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reed magazine logoDecember 2010

Eliot Circular

Joining the Tribe

Reed College Rowers

photo by Eric Cable

Convocation 2010

With a flourish of trumpets and an extravagance of sunshine, Reed welcomed a bumper crop of 373 freshlings at Convocation, held beneath a suitably gleaming Big Top on August 25.

In his opening remarks, President Colin Diver stressed both the radical and the traditional origins of the college.

Today's convocation officially begins the one-hundredth year of Reed's existence as simply the best liberal arts college on the planet. Our founding president was a transplanted Easterner who sought to establish an academic community on the somewhat revolutionary principles of scholarly pursuit and honorable behavior. Imagine: an educational institution dedicated to scholarship and honor! He was particularly insistent that Reed be free of what he saw as the three great vices: football, fraternities, and frivolity. Fortunately, he succeeded in stamping out only the first two. Frivolity, thank goodness, escaped his reformist zeal, and has remained an essential part of our character ever since.

But if we value frivolity, it is in service of something we truly revere: inquiry and discovery. In a word, learning. We are a learning community. What we do is teaching, research, debate, discussion, scientific experimentation, artistic creation. But what we seek is learning. Not just learning facts and figures, but learning the skills and habits necessary for a lifelong pursuit of knowledge.

The incoming Class of '14 is a little more numerous than usual and its SAT scores a little stronger (see chart).

It includes 42 "first-generation" students, that is, students who are among the first in their family to go to college. It also includes 79 minority students, which is slightly fewer than in recent years. In particular, there are just 8 African-American freshmen, compared to a recent average of 13. "We hope this is just a one-year trend," says Keith Todd, director of admission. "We want to refocus our efforts to make sure students of all backgrounds feel comfortable on campus."

To this end, the college has hired a new dean of inclusion, engagement, and success to provide additional support for students of all backgrounds. (See page 8.)

Other highlights of the Class of '14 include an accomplished oboist who cuts his own reeds; a practitioner of traditional Thai dance; a student who recited Hamlet's soliloquy from memory during the admission interview; and a former manager of a Chick-Fil-A in Florida who used to daydream about quantum computing. Daydream no longer! Welcome to Reed.

—Anna Mann

The Class of ’14

The Winnowing
  2010   AVG. ’05–’09
  3,075   3,142
Accepted Apps
  1,311   1,198
% Accepted
  43%   38%
  373   355
  28%   30%
  (% of total)    
Average GPA
  3.9   3.9
SAT Verbal
  712   709
SAT Math
  675   668
SAT Writing
  694   686
  20 (14%)   15 (10%)
1st Generation Applicants
  543 (18%)   434 (14%)
Accepted Apps
  121 (9%)   108 (9%)
% Accepted
  22%   25%
  42 (11%)   35 (10%)
  35%   32%
  21   28
Native American
  9   5
African American
  8   13
  39   32
  1   9
  79   87
% Minorities
  22%   24%

Figures do not include transfer students. Minority figures include only self-reported ethnicity and do not count foreign nationals. SAT writing test scores were first reported by applicants in 2006. For more statistics, see

reed magazine logoDecember 2010