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1920–29

A Classic Curriculum

Reed’s early reputation as an innovator in higher education is renewed with the appointment in 1921 of its second president, Richard F. Scholz. Scholz introduces one of the first prescribed core curriculums in the country, centered around a mandatory history and literature program designed to give students a unified understanding of humankind as the basis of becoming better citizens.

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The junior qualifying exam is added in 1920 to better prepare students to write theses. Scholz places an emphasis on creating a sense of community on campus. Lasting traditions begin, including Canyon Day, which brings community members together to clean up and maintain the campus, as do ritual appearances—and “disappearances”—of a cement owl ornament known as the Doyle Owl.

Reed’s trustees, having appointed a board of regents to assist in fundraising, add a number of new buildings designed by A.E. Doyle to campus, including Anna Mann as a women’s dormitory, a dining hall, now used as the student union, and faculty houses along Woodstock Boulevard, now known as the language houses.

After Scholz’s unexpected death in 1924, a former Reed English professor, Norman F. Coleman, is appointed Reed’s third president. Under Coleman, faculty leaders exert their power sharing constitutional rights to consolidate the innovations of Scholz and Foster into an academic program devoted to education for the sake of education. This shift to a pure pursuit of the life of the mind further strengthens Reed’s growing reputation as a model of tough, iconoclastic intellectualism.

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1920s : A SLIDESHOW

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1920s