Centennial Reunions Reflection

Harris Dusenbery represents the class of 1936 in the all-class parade during one of the more memorable events of Centennial Reunions. Photo by Eric Cable

By Mike Teskey

The event: Centennial Reunions, the official launching of Reed’s centennial year.

The challenge: to describe this exceptional event without lapsing into numbing hyperbole and cliché.

I beg your indulgence as I lapse.

When you plan for so many years and build high hopes, there is always the risk that the reality will fall short. This didn’t. Which leads me to the indefensible hyperbole: no other college or alumni association in the country could have done this.

The elements of Centennial Reunions may sound typical for any college: class events, talks, demonstrations, a parade, fireworks, and so on. What was fundamentally different was the way the elements emerged and the embodied energy they emitted. Alumni stepped forward and offered their talents; my colleagues meshed the parts in such a way that what emerged was a transcendent experience for all who participated. It was a showcase of the best of Reed.

While the elements could be replicated, the spirit, intellectualism, energy, passion, creativity, and whimsy was pure Reed. I am indebted to myriad alumni and colleagues who dedicated countless hours to make their parts memorable. Thank you for creating compelling content, conspiring with your cohorts and colleagues, and captivating the campus and its community.

We live in an age when cameras are ubiquitous. In this issue, you will see some of images documenting Centennial Reunions. You can go online (reunions

.reed.edu) and see even more, including movies. Do it. The footage is amazing. If you were there, relive it and plan to return. If you missed it, take it in and make your mark on future gatherings.

Can this be replicated? We will try. Starting with Reunions 2012, we will begin the process of creating an annual alumni celebration of Reedie-ness, a Reedfayre. Those who return to campus will be reminded of what makes Reed distinctive and enduring.

I’m looking forward to the process and the product—clichés and all.

—Author info: Mike Teskey is Director, Alumni & Parent Relations