reed magazine logowinter2006

Reed Mag Winter 06


Mitchell Hartman

Associate Editor
Amy H. Taylor

Class NoteS
& Copy editor

Laurie Lindquist

Alumni NewS EDITOR
Robin Tovey '97

News Editor

Matt Kelly

Graphic Designer
Chris Michel

Associate Graphic Designer
Laura Pritchard

Web Designer
Tony Moreno

Reed College Relations
Hugh Porter
Vice President,
College Relations

Edward Hershey
Director, Public Affairs

Mike Teskey
Director, Alumni Relations

Johanna Thoeresz ’87
Director, Development


About this Issue

Since we last went to press, a giant Scrabble game was staged in the student union, a raucous debate on academic freedom and liberal bias was waged in Kaul Auditorium (Steinberger v. Horowitz), and a series of inventive art installations sprang up across campus, among them a suburban doorway complete with welcome mat on the walkway leading to Hauser Memorial Library.

All of this will probably seem more reminiscent than surprising to those who have experienced the idealism and idiosyncrasy of a larger-than-life Reed education. And, as this issue of the magazine demonstrates, many Reed alumni are prone to live lessons learned.

It was easy to sense that the moving stories filed from the Gulf Coast by NPR correspondent Robert Smith ’89 after Hurricane Katrina would be interesting fodder for a personal essay. But the journalism of Katrina proved even more personal for another alumnus. Michael Perlstein ’84 was one of 10 New Orleans Times-Picayune reporters and editors who volunteered to ride out the storm and chronicle its aftermath for a newspaper that lost most of its readers. These two retrospectives—one by an outsider looking in, the other by an insider looking out—examine how difficult it is for Americans to cope when natural and man-made disasters crack their aura of invincibility.

Two other Reedies, Rachel Altmann ’88 and Tyler Morrison ’90, have coped more anonymously (until now) with a different sort of crisis, their 2-year-old daughter Nina’s affliction with Fanconi anemia, a debilitating genetic disorder. They agreed to tell their story to raise awareness of the disease and generate support for research (, but were surprised we were interested. “Why would you want to write about our ordinary life?” Altmann asked. The answer is apparent.

Three other stories in this issue probe the unexpected. After a survey of Reed’s architectural heritage ranked some Modernist buildings nearly as high as neo-Gothic fixtures such as Eliot Hall, we commissioned former city planner Cielo Lutino ’94 to investigate. When journeyman poet Vern Rutsala ’56 was nominated for one of the nation’s highest literary honors, the National Book Award, we asked Reed visiting writer David Biespiel to explore what it‘s like to come into the limelight after decades of quiet creativity. And when self-described computer geek and former scrounger Nelson Minar ’94 emerged as a major Reed benefactor, we asked staffer Matt Kelly to search out the implications.