Announcing Alumni College 2015: Diversity v. Divergence in Contemporary America

*This post was written by Jim Kahan ’64.

Alumni College 2015

Diversity v. Divergence in Contemporary America: Access to Full Citizenship

Wednesday June 10 to Friday June 12

Alumni College provides a yearly opportunity for Reed alumni to convene, hear expert opinions on critical issues of the day, and discuss these issues in a conference setting. This year’s Alumni College was created with the cooperation and support of Reed’s Office of Institutional Diversity. Alumni College, along with the rest of Reunions 2015, will be open for registration in early January.

Alumni College 2015, as in previous years, will bring alumni together to share their experience and knowledge with regard to a public issue of importance. Reed faculty and expert alumni will give presentations to set the context for conferences where participants bring their own experience and knowledge to share. Together, we will advance our mutual understanding of the issue and what might be done to address it.

Introduction: Diversity, Divergence, and Jefferson’s Unalienable Rights

239 years ago, Thomas Jefferson (with a little help from his friends and a little cribbing from John Locke) wrote,[1]

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted upon Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

This is as good a starting point for what citizenship means as any; a citizen is a person who not only is guaranteed rights, but also is enfranchised to consent to be governed.

Jefferson’s vision that all are created equal does not mean that all are created the same. The history of the United States is a history of an ebb and flow in the divergence amongst its diverse inhabitants in how equal they are in their lives, their liberty, and their ability to pursue happiness—in other words, their access to the full rights of citizenship. A cursory glance at the issues that make contemporary headlines reveals this:

  • Is the right to marry and raise children limited to couples consisting of one male and one female person?
  • Americans are told that the police are present to protect and serve the community. Does this hold equally for white and black members of the community?
  • The most common way of consenting to be governed is voting. Is the onus of eligibility to vote something that the individual citizen must prove or something that the society must disprove? Does this vary in the United States by whether you are rich or poor?
  • Is education a universal right? If so, to what level of education?
  • Is health care a universal right or a market commodity?
  • How far does an individual’s freedom of religion extend to controlling others’ lives, liberties, and pursuit of happiness?

In this year’s Alumni College, we will look at the issues of diversity and divergence that challenge us today.

From 1776 to 2015

Jefferson made a significant change when he modified John Locke’s[2] triad of the rights of life, liberty, and property to replace property with the pursuit of happiness. We as a nation expanded the scope of citizenry by—gradually—removing possession of property, white race, and male gender as requirements for enfranchisement, as well as declaring that property rights did not extend to people owning other people. That said, much of the history of America from then to now may be viewed as trying to put the right to possess property back on the list of unalienable rights and separating those with property from those without.

Expansion of citizenship in the United States used to be expressed by the metaphor of the melting pot—that is, as different groups joined American society, they conformed to some notion of a common American set of values. This common core has always been a myth,[3] and an alternative metaphor has been suggested of the salad bowl—that is, each cultural contributor to American society brings its own history, traditions, and cultural values, which not only coexist but interact together in synergy to define our national culture. The diversity we will address in this Alumni College will be with regard to racial/ethnic, gender/gender identity, and socioeconomic differences among Americans. This is not to deny that other dimensions of diversity exist, but rather to make our discussion tractable within the short time that we have available.

While diversity has steadily increased over time in the United States, the divergence among different groups has waxed and waned, in close correspondence to property rights trumping individual rights to pursue happiness. A significant reduction in divergence was supposed to accompany the end of the Civil War, but Jim Crow triumphed over Reconstruction.[4] The postwar decade of the 1950s, with its economic prosperity extended to the entire nation and the unanimous Supreme Court decision declaring that “separate but equal” education was inherently unequal,[5] led to an optimistic viewpoint that the American Dream would expand to everyone. This viewpoint, too, was dashed on the rocks of political and economic reality, and today we live in a world where the economic separation between the wealthiest Americans and everybody else grows at an increasing rate, while a sharply divided Supreme Court echoes the infamous 1857 Supreme Court Dred Scott decision in declaring that property rights trump Jeffersonian equality—this time with regard to the right of the wealthy to use their (and others’) resources to impose their religious beliefs on others, sway public opinion, and determine election outcomes through the very right to vote.[6]

The Pursuit of Education and the Pursuit of Happiness

Returning to Thomas Jefferson’s declaration of the right to the pursuit of happiness, it was rapidly understood in the new United States that the pursuit of happiness required, at a minimum, access to education. No, like wealth, education has never guaranteed happiness, but happiness is easier to obtain if a person is educated. Access to primary education was guaranteed by the State of Pennsylvania by 1790 and was made compulsory by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1851. The University of North Carolina—the first public university in the country—was chartered in 1789. The story of education in the United States, like the story of enfranchisement, has been a story of expansion of access. And, given the American model of parallel strands of public and private education, the residential liberal arts college—referred to by former Reed president Steven Koblik[7] as distinctly American, has a prominent place in providing access to the pursuit of happiness. Therefore, we will in this Alumni College, address diversity and divergence not only generally in the United States, but with reference to higher education in the pursuit of happiness, including a gaze at our own Reedie navels (figuratively, of course—this isn’t Renn Fayre).

