Reed College Notable Alumni

Last Updated on December 13, 2022 by

This page lists prominent, famous, and notable alumni of Reed College, an American institution of liberal arts and sciences, located in Oregon’s most populous city, Portland, along with their past and present positions. In addition to famous Reed College graduates, it also includes some famous Reedies who did not graduate.

Julia Adams – sociologist; professor, Yale University
Jon Appleton, 1961 – composer; Arthur R. Virgin Professor of Music at Dartmouth College, Visiting Professor of Music at Stanford University
Louis T. Benezet, 1939 – President, Colorado College
Sacvan Bercovitch (did not graduate) – Professor of American Literature, Harvard University
Charles Bigelow, 1967 – Professor of Type Design and Writing, Rochester Institute of Technology
Jonathan Boyarin, 1977 – Mann Professor of Modern Jewish Studies; Professor of Anthropology, Cornell University
Robert Brenner, 1964 – Professor of History, UCLA
Joan Bresnan, 1966 – Professor of Linguistics, Stanford University
Robert A. Brightman, 1973 – Greenberg Professor of Native American Studies, Reed College
Peter Child, 1975 – composer, professor of music at MIT
Jessica Coon, 2004 – Linguistics Professor at McGill University
Galen Cranz, 1966 – Professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley[1]
Ann Cvetkovich, 1980 – Associate Professor of English at University of Texas, Austin; author of several books, including An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures
Shannon Lee Dawdy, 1988 – Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Chicago
Kai T. Erikson, 1953 – President, American Sociological Association and Professor at Yale University
Elizabeth Warnock Fernea, 1950 – anthropologist
Janet Fitch, 1978 – Professor of Professional Writing, University of Southern California
Neil Fligstein, 1973 – Professor of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley
David H. French, 1939 – anthropologist and linguist
Victor Friedman, 1970 – Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Balkan and Slavic Linguistics, University of Chicago
David Grusky, 1980 – Barbara Kimball Browning Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University
Peter Gordon, 1988 – Professor of History, Harvard University
Ted Robert Gurr, 1957 – Professor of Political Science, Northwestern University
Loyd Haberly, 1919 – Dean, Fairleigh Dickinson University
Peter Dobkin Hall, 1968 – Hauser Lecturer on nonprofit organizations, Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
Carol Heimer, 1973 – Professor of Sociology, Northwestern University
David Hoggan, 1945 – controversial historian
Dell Hymes, 1950 – anthropologist and linguist
Maurice Isserman, 1973 – Professor of History, Hamilton College
Lewis Webster Jones, 1921 – President of Rutgers University
Don Kates, 1962 – criminologist
Gail M. Kelly, 1955 – anthropologist
Wallace T. MacCaffrey, 1942 – scholar of Elizabethan England; chaired the Harvard University history department twice
Brendan McConville, 1987 – Professor of History at Boston University
William D. McElroy, 1939 – Chancellor, University of California, San Diego and former Director, National Science Foundation
Dennis B. McGilvray, 1965 – Professor of Anthropology, University of Colorado
Lisa Nakamura, 1987 – Professor at the Institute of Communication Research and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Kaori O’Connor, 1968 – Senior Research Fellow, University of London
Christopher Phelps, 1988 – Professor of History, University of Nottingham
Ray Raphael, 1965 – historian
