Sallyportal: Madly Blogging Reed

Reunions ’15 Opens with Fanfayre

Cheered on by Reunions attendees, retiring professors and staff were inducted into the ranks of honorary alumni. Photo by Leah Nash

More than 1,500 Reed alumni and allied life forms descended on campus last weekend for Reunions ’15and the celebration began with Fanfayre, the formal-informal opening ceremony that took place this year in the Cerf amphitheatre.

The event began with a charmingly odd welcome by musician Paul Anderson ’92, the composer of Reed classics such as “Sensitive Guy” and “On the Night Bus.”

Paul’s offbeat presentation set the tone for the afternoon: President John Kroger made quips about Reed lacking a football team, raising a rousing cheer from the audience, while Scott Foster ’77, the outgoing president of the alumni board, assured the crowd that his cowboy hat he sported was legitimate because he does in fact own livestock.

John Kroger: proud to be president of a college where physics matters more than football. Photo by Leah Nash

The ceremony honored several longtime Reed professors and one staff member: Prof. Bob Kaplan [bio 1983–2015], Prof. Maryanne McClellan [bio 1982–2015], Prof. Roger Porter [English 1961–2015], Prof. David Sacks [history 1986–2015], and Lois Hobbs [administrative assistant to the faculty 1983–2015].

Incoming alumni board president Kristin Earl ’05 introduced each retiree by reading aloud tributes contributed for the occasion by Reed alumni.

Prof. Kaplan made sure to thank everyone who helped make his time here possible, including members of facilities services, who make it possible for each member of the community to do the work they do every day. Kaplan said, “there is only one legacy that means anything at all to me; each of you working and walking and doing anything at all in the world, and the thought that I might have been part of that.”

Prof. McClellan reflected on the intense passion and curiosity that drives Reedies. “I just had to be part of the catalyst to help that transformation,” she said. “Turning curiosity into passion and more importantly, into disciplined passion.”

Prof. Porter joked about being told he would receive an honorary BA from Reed, saying, “I have a BA, I don’t need another one.” Upon reflection, however, he remarked that an honorary BA might not be so bad. “One of the great things about it is that you don’t have to take Hum 110, or a full year of a lab science.” Prof. Porter earned his BA from Amherst but said that Reed held a special place in his heart. “I’ve had my reunion and it was with Reed, I didn’t need it with my own college, and I think that says something about my deep profound feelings of loyalty for Reed and all of you.”

Several alumni remarked on Lois Hobbs’ penchant for pink, and stated that she embodied individuality in a school that values it. Her name on the program was printed in her signature color.

In closing, Paul then led the crowd in “Reed Remembrance,” a serenade set to the tune of  “Auld Lang Syne” with lyrics by Prof. Ed Segel [history 1973–2011]. There followed an impromptu dance celebration. (Lest anyone think Paul was all jokes and no heart, listen to his opening remarks. “This place is what it is because we recreate it every year,” he said. “We all go out into the world with care and curiosity. This is what Reed is constantly bringing into the world and what makes it so special.”)

Check out class photos and candid snapshots from Reunions. And don't forget to make a gift to the Annual Fund by June 30.

Tags: alumni, reunions, professors,