Eliot Circular

Gift Honors McFarlane

Photo by Leah Nash

Trustee pays tribute to treasured treasurer.

By Chris Lydgate ’90

Philanthropist Sandy Mintz [trustee 2006–] has made a generous gift to Reed in honor of longtime treasurer Ed McFarlane, who has served the college for nearly four decades.

“It’s very nice of Sandy,” said McFarlane in a typically laconic piece of understatement.

Since arriving on campus in 1973, Ed has been one of the chief guardians of Reed’s endowment, which has grown from $4 million to $450 million. He has also managed the budget, devised innovative ways to save the college money, and overseen construction and maintenance.

Earlier this year, Ed won the distinguished business officer award from the National Association of College and University Business Officers. Dozens of Ed’s colleagues signed a nominating letter praising his “outstanding achievements” in the field of financial management and calling him “an inspirational leader, role model, and mentor.”

When people think about Reed, they usually think about its dedicated students and its distinctive curriculum, says Sandy. Seldom do they stop to consider the infrastructure that makes its academic mission possible in the first place—unglamorous stuff like plumbing, roofs, and wiring. That’s one reason why she decided to designate $500,000 to endow the Edwin O. McFarlane Campus Support Fund. “I wanted to honor Ed and I couldn’t think of a better way to do it,” she says. “He has been a pillar of Reed College.”

A small example of Ed’s knack for stretching a dollar: In the early ’90s, the roofs of Eliot Hall and the Old Dorm Block were in dire need of repair—many of their distinctive green clay tiles were cracked or broken. Unfortunately, the tiles were no longer being manufactured. Then Ed found an old house in Portland with the same kind of tiles and struck a bargain with the homeowner. Reed reroofed the house, trucked the precious tiles to campus, and used them to repair Eliot and ODB.

Sandy’s gift honoring Ed is part of a $3 million commitment to Reed’s Centennial Campaign. Other designations for her support include a new professorship in computational biology, support for digital learning materials, the economics department, and Reed’s Technology Innovation Fund.

Sandy is a former magazine and book editor and the widow of hedge fund pioneer Walter Mintz ’50 [trustee 1971–2004]. Tireless champions of financial aid, they established two scholarships for needy students and contributed generously to many other projects. After Walter’s death, their friends in the investment community contributed $1.25 million to endow the Walter Mintz Chair in Classics.

“Walter admired Ed greatly,” she says. “Ed has stayed the course for Reed College for a long time. He’s a remarkable individual.”