The Structure of Alumni College 2015

Our conversation for Alumni College 2015 will examine the current state of diversity and divergence for the citizens of the United States, largely on the basis of the three dimensions of racial/ethnic, gender/gender identity, and socioeconomic differences. Each dimension of diversity will be considered in a separate session of the Alumni College, with Wednesday afternoon devoted to racial/ethnic diversity, Thursday morning devoted to gender/gender identity, and Thursday afternoon devoted to socioeconomic diversity. Yes these three dimensions are correlated, but each presents unique issues for consideration.

Within each of these sessions, we will have presenters address that dimension of diversity in American society in general, in higher education in America, and at Reed College. After the presentations, attendees will split up in parallel conferences to discuss what they have heard.

On Friday morning, we will begin with parallel conferences that attempt to synthesize the common and different threads that have emerged in the previous three sessions, in an attempt to identify the strengths and weaknesses of diversity and the opportunities and threats posed by greater and lesser divergence. Following the parallel conferences, a final plenary session will view the main conclusions of the conferences to see if there are robust findings that carry over the conferences or whether the conferences themselves diverged.

The structure described above is captured in the timetable here:

Wednesday afternoon Racial and ethnic diversity
Starts Ends Modality Topic Speaker
1:30 1:45 Welcome Gen. Intro.
1:45 2:30 Presentation National level TBA
2:30 3:15 Presentation Higher educ. TBA
3:15 3:35 Break
3:35 4:00 Presentation Reed TBA
4:10 5:00 Conferences
Thursday morning Gender and gender identity diversity
9:00 9:05 Welcome Gen. Intro.
9:05 9:50 Presentation National level TBA
9:50 10:35 Presentation Higher educ. TBA
10:35 10:55 Break
10:55 11:20 Presentation Reed TBA
11:30 12:20 Conferences
Thursday afternoon Socioeconomic diversity
1:30 2:15 Presentation National level TBA
2:15 3:00 Presentation Higher educ. TBA
3:00 3:20 break
3:20 3:45 Presentation Reed TBA
3:55 4:45 Conferences
Friday morning Synthesis
9:00 10:30 Conferences
10:30 10:50 Break
10:50 12:00 Moderated discussion Comparison of conferences

[1] Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, et al., In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776. A DECLARATION by the REPRESENTATIVES of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA In GENERAL CONGRESS Assembled. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

[2] John Locke (published anonymously), The Second Treatise of Civil Government. London, privately printed, 1690. accessed 25 September 2014.

[3] See, for example, Colin Woodard, American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America. New York: Viking Press, 2011.

[4] See, for example, Leon F. Littwak, Trouble in Mind: Black Southerners in the Age of Jim Crow. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998.

[5] Supreme Court of the United States of America, Brown v. Board of Education. 347 U.S. (1954).

[6] Supreme Court of the United States of America, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. 558 U.S. (2010).

[7] Steven Koblik and Stephen R. Graubard, Distinctively American: The Residential Liberal Arts Colleges. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 2000.

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It’s Never too Early to Get Excited about Reunions 2015

Especially when Davis Rogan ’90 is headlining the musical acts.

Yes, Davis Rogan ’90, legendary New Orleans blues and jazz musician who both consulted for and inspired a character on HBO’s New Orleans-centered series Treme. Davis will be taking the Kaul Auditorium stage on Friday for a lecture and performance, and will be performing a three-hour set on Saturday night of Reunions (June 13) in the Student Union. You won’t want to miss it. Listen to selections from Davis’ records here. For any who doubt that Reed played a role in nurturing Davis’s musical talent, the 1990 student handbook, Davis wrote, “If any musicologist every wants to know where I got my loud, pounding piano style I’ll save them the trouble. I learned to play in Prexy and needed to hear myself.”

Speaking of which, Prexy has been fully (and beautifully) remodeled as the new home of Alumni Relations, and it will be featured prominently in Reunions programming. Expect to see Reunions check-in in the lobby, bonfires and sing-alongs on the back porch, and Reedies hanging out in the living room, which was redesigned by Reed’s own Kathia Emery ’67.

