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Decade

1930–39

Building Communities

The completion of the Eric V. Hauser Memorial Library in 1930 marks the beginning of the period of the Great Depression. College enrollments across the country increase thanks to New Deal work-study funding, and Reed’s enrollment grows from roughly 350 students in the late twenties to more than 500 students by 1940. The majority of new students are so-called “day-dodgers,” who save money by commuting to campus by bus and trolley from homes in Portland.

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Reed’s fourth president, New Deal economist Dexter Keezer, is appointed in 1934, and seeks to reform what he views as an over-intellectualized campus. Athletics, especially skiing and even football for a short period, are promoted to provide balance in student life and to foster school spirit. The dormitories in Old Dorm Block are renamed, largely to reflect the families who helped found and build the college. Students are recruited from outside the Northwest in an effort to reinstate the college’s residential character.

Keezer encounters at Reed an entrenched faculty government accustomed to directing every aspect of academic policy. Curricular innovations are resisted, with the exception of expanded offerings in music, drama, and the fine arts.

With the aid of the National Youth Administration, the Barry Cerf Memorial Theatre and Garden Area is constructed on the southwest corner of Reed Lake, providing a campus amphitheatre for performances and lectures, as well as a longtime home for commencement ceremonies.

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1930s : A SLIDESHOW

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1930s