Eliot Circular

New Trustees Bring Business Expertise

Reed welcomes two members to the board of trustees who bring expertise in the fields of financial investment, global strategy, operations research, and tech strategy.


Kurt DelBene returns to the board after serving as the senior adviser to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. DelBene had started as a trustee at Reed in April 2013, but when President Obama tapped him to rescue the troubled Affordable Care Act website, Healthcare.gov, he resigned from all nonprofit board work because of the potential conflict of interest.

Prior to his appointment, DelBene was president of the Microsoft Office division responsible for global strategy for a wide range of products including Office, Exchange, Sharepoint, Lync, and Visio. He had joined Microsoft in 1992, working on the development of several high-profile applications including Outlook, Exchange, Schedule+, messaging, and personal information-management applications, and was responsible for the development of Microsoft client and server software.

“In my field a lot of the creative process is about finding connections across different parts of the industry that were not there,” DelBene said. “Reed introduces students to a broad set of course work in subjects as part of their liberal arts education. That spurs creativity. They learn how to think creatively about what’s not yet there.”

Before joining Microsoft, DelBene was a business strategy consultant and software developer for AT&T Bell Laboratories. He has a BS in industrial engineering from the University of Arizona, an MS in industrial engineering from Stanford University, and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

His wife is Congresswoman Suzan DelBene ’83, who represents Washington’s 1st Congressional District.


Stephen E. Babson is a managing director in the Seattle office of Endeavour Capital, a financial investment firm with $1.5 billion under management. He has worked in the food and consumer, marine transportation, and business services industries and served on the boards of many of the firm’s portfolio companies, including ZoomCare, New Seasons Market, Bristol Farms, Vigor Industrial, Genesis Financial Solutions, and Metropolitan Market. Before joining Endeavour Capital, he was the chairman of Stoel Rives, one of the Pacific Northwest’s largest law firms, where his practice focused on mergers and acquisitions and securities transactions. 

“I believe a liberal arts education is critical in providing fundamental abilities like leadership, discernment, and an ability to handle ambiguity and complex analytical tasks,” Babson said, “but every college can’t provide it. Reed is one of the few colleges in the United States that has never strayed from its mission of providing an education in the Western canon, which is so necessary for preparing people for the challenges, threats, and diversions that present themselves in our century.” 

Babson holds an AB from Stanford University, a JD from Stanford Law School, and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He also serves on the boards of Columbia Sportswear Company, Pendleton Woolen Mills, and ESCO Corporation.

His parents were Reed alumni Jean McCall Babson ’42 and Richard (Bill) Babson ’43. Jean served on the board of trustees from 1971 to 1987; the Babson Society was named in her honor.