We’re also looking forward to Alumni College: Diversity vs. Divergence in Contemporary America. Organized by Jim Kahan ’64 and Mary James, Dean of Institutional Diversity and A.A. Knowlton Professor of Physics at Reed. This year’s college will feature Reed professors, alumni, and students discussing the importance of, and contested nature of the notion of diversity in Contemporary America.

2015 also promises the return of Fireworks, Ping-Pong Palace, and of course, Pirate Camp. See a list of all confirmed events here. So mark you calendars for Reunions 2015, June 10–14. Registration will open in early January, and those who register by January 31 may sign up for a free dorm room.

Hope to see you there!

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Reedies to march in Pride Parade

rainbow_griff_medReed is going to Portland’s Pride Parade on Sunday, June 15! We are setting up in Spot 61, Section 11—just off of NW Flanders and 8th. See maps below. Pride wants you to arrive by 10 a.m. under threat of not being able to enter the set-up area (the parade itself starts at 11 a.m., so it would be a good idea to be there by 10 anyway). To entice you to arrive early, we’ll be bringing doughnuts!


If you can, please wear a Reed shirt or some rainbow-colored item. The Reed Bookstore has generously made a select group of “REED” t-shirts available for $5 to anybody who promises to wear it to Pride (on the Honor Principle!). Also, feel free to represent Reed traditions (Dressing up as Simeon Reed? Juggling? Spinning Poi?) in whatever way you’d like. (Just remember that Portland Pride is generally a family-friendly parade, so please don’t show up in your RKSK best.) If you have a question about what you should and shouldn’t bring/do during the parade, just ask. As far as getting to the parade, parking for these things is always hard. Also, the 19 bus does not run until 10:30 a.m. on Sundays, although the 17 and the 9 run at earlier times. We will have two vans to pick up marchers from the Foster/Scholz parking lot at 9:30 a.m. If you are interested in providing a ride for, or hitching a ride with, other Reedies, let me know and I will try to coordinate rides. You’re welcome to bring your non-Reedie friends, significant others, etc. Anybody who is willing to march on behalf of Reed is welcome! I’m also attaching an info sheet “REED at Pride“—easily printable and cut into quarters—that you can feel free to leave out for your housemates/roommates, if you’d like. And if you want any of our rainbow “Love Reed” buttons, as always, just ask. If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know! Love Reed. —Rob Shryock ’13 Alumni & Parent Relations Staff Assistant Resources: Pride route map Pride set-up map Reed-specific Pride info page

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Strategic-planning report summaries

The Quest ran a terrific piece on the findings by all strategic-planning work groups; the students involved in each group submitted the following summaries, and we are pleased to share them with you. If reading the full reports is a daunting task, enjoy these cogent recaps!

Strategic Planning Working Group Report Summaries
April 25, 2014 (originally printed in the Quest)

Over the last academic year, student representatives have collaborated with members of the staff and faculty on working groups as a part of the College’s Strategic Planning process. Each working group was presented with a specific charge as well as a series of cross-cutting themes to consider throughout their work. On April 15, 2014, each working group submitted a final report that outlined some strategic suggestions and observations about the current status of the Reed. These summaries, authored by the students on the working groups, briefly discuss their findings of the Strategic Planning process. The final reports of many of the working groups will be available to the Reed Community sometime later this month. Many of the recommendations of the working groups will be discussed at a retreat this summer, but movement upon strategic decisions will be enacted through their traditional modes of mobilization (e.g. CAPP, CAC/Faculty Initiative, Senate Initiative, etc.).   

—Danielle Juncal ‘15, student-body president


Student representatives: Archit Guha ’14, Julia Selker ‘15

What is foundational to a Reed curriculum? Is it just Hum? Is it group requirements? Is it all first year classes. These were some puzzling definitional questions was confronted with from the moment we convened. For our purposes, we decided that Hum 110 and the group requirement structure did, in fact, serve as a foundation to all Reedies’ educations. While the proceedings of our group have been especially contentious because of strong faculty interest, we have been able to make suggestions to streamline the Introductory Science courses, so as to offer a wider array of courses, in order to encourage students to fulfill these requirements on campus. In addition, we have moved toward reconsidering the rationale of Group D, and the viability of standalone quantitative and foreign language requirements (don’t worry — that’s not happening anytime soon). Suffice it to say, all that is holy to Reed’s foundations remains largely the same, but on our part, we have tried to ensure that students are more interested in taking classes that they are just fulfilling requirements with.


