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Colin S. Diver, Reed's 14th President

Colin DiverOn October 5 Colin Diver, became the fourteenth president of Reed College.

Diver, who describes himself as rational, multi-talented, impatient, and ambitious, acknowledges that the move to Portland entails huge changes geographically, culturally, and professionally. “At the same time,” says Diver, “Portland and Reed already feel like home to us in many ways.” His wife, Joan agrees: “There was a very strong feeling of something pulling us here.”

“I suppose my background in public service helps me appreciate Reed’s feistiness, independence, and libertarian ethos,” Diver said. Describing himself as a “city kid,” Diver said that Reed’s location in Portland is a “huge advantage because of the educational, service, and cultural opportunities it offers.”

The Divers, who arrived in Portland in July, moved here from Philadelphia, where Diver was the Charles A. Heimbold, Jr., Professor of Law and Economics and former dean at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Before that he taught at the Boston University School of Law, where he was dean. His academic career also includes teaching at the Wharton School at Penn and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Diver received his B.A. from Amherst College and his law degree from Harvard.

“Reed reminds me of the best parts of my undergraduate education at Amherst,” adds Diver. “The breadth of student initiative and inquiry, the thesis experience, the educational structure are all very compelling to me. I’m also attracted to the fact that Reed is very strong in the sciences. I believe a truly liberal education requires much more than just a passing familiarity with scientific methodology.

“One of the things that appealed to me most about Reed was its stubborn commitment to liberal ideals, to the training of the formal intellect of undergraduates. Reed is famously and fiercely independent and has not given itself over to focusing primarily on graduate training nor taking a scattershot approach to undergraduate class offerings.

“In the teaching I’ve done in professional schools, I’ve been a consumer of undergraduate education. I’ve become increasingly distressed at the lack of preparation I see in my students. Many students come into law school with a lack of a common core of knowledge about our civilization, a fear of quantitative concepts, a lack of analytical rigor, and a very passive approach to learning.” Diver was awarded with the A. Leo Levin Award for Teaching Excellence in his last year at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.

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