Diane Silvers Ravitch (did not graduate) – Professor of History, New York University; Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Barbara Reskin (did not graduate) – Professor of Sociology, University of Washington
Lawrence Rinder, 1983 – Dean of Graduate Studies at the California College of the Arts; former Curator of Contemporary Art at the Whitney Museum
Stephen Shapin, 1966 – historian and sociologist of science at Harvard University; taught at the University of Edinburgh and the University of California, San Diego
Robert E. Slavin, 1972 – Director of the Center for Research and Reform in Education, Johns Hopkins; cooperative learning, project Success for All
George Steinmetz (academic), 1980 – Professor of Sociology, University of Michigan
Robert K. Thomas (did not graduate) – Academic Vice President, Brigham Young University
Katherine Verdery, 1970 – Julien J. Studley Faculty Scholar and Distinguished Professor, Anthropology Program, City University of New York Graduate Center[2]
Jon Westling, 1964 – President Emeritus and Professor of History at Boston University
Richard Wolin, 1974 – Professor at City University of New York Graduate Center
Arts and entertainment
Jacob Avshalomov, 1941 – composer
Kip Berman, 2002 – songwriter and vocalist for The Pains of Being Pure at Heart[3]
Jody Bleyle, 1992 – singer, songwriter, musician[4]
Xenia Cage, 1935, artist and musician[5][6]
Jennifer Camper, 1979, cartoonist
Peter Child, 1975 – composer, professor of music at MIT
Ry Cooder, 1971 – singer, songwriter; attended Reed for one semester
Robert Cornthwaite, 1939 – actor
Lamar Crowson, 1948 – pianist
Dr. Demento, born Barret Hansen, 1963 – radio personality
Pozzi Escot, 1956 – composer
Johanna Fateman (did not graduate) – musician
Simone Forti (did not graduate) – choreographer
Rob Heinsoo, 1987 – game designer
Hope Lange (did not graduate) – actress
Jayne Loader, 1973 – writer and director; produced and co-directed The Atomic Cafe
Peter Mars, 1982 – artist[7]
Robert Morris, 1953 (attended two years) – sculptor
Bill Morrison, 1985, filmmaker, Guggenheim fellow
Charles Munch, 1968 – painter
Daria O’Neill, 1993 – Portland radio and TV personality
Eric Overmyer, 1973 – screenwriter, producer, playwright
David Reed, 1968 – artist
Lawrence Rinder, 1983 – Director of the Berkeley Art Museum
Brian Rolland (did not graduate) – musician
Leo Rubinfien, 1974 – photographer
Susan Silas, 1975[8] – artist
Pat Silver-Lasky 1949– screenwriter and actress
Morgan Spector, 2002 – actor
Kim Spencer, 1970 – television producer
David Henry Sterry, 1978 – author, actor/comic
Igor Vamos, 1990 – contemporary artist, member of The Yes Men
Anne Washburn, 1991 – playwright (Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play)
Emilio Pucci, 1937 – fashion designer; member of the Italian Parliament
Bill Naito, 1949 – Portland businessman, developer, and civic leader
Dan Greenberg, 1962 – CEO of Electro Rent
Dan Drake, 1964 – co-founder of Autodesk
Miriam Sontz, 1973 – CEO of Powell’s Books, the world’s largest independent bookstore.
Robert Friedland, 1974 – businessman and CEO of Ivanhoe Mines
Suzan DelBene, 1983 – CEO of Nimble Technology and Vice President at Microsoft
Elly Blue, 2005 – co-owner of Microcosm Publishing
Michael Richardson, 2007 – co-founder of Urban Airship.
Dorothy Brady, 1925 – Professor of Economics, University of Pennsylvania
Robert A. Brady, 1923 – Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley
Rose Friedman, 1930 – author; wife of Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman; economist in her own right; left in 1930 after her sophomore year[9]
Mason Gaffney, 1948 – economist and critic of neoclassical economics
John Krutilla, 1949, economist who developed concept of existence value