Student representatives: Kasra Shokat ’14, Elizabeth Pekarskaya ‘15

Group B organized its recommendations around five main “vision points” that conceptualize the role of the intermediate and advanced curriculum in the future mission of the College:

1. Fostering Faculty-Guided Pedagogical Goals – Recommendations address improvements in: advising technologies/practices, communication between faculty and CIS/Admissions/Registrar, and dispersal of information regarding Reed’s grading policy to new faculty, other schools/employers.

2. Promoting and Supporting the Senior Thesis Capstone – Recommendations: Address imbalances in faculty thesis loads across departments, provide academic staffing support needed to enable students to have successful thesis experiences, and improve available technology that can be integrated into theses.

3. Encouraging Liberal Arts Breadth and Depth in the Major – Recommendations: Strengthen and elaborate on advising protocols to signal multiple curricular pathways for majors, develop and support targeted and structured minors complementary to major programs, actively market Reed’s unique balance of breadth and depth via the rejection of a dichotomy of academic v. practical skills.

4.  Expanding Curricular Diversity to Enhance Students’ Major and Thesis Experience – Recommendations: Hire faculty that specialize in non-Western areas of study, hire strategically for curriculum expansion and inter-disciplinarity, increase upper-level course offerings, make it easier for students to study abroad, hire staff specifically to support the above goals.

5. Encouraging Rigorous Upper-Division Interdisciplinarity to Strengthen the Major.  – Recommendations: Rethink disciplinarity beyond departments and cultivate links among faculty, expand opportunities for cross-department/division interactions, provide structural ways fro courses to serve multiple departments’ courses and major programs, and strengthen academic advising and faculty support to guide students to multiple curricular pathways.


Student representatives: Jessica Camhi ’14, Andrew Watson ‘14

Strategic Planning Group C, The Arts at Reed spent our time assessing the current practice and developing a future vision for the arts (including Art, Dance, Theatre, Music and Creative Writing).  In order for the arts to be fully integrated into Reed’s philosophy of “life of the mind,” we propose several measures: allow studio/“applied” courses to fulfill Group A, create a clearer crediting system for such courses, create an independent Dance major, and invite local artists to teach academic classes in their areas of specialty. Bringing studio classes into Group A, as well as creating an understandable crediting system, will allow more students to take arts classes, and perhaps earlier in their Reed careers, without worrying about graduating on time. A stand-alone Dance major is long overdue, as Dance is now widely recognized as a rigorous academic discipline. Learning from visiting artists will allow us to practice a broader range of artistic mediums as well as interact with the greater community. The overall intention of our goals is to bring the arts at Reed to a level at which its resources and accreditation make it a respectful and essential component of the Reed education.


Student representatives: Dean Schmeltz ’14, Elisa Cibils ‘15

Working Group E discussed Reed’s Summer and January Term, and made recommendations about the following subjects: a bridge program, summer courses, Paideia, internships, and study-abroad. BRIDGE PROGRAM: Rather than a summer program for incoming students, establish a remedial program open to any student during winter break. Students who struggle in their first semester would be encouraged to attend, but an overlap with Paideia should reduce stigma. SUMMER COURSES: Rather than offering introductory courses for credit, set up a range of alternative course options for current students and others, including high school students. Science faculty overwhelmingly reported that official summer courses would take away valuable research time, as well as time needed to mentor students who already conduct summer research. PAIDEIA: Continue with the improvements already in process. Add more academic and skills-oriented offerings (perhaps with incentives for faculty and staff), in conjunction with bridge program. INTERNSHIPS: We recommend a more centralized administration, more prominent presentation of these experiences (e.g. a no-class poster-session day), and making service/employment a regular part of student advising to reinforce that the institution supports these activities. STUDY-ABROAD: Through funding and administrative support, make it possible for more faculty to add travel components to their semester courses that would take place during either summer or winter breaks.


Student representatives: Ari Galper ’14, Evvy Archibald ‘16

The Strategic Planning Working Group F: Community Governance and Academic Administrative Structure was charged with assessing the functioning of all levels of community governance. Accomplishing this charge involved looking at the ways in which the various community documents delegate governance and administrative responsibility across the college, and interrogating the gaps between what the documents call for, what the community thinks it put into practice, and what is actually put into practice. In the process of mining the community documents and receiving input from the various campus constituencies, a number institutional principles of governance emerged. One of these is the belief that each community member should be able to—and, to an extent, is expected to—participate in their respective sphere of governance. (Other principles included self-governance, diversity, and bounded student autonomy). One gap related to the principle of involvement and participation is that staff members have no formalized involvement in the legislative process. Another issue related to involvement is that relatively few people within carry the burden of the majority of community governance within their respective spheres. This is true of both faculty and students. A difficult question that we confronted was how leadership positions can be structured such that the largest possible diversity of people is able participate in governance, while at the same time enabling consistency and the maintenance institutional knowledge. Among the working group’s recommendations are that the Agenda Committee be reconvened and that the faculty consider the option of creating the position of Associate Dean of the Faculty.


