Leadership Summit draws ’em back to campus

Are Reedies really special? What’s the best way to advocate for Reed? How can we strengthen the Reed tribe? These and other topics formed the agenda for Reed’s Leadership Summit (formerly known as Volunteer Weekend), which was held in September. 

Scores of alumni and friends descended on campus to share their insights on subjects such as strategic planning, career networking, and fundraising. The weekend kicked off with a colloquium on the value of a liberal arts education led by Seth Paskin ’90 (producer of the podcast The Partially Examined Life), Gloria Johnson ’79, and professors Libby Drumm [Spanish 1995–], Troy Cross [philosophy 2010–], and Mary James, dean for institutional diversity and A.A. Knowlton Professor of Physics [1988–]. 

Advocates split into working groups to figure out ways of tackling various challenges facing the college, including Reed’s relationship with the Portland community; how to improve opportunities for research and independent study for students; how to create more opportunities for alumni and parents to connect with one another; and how to encourage more young alumni to support the Annual Fund. 

Alumni also discovered just how tricky it can be to find the right words to communicate what Reed’s all about at a talk by Mandy Heaton, executive director of communications and public affairs. 

Another popular event took place off campus at the New Deal Distillery in southeast Portland, where young alumni gathered for a lively fundraising happy hour. Prof. Jay Dickson [English 1996–] “electrified the room with ancient tales,” and alumni caught up with old friends while enjoying the spirits of Tom Burkleaux ’92, reports Breesa Culver ’01, assistant director of the Annual Fund.