Reed College installs first female President
On October 4, Reed College named Audrey Bilger, MA, PhD, the college's 16th President. She is the first woman selected for the post, replacing acting President Hugh Porter, who was chosen after former President John Kroger stepped down in 2018.
Bilger, who received her degrees from the University of Virginia and Oklahoma State University, is a prolific author of scholarly feminist books and other pieces, as well as various items for the popular press. She joins the campus from Pomona College, where she served as Vice President for academic affairs, Dean of the College, and Professor of English.
Presidential Search Committee Chair Alex Martinez told THE BEE, "Among the qualifications she exhibits is a deep understanding of the importance of diversity and inclusion as essential tenets of a 21st Century education. Her advocacy for issues such as marriage equality, and her contributions beyond academia make [her] the right person to lead Reed College at this time."
Bilger stated, "I have a profound respect for Reed's intellectual traditions, and I share the values expressed in Reed's mission. Reed is doing something . . . rare in higher education today. It will be a privilege and delight to champion this community of scholars, and to serve as President of an institution engaged in such critical work."
Earl Blumenauer, U.S. Representative from Oregon's Third Congressional District, helped welcome Bilger on the Great Lawn on Woodstock Boulevard, under a tent during a particularly heavy early autumn downpour. "This is a special occasion for all of us," he said. "Your campus is an anchor in our Southeast Portland Community." He then presented to Bilger a ceremonial Portland bicycle.
David Oxtoby, president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and immediate Past President of Pomona College, was present as well, and commented, "She has demonstrated her insightful leadership, her commitment to the liberal arts, and her dedication to the power of ideas. I have great confidence in her ability to be a terrific President for Reed College."
The inauguration was accompanied by music and a poetry reading, and was followed by a reception and dinner at Reed's Quad.
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