Student representatives: Shruti Korada ’14, Ben Morris ‘15

The Research and Teaching working group (RTWG) concluded with 5 major recommendations concerning both with faculty and student scholarship. Three of these recommendations concerned faculty research: (1) to clarify the expectations for junior and senior faculty to be researching and publishing (2) to provide support for teaching and scholarship that recognizes the differing needs of different types of teacher-scholars (e.g. funding experimental laboratories or foreign travel), (3) to reduce committee work to allow faculty engage more with teaching and scholarship. Two of these recommendations concerned student scholarship: (4) to create a campus-wide post-bac program for students to develop ideas that have arisen through the senior thesis project or in earlier research projects with a faculty member, and (5) to increase funding for student travel to conferences. The proposed post-bac program would enable collaborative research between faculty and graduating seniors, with funding split between fellowships lasting either 2 months or 1 year after graduation to allow some flexibility in the role of a post-bac. The recommendation to increase funding for student travel to conferences, for students who will not be presenting work, was based on demonstrated interest as heard through student interviews and discussions of funding requests.  The RTWG also suggested that (1) junior faculty and faculty for whom external funding is difficult to obtain be able to utilize year-long sabbaticals, (2) increasing funding for faculty and student research in departments that have unmet needs, and (3) working to better publicize the scholarly achievements of Reed faculty within and outside the community.


Student representatives: Ari Galper ’14, Danielle Juncal ’15, Bryan Kim ‘14

The Student Success working group (SSWG) concluded with three strategic suggestions: to implement a January term Bridge program, to enhance the academic advising experience, and to increase emphasis on helping students launch after Reed. Defining what “success” meant took up most of Fall Semester’s work, but we finally concluded that success was ultimately defined by each individual student but generally related to our community’s commitment to living honorable lives, inside and outside of the classroom. For the bridge program, the SSWG recommended that the program occur over Winter Break with follow-up during the Spring semester. This program would be targeted toward but not limited to students who struggled academically during their first semester at Reed. For academic advising, the SSWG wanted to raise the bar and make sure that advising was held to a consistent standard in which advisers acted as a switchboard for on-campus resources, a mentor to students, and (of course) a guidebook to academic requirements for graduation. Lastly, the SSWG wanted to put more focus on helping students see the instrumental value of a Reed education when launching into the job market alongside intrinsic “learning for learning’s sake” side of one’s time at Reed. Each of these parts are important, but in order for the former to succeed, the Center for Life Beyond Reed needs more funding and staffing to accommodate the diverse post-graduation needs of the student body.


Student representatives: John Iselin ’14, Rennie Meyers ‘15

Working group K  – the Long-Term Financial Health of the College Group – focused primarily on determining how to model the next decade of the college’s finances. This means that if you read our report, you will be presented with information concerning how the committee anticipates the college will fare financially over the next ten years in a range of scenarios.  This effort is supposed to provide assistance to the other working groups and college officials who are making decisions regarding what changes should be made over the next few decades. In essence, it is important to know if the college can afford to build a bunch of new buildings, or hire 20 new faculty, or start accepting a whole lot more aided students.

Our basic conclusion was that the college is financially stable and not at major risk of collapse barring any major shocks. Our major financial flows – net tuition, endowment income, and personnel expenses – are to differing degrees volatile, and we spent the majority of our report determining sources of risk.  We model the variations in tuition and employee compensation, changes to financial aid, growth in college size, shocks to the endowment in terms of returns and gifts, and we create a worse-case scenario, where these shocks all happen at once. The result is that Reed is financially strong, but still vulnerable enough to shocks as to require financial caution. In considering our report, please keep in mind the long term investments the school should make by looking at the infrastructure and maintenance going on on Reed’s campus every day.

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A broad array of beats at Reedfayre ’14

folk-trio-reu13Sing along, dance along, or sit back and enjoy. Whatever your preference, Reunions ’14: Reedfayre, June 4-8, offers a enticing panoply of wonderful music.

