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Feature Story
reed magazine logoSpring 2009

After years of consultation with faculty, staff, trustees, and alumni, the college decided to organize the campaign around three themes, each central to Reed’s identity:

Strengthen the classroom experience, hire more outstanding professors, and improve facilities, especially in the performing arts.
Make Reed more accessible to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and improve the quality of campus life.
Build broader base of support among alumni and friends so that Reed can maintain its treasured independence.

Economic indicators notwithstanding, several auspicious omens suggest that the campaign can succeed.

First, the campaign is focused on the college’s existing strengths, with limited funds for new programs—an emphasis that should appeal to alumni who prefer that the college concentrate on what it does best.

Second, the campaign has been energized by two astonishing gifts: $10 million from trustee Dan Greenberg ’62 and his wife, Susan Steinhauser; and $20 million from fantasy author David Eddings ’54. (For more information about these donors and their gifts, see the following pages.) Altogether, Reed’s alumni and friends have so far given an impressive $129 million, leaving $71 million to go.

Finally, the current economic turbulence, marked by wholesale restructuring in so many industries, once again demonstrates the fundamental value of an education built not on how, but on why.

Since the first classes were held in 1911, Reed has resisted the dominant trends of twentieth century higher education: the decline of structured curricula; the emphasis on narrow technical training; the devaluation of the liberal arts; the focus on research productivity as opposed to excellence in teaching; the obsession with football.

Instead, Reed has held fast to a rather old-fashioned set of ideas: the transformative power of intellectual discovery; the primacy of the classroom experience; and the essential role of the community in the pursuit of knowledge. “We don’t serve up formulas,” says mathematics professor Irena Swanson ’87. “We train thinkers.”

Thesis Parade
reed magazine logoSpring 2009