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Alumni Profiles
reed magazine logoSummer 2008

Love Reedies

By Rachel Adrienne Hall Luft ’95, alumni board president

I know that half you Reedies out there think you were the friendless, faceless misfits of all time, but, honestly, if I had to rely on people who knew me as a Reed student for my readership here, I’d barely be breaking the double digits. I transferred in after my first year and missed the Hum 110 experience. I spent a year abroad. I lived off campus for all but part of one semester. If I know any Reedies from my era, it’s likely because I met them through my husband, not because I knew them as a student.

And yet, now, I probably look like some kind of Reed junkie. I worked for the administration as a student and was gone only a few months after graduating before I got another job on campus, eventually landing in the alumni office. When I left Reed again, to attend graduate school, I did some volunteer work for career services and development. Finally, I ended up on the alumni board, and now I am beginning my tenure as president of the alumni association. How did that happen?

Rachel Luft and her son, Konrad

Well, for one thing, the office of alumni board president does not require election by popular vote. So that helped. For another, I discovered while working in the alumni office that alumni involvement at Reed has little to do with nostalgia or staying connected with old friends.

In 1997, I was staffing reunions and found myself at a table with members of the Class of ’87. For those too advanced in age to recall how old a 30-something person appears to a 20-something person, let me remind you. These guys were middle-aged in my eyes, and middle-aged was borderline decrepit. But even though none of them knew who Oingo Boingo was, they were surprisingly very cool. An interesting, humorous, engaging group of people, with just the right amount of weird. I made a mental note: ’80s grads are kind of great.

And now that I’ve read the transcripts of interviews with Reedites from the ’30s, and discussed parenting with Reedies from the ’70s, and attended receptions with students about to join our ranks as alumni, and worked on various projects with Reed alumni from every decade still represented among us, allow me to report: Reedies are kind of great. I have noticed that I can be in a roomful of people my age, all of us pursuing the same things in life, and not really connect with any of them. I find myself commenting to my husband that people in general are just too normal. I don’t feel like one of them. Conversely, I can be at a table of Reed alumni, aged 25 to 85, and connect with every single one of them. And not because we’re discussing Hum 110 or Old Dorm Block—things for which I have little frame of reference.

There is just something about us, something that sparks interest among us, something that is comfortingly familiar and unifying. I can’t explain it well, but I hope others will see truth in what I’m saying or take my word for it and get more involved in the alumni association. Go to a local Reed function or come to reunions and experience it for yourself. With the advent of the internet, it is easier now to be notified of pub nights, family-friendly picnics, reading groups, lectures, and events that appeal to all interests. Go to to create your IRIS account. Once Reed has an email address for you, invitations and updates on the college will be sent to you automatically.

Not crazy about going someplace where you might not know anyone and risk standing around awkwardly until you make first contact? (Although, I assure you, there are always, always friendly people at these events who are happy to reach out to newcomers.) No problem. There are several online social and intellectual groups for Reedies, and another one currently being cultivated by members of the alumni board to foster socializing over shared interests and passions.

So, will you take the advice of a raving Reed fanatic? Hmm. Sketchy. You’re not a “joiner” by nature. On the other hand, you have met with other smart, antiestablishment types in the past, and gotten something out of it. It might just be worth it.

reed magazine logoSummer 2008