples:

  • We’ve added some 18 buildings, dorms, and houses to the physical plant.
  • We’ve added 30 professors and three new majors.
  • We’ve gone from one coal-fired IBM card-reading computer in the basement of Eliot Hall, to over 1,300 machines today.
  • Our finances have gone from downright scary to strong, as our endowment has grown from $4 million to almost $400 million.
  • The last point is maybe a bit petty, but it’s important to most students and alumni: we get a lot more “love”—that is, recognition—from the rest of the world. There weren’t many people, apart from the academic community, who knew what this place—and its students—were about back in the ’70s. But today, you’re a member of ‘The Most Academic College in the U.S.,’ and one of ‘The 25 New Ivies!’ Finally you’re getting the recognition we craved as students way back when.

“What hasn’t changed in the college’s 95 years is the rigor, the passion for learning, and the commitment to teaching young women and men to become exceptional thinkers. What hasn’t changed is that the people who have chosen to come to Reed have done so because they were seeking to be challenged. And that’s why you’re here, too. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. But promise yourself and your parents that you will make time to enjoy this terrific city and this wonderful state. Remember: Reedies work hard and Reedies play hard, too.

“We alumni will do whatever we can to help you. We’re your biggest fan club. We know how great you are, and we know how tough this place can be. We look forward with anticipation and affection to your joining our ranks in a few short years.

“We used to say, ‘Love Reed.’ We handed out little buttons with the slogan, and now we hand out these cute little yellow owls as well. But I think we need a new little giftie that says ‘Reedies Rock!’ Because we do—and so do each of you. We alumni salute you. You’ll do great. We’re behind you—let us know how we can help.”

So much for my speechifying. I hope you share my enthusiasm for seeking out ways to help our students and recent graduates. Over the years, I have personally worked closely with more than two-dozen students and new alumni who were seeking to learn about my particular industry (investment banking), and needed help fine-tuning their resumes, cover letters, and interviewing approaches. It has been rewarding and fun, and it makes the bond between Reed’s alumni and students tangible and meaningful. Career advising represents a critical area where we can make a big difference.

If you would like to volunteer as a career mentor, please don’t hesitate to email Ron Albertson, director of career services (, and apprise him of your interest. I am certain your efforts will be of continuing value to future members of the alumni association.