Rob Fishel ’03 on show-tunes piano:
If you like to sing aloud to show tunes and popular standards, then Thursday night is for you. Rob Fishel ’03 will be at the piano and will play songs for you to sing with on Thursday night, starting at 9 p.m. in the Performing Arts Building. Whether you like to belt out “Oklahoma,” “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” or one of the many songs penned by Johnny Mercer, this is the place to do it! Rob is taking requests, so respond to this email with a song you would like to sing.

In honor of Pete Seeger:
“This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.” Those were the words than encircled the head of Pete Seeger’s famous banjo. And while he passed away earlier this year, his message endures. From storytelling sessions by Cricket Parmalee ’71 about Pete’s concerts at Reed to Dr. Demento’s talks on Seeger’s influences to a hootenanny in Seeger’s honor, we are pleased to offer programming in which we share words, songs, and memories of this remarkable American.

Lauren Sheehan ’81 and friends. This local songster is back in town following an East Coast tour, and she will again share her versatile talents by leading the Seeger hootenanny on Friday and performing at the Saturday carnival as well as over dinner on Saturday. As in past performances, she will assemble a some talented friends to accompany her.

Kyle Alden Thayer ’80:
Kyle Alden Thayer ’80 returns to Reed and is joined by local favorite Kathryn Claire for three performances featuring folk songs played on guitars, fiddle, mandolin and harmony vocals. They will entertain us over dinner in the quad on Friday evening. They will anchor the stage on Saturday afternoon at the carnival. And they will close out Reedfayre with a Sunday brunch performance in the Commons Café.

Stop Making Sense & ’80s Dance Parties:
Keeping it real by keeping it retro. Friday night will conclude with an ’80s dance party as we spin the tunes that came in by request over the past few months.

And back by popular demand, Reedies cannot get enough of the Talking Heads classic, Stop Making Sense. We’ll once again pack the SU and crank up the volume as we see David Byrne and his motley crew on the big screen to close out Saturday night.

Sportin’ Lifers:
Erin Wallace ’96 and Whit Draper ’87 gig around town with a group of talented musicians known as the Sportin’ Lifers. Whether you want to sit back and listen or get up and dance to the jazzy, bluesy interpretations of popular standards, you’ll dig the vibe on Saturday evening.

Big Daddy Thaddy & the Sugar Dick Daddies:
As if you didn’t know that the current crop of Reed students have talent, you can see and hear it in person as Jack Johnson ’15 and Omar Hashani ’16 team up with some friends and play classic electric-blues tunes. Expect to hear some Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, and more, as you groove to the harmonica wizardry of the inimitable Big Daddy Thaddy on Saturday.

Russian Duo:
Terry Boyarsky ’70 and Oleg Kruglyakov charmed those who saw their piano and balalaika concert during our centennial Reunions, and we are delighted to welcome back Russian Duo on Saturday night.

Photo of Lost Creek at Reunions ’13 by Leah Nash

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Feast on a food symposium at Reedfayre ’14


photo by Leah Nash

Foodies of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your waistline!

Everyone knows that Portland has grown into nationally recognized hub of food activity, from its top-rated restaurants, food trucks, and bakeries to nearby vineyards and breweries. What’s less known is the role that Reed graduates have played in the food world, not only helping shape Portland into the food town it is today but in efforts nationally, even globally. Although they share a common origin at Reed, these alumni forged their own paths—as restauranteurs, food writers, sustainability advocates, geneticists, farmers, brewers, wine makers, and more. We’ll gather many of them for a series of panels and talks over three days and explore their motivations, interests, and role in the food world. Considering the multitude of perspectives they bring to the table, this will truly be an intellectual feast at Reunions ’14: Reedfayre, June 4-8.

–Sam Fromartz ’80, editor-in-chief of the non-profit Food & Environment Reporting Network


Thursday, June 5, 5 p.m.
Pamela Ronald ’82, “Organic Farming, Genetics, & the Future of Food”
Vollum Lecture Hall
Pam Ronald ’82 is a prominent plant geneticist and a professor at U.C. Davis, who recently engaged in a debate with Michael Pollan that was featured in the New Yorker. Moderated by Sam Fromartz ’80, the organizer of our food-themed track, this promises to be an informative and thought-provoking opening session.

Friday, June 6, 3 p.m.
Mark Powell ’79 “Discovering Sustainability in a Chinese Fish Farm”
Performing Arts Building, Room 320
Mark’s journey of discovery began with western sustainability standards that were a poor fit to traditional Chinese fish farms growing fish, mulberry, and silk in connected cycles. Growing carp on small farms in China is the largest and perhaps most sustainable fish industry in the world and a lesson for the West. Mark has been a conservationist for 20 years working for Ocean Conservancy and WWF International.

