NOAA Novemberspring2006

fisher imageTailgating for Reed?

By Tony Fisher ’80, alumni association president

I often think of college when I’m driving around town here in Portland. We treat our cars as billboards, using bumper stickers, decals, license-plate frames, and rally flags to proclaim our passion for our most cherished interests: our politics, our children’s achievements, and our colleges. Such pride of automotive place speaks to the great importance we attach to our alma maters—perhaps even more so the further back college is in our temporal rearview mirror.

My daughter is now a college-focused high school junior (being taught, I feel fortunate to say, by a Reedie of my generation) and I confess that I have told her more than once that college, unlike most things in life, is for keeps. We can change careers, change religions, change continents . . . but we don’t get a “do over” with college. So, I tell her, choose wisely and give it your heart and soul.

Giving Reed our heart and soul was always part of the bargain when we were students. But just as Reed was anything but easy for us then, it’s not easy for us as alumni either, at least not compared with many other colleges and universities. On fall weekends, I often marvel at the pageant of cars full of happy Ducks and Beavers, Huskies and Cougars, rally flags fluttering, as they head off to watch “the game” with fellow alumni and friends.

Wouldn’t a Reed “tailgater” be a blast?

But we knew we weren’t getting any part of that program of easy future affinity with our school and fellow classmates when we chose Reed. Still, as Reedies/Reedites, we share a rich experience and a unique set of values, and these give us common ground with our fellow alumni, be they 22 or 92.

That’s where your alumni association seeks to make a difference. We’re all volunteers who care about making it as fun and fulfilling as possible to be alumni of this remarkable institution. In upcoming articles I plan to write more about some of the association’s initiatives. But for now, I want to mention a few “Did You Know?” items that can maybe help us get a bit more closely connected—if we make the effort to be.

Did You Know You Can—

  • Go to ReedLink and use its search features to find out about your fellow alumni and update your own “vitae”?
  • Type in the name of a city or town in ReedLink and it will show you all of the alumni who live there? (Then, you can organize a hometown barbecue, cocktail party, or ‘faux’ tailgater.)
  • Submit a new class note in ReedLink for yourself that will appear in this magazine?
  • Offer to volunteer, in ReedLink, for career services and admission?
  • Use the alumni website to find out about events in the eight cities where we have chapters—Seattle, Portland, the Bay Area, Southern California, Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York? (Go to and click on “Alumni.”)
  • Receive ReediEnews, an e-newsletter about interesting alumni in the news? (Send your email address to
  • Boost your “Reed Pride”? Shop online at the bookstore. There’s all sorts of great Reed stuff—insignia clothing, jewelry and other logo goodies, books by Reedies, even care packages for current Reedies.

As Reed students, things certainly weren’t handed to us. I suppose it’s much the same for us now—it’s up to each of us to make the most of our lifelong experience as Reed alumni. The association exists to help us do that. My sermon from the presidential “pulpit” this quarter is: please, give the gift of yourself to your fellow alumni. Why not go online and see which Reedies live near you? Reach out. Send an email. Make a phone call. Help a recent grad think through a career move. Refer a terrific high school student to the admission office. Attend a Reed event in your area. Come back to Reed’s lovely campus for Reunions.

The more involved I have become with Reed and its alumni over the years, the richer my life has been for it. May the same be true for you!

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