Life Beyond Reed

By Jay Hubert ’66, alumni association president
Jay Hubert

Jay Hubert ’66

Centennial Reunions, celebrated last June, was a great success. It brought more than 1500 alumni to campus, making it the biggest reunion ever—about 10 percent of all living Reed alumni attended! It is satisfying to review Reed’s history and to celebrate its success, but it is just as important to look forward to the future. To that end, the alumni association is beginning a new program to support career development for current students and recent graduates. The main motives for this program are the current economic environment and the desire of many older alumni to support younger ones in their quest for satisfying employment.

After Centennial Reunions, the college commissioned a survey of 1,436 alumni attendees who provided an email address. The request received a very high response rate of 52 percent. One of the most significant results is that 45 percent of the respondents said that Centennial Reunions enhanced or reaffirmed their desire to volunteer for Reed in some capacity. In response to an open-ended question, many alumni expressed a particular interest in helping younger alumni advance their careers.

To tap into the incredible energy demonstrated on campus in June, the alumni board has established a new committee called Life Beyond Reed. Together with Reed’s career services, the committee will sponsor a series of Working Weekends. The first one will be February 2–4, 2012. During these few days, alumni speakers will organize and lead skills workshops for students and recent graduates, meet with students one on one or in groups, sit on industry or expertise panels that address specific topics, and share job and internship opportunities. This weekend was chosen because many alumni will already be on campus for board of trustees and alumni board meetings.

There will be a special focus on nonacademic careers. The majority of Reed alumni do not pursue careers in academia, so it should not surprise any of us that many alumni have successful careers in jobs seemingly unrelated to their undergraduate major. However, sometimes it takes a while to get a good start. Furthermore, the demands of the workplace are changing faster and faster. The Working Weekend will provide forums that explore how to apply a Reed education to a broad array of job opportunities, including employment in nonprofits or as entrepreneurs.

Working Weekends will require significant coordination. Alumni are needed to organize panels and lead workshops. Career services will handle publicity to current students. Email notices have been sent to many recent graduates. The early volunteers will have the most influence on which themes and topics are covered. If you want to participate or assist, please send email to the organizer of the Working Weekends, Adam Riggs ’95. Also, update your IRIS profile and consider adding a LinkedIn profile to provide a snapshot of your professional accomplishments. We believe Working Weekends will strengthen cross-pollination and networking within the alumni community and between alumni and current students. This will strengthen the Reed community as a whole and all those who participate.

The Life Beyond Reed committee also plans to expand alumni support for recent graduates beyond the immediate Portland area. We welcome your thoughts on how to do this effectively. If you are interested, send email to the chair of Life Beyond Reed, Gloria Johnson ’79.

The Nitty Gritty

What: Working Weekend
When: Feb 2–4, 2012
Contact: Adam Riggs ’95