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1970–79

Polyester and Prudent Investment

In spring 1970, finals at Reed are cancelled after unarmed college students at Kent State University are killed while protesting the U.S. invasion of Cambodia. As part of a series of campus visits across the country, officials from the U.S. Department of Justice request to meet informally with students at Reed to discuss law enforcement, civil rights, and the environment; students picket the event. Enrollment tapers off to an average of 1,200 students, and Reed’s residence halls become coed.

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The college’s financial resources are greatly challenged. Looking for a leader to navigate Reed out of the financial doldrums into which it has drifted, the faculty-trustee search committee appoints Paul E. Bragdon as president in 1971. Under President Bragdon and his two board chairs, John Gray and Richard Wollenberg, Reed’s financial resources begin to grow. Annual giving triples to $2.4 million in four years, and frugality gives way to prudent investment in academic expansion, enriched student life, and structural maintenance.

Steve Jobs attends Reed, auditing a calligraphy course with Robert Palladino, a part-time instructor who has taken over for his predecessor and teacher, Lloyd Reynolds, which Jobs later states influenced the development of the typefaces used on the Macintosh computer. Advanced linguistics is offered. A group of students, including Lee Blessing and Eric Overmyer, find inspiration in the community of students and faculty members creating theatre at Reed. A new theatre building is constructed along Botsford Drive, putting an end to the difficulties of producing plays in the student union and the commons dining hall.

Reed joins Portland’s community gardens program and provides 80 plots north of the canyon for neighborhood use in 1975, a program which continues for 30 years.

The studio art building is constructed at the eastern edge of campus, and Collegium Musicum, Reed’s voice and instrument ensemble founded in the late fifties, builds an enthusiastic audience for its performances of Renaissance and medieval music.

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1970s : A SLIDESHOW

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1970s