Saturday, June 7, 9 a.m.
Sam Fromartz ’80, “In Search of the Perfect Loaf”
Eliot Hall 314
If you are into bread, this talk is for you. Sam will deliver a talk in advance of his new book In Search of the Perfect Loaf (due out in the fall) that will rise to the occasion. He trekked from California to Berlin to Southern France and places in between in this quest (he wasn’t loafing!). See if Sam succeeded. When he is not baking bread, Sam is the editor-in-chief of the non-profit Food & Environment Reporting Network. He will be introduced by John Sheehy ’82.


photo by Leah Nash


Friday, June 6, 10:30 a.m.
Panel Discussion “Back to the Land and Sea and to Market”
Performing Arts Building, Room 320
Our esteemed panelists will discuss their entry into farming, broad issues of sustainability, and locality. Panelists include Jon Rowley ’69 (who first marketed Copper River Salmon, is an expert on oysters, and is a James Beard-award winner) and Amelia Hard ’67, who is the driving force behind the James Beard Public Market. Claire Cummings, waste specialist at Bon Appetit, will serve as the moderator.

Friday, June 6, 1:30 p.m.
Panel Discussion “Delicious Words: Writing about Food”
Performing Arts Building, Room 320
The writing about what we eat is also an art, and we have assembled a top-flight group of writers to talk about their craft and how they cover the issues involved in food writing. Panelists include Molly Watson ’92, food writer; Michelle Nijhuis ’96, environmental writer; and Sam Fromartz ’80, the editor-in-chief of the non-profit Food & Environment Reporting Network. Professor of English and local food critic Roger Porter will serve as the moderator.

Saturday, June 7, 10:30 a.m.
Panel Discussion “Feeding a Passion: Owning and Operating a Restaurant”
Gray Campus Center, BCD
Operating a restaurant is no small undertaking, and perhaps that is why so many Reed alumni have launched restaurants around the country. Alumni who own and operate eating establishments will gather and discuss what it is about restaurants that appeals to them and how they approach the dynamic challenges in this industry: Kurt Huffman ’93 (founder, ChefsTable restaurant group) and Karen Leibowitz ’99 (Mission Chinese in San Francisco). Professor of English Roger Porter will serve as the moderator.

Saturday, June 7, 12:30 p.m.
Panel Discussion “Oregon Before the Grapes”
Gray Campus Center, BCD
Susan Sokol Blosser ’67 MAT will join forces with Sebastian Pastore ’88 (former VP at Widmer) and Tom Burkleaux ’92 (New Deal Distillery) in a moderated discussion on why this area seems to be particularly ripe in the growth and development of their respective beverage industry. And why are so many Reedies drawn to these areas? Oregonian beverage writer John Foyston will pour questions to the panel.

Saturday, June 7, 2-4 p.m.
Performing Arts Building
To wrap up our food symposium, more than 20 Reed alumni are sharing their culinary creations along with a host of other alumni who are showcasing their crafts–all of this will take place in Reed’s new Performing Arts Building. Note: There is a $15 charge to attend this event (register online).

Marketplace admission also gets you exclusive access to the Meat-Smoke Tent on Saturday, and everyone who buys a Marketplace ticket gets a Reed College tote bag and a coupon entitling them to $5 off a clothing purchase at the bookstore.

Please note: Although minors are allowed in Marketplace, samples of alcohol will be present. Those who plan on partaking of said alcohol who appear to be under 30 must present a photo ID at the door to receive an over-21 wristband. Those without a photo ID will still be granted admittance, but will not be allowed to purchase or drink samples of alcohol.

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Colorful commentary to celebrate 250 years of service

sunflare-reu-fanfayre13Start off the weekend of Reunions ’14: Reedfayre with a special drink, a toast, and some tunes. We hope that Cerf Amphitheatre will be filled with well-wishers as we honor an impressive group of retiring faculty and staff members along with this year’s recipients of the Jean L Babson Award.

Some highlights:

Yoram Bauman ’95 will serve as our emcee. He bills himself as the world’s first and only stand up economist, and he will supply colorful commentary commensurate with the audience’s marginal propensity to consume his jokes. Come for the punch, stay for the punchlines.

The group of alumni who have faithfully fed Renn Fayre revelers with tasty smoked turkeys, pigs, and salmon for more than 30 years will be honored with the Jean L. Babson Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service. The membership of the Reed Meat-Smoke Crew has changed (a bit) over the years, but the team has gathered in sun and in rain to dig pits, cut wood, and prepare the meal that is the Renn Fayre feast.

program-reu-fanfayre13Robert Palladino will be named an honorary alumnus of Reed College. From 1969 to 1984, he kept the art of hand lettering alive at Reed, and in the years in between, he has be a regular guest at calligraphy events. With the return of calligraphy to Reed through the calligraphy initiative, it is appropriate that the alumni association bestow this honor on Robert and thank him for his dedicated service.

And after 41 years of stewarding the college’s finances, Ed McFarlane will also be named an honorary alumnus. He was instrumental in helping the college navigate through tough times and today this strong, heathy institution owes him a huge debt of gratitude and thanks.

Five faculty members are retiring this year, and we will honor their years of dedicated service to Reed. We’ll raise a glass and sing a song in honor of Kathleen Worley (30+ years), Ron McClard (30 years), Rao Potluri (40 years), and Joe Roberts (62 years).

Join us as we honor these remarkable people and the imprint they have left on Reed College.


Pre-Fanfayre hosted reception, 4 p.m.
Fanfayre Friday kicks off with a reception back at Camp Reed, aka Cerf Ampitheatre. Sip on the signature cocktail of Plato’s Punch (mocktails available as well), enjoy the music of Lauren Sheehan ’81, catch up with old friends. Followed by Fanfayre at 4:30 p.m.

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More stuff cooking for Marketplace

ReuMarketplace13_wineWe’ll be celebrating cooking, brewing, and crafting at Reedfayre! On Saturday, June 7, 2–4 p.m., no fewer than 18 different Reed artisans will descend on the Performing Arts Building to sample and sell their wares for “Marketplace.” The most recent addition to the lineup is Tom Burkleaux ’92, who will be bringing spirits from his small-batch distillery, New Deal. See a full list of vendors.

Marketplace admission also gets you exclusive access to Meat Smoke Tent on Saturday, and everyone who buys a Marketplace ticket gets a Reed College tote bag and a coupon entitling them to $5 off a clothing purchase at the bookstore. Purchase your Marketplace ticket when you register online or by calling 503/777-7589.

ReuMarketplace13_sauceEven if you don’t buy a Marketplace ticket, you can browse the vendors in the “Crafty Emporium” at no cost: yarn, unique lipstick, jewelry, and letterpress, all made by Reedies, will be on display and for sale on the second floor of the Performing Arts Building.

In addition to Marketplace, we’re also holding a series of talks and food panels, featuring Reed chefs, food writers, vintners, farmers, and sustainability experts. Topics will include the Portland food scene, food writing, sustainability, and GMOs.

Please note: Although minors are allowed in Marketplace, samples of alcohol will be present. Those who plan on partaking of said alcohol who appear to be under 30 must present a photo ID at the door to receive an over-21 wristband. Those without a photo ID will still be granted admittance, but will not be allowed to purchase or drink samples of alcohol.


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Is calligraphy at Reed dead?

callig_signs_medNo, it’s not! Because if you register for Reunions ’14: Reedfayre, June 4-8, by May 15, you’ll get a hand-lettered nametag waiting for you when you arrive. Time is running out, so make sure you register today!

Speaking of Reed traditions, on Friday, June 6 at 1 p.m., President John R. Kroger will give his second “Mafia Hitmen I Have Known” lecture, in which he shares stories from his time as a prosecutor. Also, Peter Steinberger, Robert H. & Blanche Day Ellis Professor of Political Science & Humanities, will be giving a public lecture from 7:30–8:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 5. Steinberger’s recent The Problem With God: Why Atheists, True Believers, and Even Agnostics Must All Be Wrong challenges dogmatic assumptions of all types and asks us to question the very terms of the “God debate.” Check out the full schedule.

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Ping-Pong Palace at Reedfayre ’14

love-reed-petalsFrom petals to paddles, we’ve got you covered for playful ways to enjoy Reunions ’14: Reedfayre, June 4-8!

Kaul Auditorium will be converted into the “Ping-Pong Palace” on the Saturday night of Reunions. We’ve procured no fewer than 12 ping-pong tables, plus Air Hockey, Jenga, and Skee Ball for good measure. And did we mention there will be a blacklight? So start practicing now and make sure you carve out some time for games that night, whether you’re getting energized for the talent show, or filling the odd hour between fireworks and the Stop Making Sense dance party.

Register online today. Check out who’s coming.

Still need a nudge to return to campus for the fun? Let us spell it out for you in fallen cherry-blossom petals!

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