Walter Berns (with First Lady Laura Bush and President George W. Bush) receiving the National Humanities Medal
Kalman J. Cohen, 1951 – Professor of Economics, Duke University
Dale W. Jorgenson, 1955 – economist, professor at Harvard University, past president of the AEA and the Econometric Society
Michael Rothschild, 1963 – economist, Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University
Nicolaus Tideman, 1965 – economist
Yoram Bauman, 1995 – economist and stand-up comedian
Ross Starr (did not graduate) – Professor of Economics, University of California, San Diego
Walter Berns (did not graduate) – Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
Food and Drink
James Beard, expelled 1922/23; honorary degree 1976 – chef and cookbook author
Mark Bitterman, 1995 – food writer and author
Steven Raichlen, 1975 – television chef, author
Kate Christensen, 1986 – food writer and author
Susan Sokol Blosser, 1967 – founder of Sokol Blosser Winery[10]
Sean Thackrey (did not graduate) – winemaker

Suzan DelBene

Richard L. Hanna
Josiah H. Beeman V, 1958 – United States Ambassador to New Zealand
Bud Clark (did not graduate) – Mayor of Portland
Richard Danzig, 1965 – 71st Secretary of the Navy
Suzan DelBene, 1983 – United States Representative from Washington state (D)
Chris Garrett, 1996 – member of the Oregon Legislature
Richard L. Hanna, 1973 – United States Representative from New York (R)
Cordelia Hood, 1936 – Office of Strategic Services and CIA agent
Sheldon T. Mills, 1927 – Former United States Ambassador to Afghanistan
J. Elizabeth Mitchell, 1991 – member of the Maine Legislature
Norman Solomon (did not graduate) – candidate for the United States House of Representatives
Howard Wolpe, 1960 – Congressman (D-Michigan)
Hans A. Linde, 1947 – Justice, Oregon Supreme Court
Berkeley Lent, 1948 – Chief Justice, Oregon Supreme Court
George M. Joseph, 1951 – Chief Judge, Oregon Court of Appeals
Michael E. Levine, 1962 – Senior Lecturer at the New York University School of Law; Dean Emeritus of the Yale School of Management
Alex Martinez, 1973 – Chief Justice, Colorado Supreme Court
Jessica Litman, 1974 – Professor of Law at the University of Michigan, legal advisor
Katya Komisaruk, 1978 – civil rights lawyer
Alafair Burke, 1991 – Assistant District Attorney, Multnomah County, Oregon; Professor of Law, Hofstra University; crime and mystery writer
Chris Garrett, 1996 – Justice, Oregon Supreme Court
Gus J. Solomon (did not graduate) – US District Judge, District of Oregon
Jacob Tanzer (did not graduate) – Justice, Oregon Supreme Court
Fay Stender (did not graduate) – lawyer and prisoners’ rights advocate
Tamim Ansary, 1970 – author of West of Kabul, East of New York
Doon Arbus, 1967 – writer and journalist, daughter of Diane Arbus
Alison Baker, 1975 – writer
Mary Barnard, 1932 – modernist poet and translator of Greek poet Sappho
Margaret Bechard, 1976 – science fiction writer
Don Berry, 1931 – writer
Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, 1969 – poet
Lee Blessing, 1971 – playwright
Hob Broun, 1972, author who became paralyzed and wrote two books by puffing air through a tube.
Alafair Burke, 1991 – author
Robert Chesley, 1965 – playwright, novelist, and composer
Kate Christensen, 1986 – novelist, winner of 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
Gordon Dahlquist, 1984 – playwright, novelist
William Dickey, 1951 – poet
Katherine Dunn, 1969 – journalist and author of Geek Love
Elana Dykewomon, ca. 1971 – author
Elyssa East, 1994 – novelist
David Eddings, 1954 – writer
Nancy Farmer, 1963 – novelist, winner of National Book Award for Young People’s Literature
Elyse Fenton, 2003 – poet
Janet Fitch, 1978 – novelist, White Oleander, Paint It Black, and The Revolution of Marina M
Debra M. Ginsberg, 1984 – author
Shadab Zeest Hashmi, 1995 – poet
Ernest Haycox (did not graduate) – author
Myrlin Hermes, 1997 – author
Roger Hobbs, 2011 – author of Ghostman and Vanishing Games
Jemiah Jefferson, 1994 – author
Laleh Khadivi, 1998 – author and writer
Caroline B. Miller, 1959 – author
Lisa Dale Norton, 1976 – author
Steven Raichlen, 1975 – author and writer
Howard Rheingold, 1968 – writer
M. C. Richards, 1938 – poet
David Romtvedt, 1972 – poet
Mary Rosenblum, 1975 – author
Vern Rutsala, 1956 – poet and writer
Tina Satter, 2004 – playwright
Leslie Scalapino, 1966 – poet, publisher, and playwright[11]
Gary Snyder, 1951 – Pulitzer Prize winner and poet
Sally Watson, 1950 – writer
Philip Whalen, 1951 – poet
Lew Welch, 1950 – poet
Journalism and media
Ed Cony, 1948 – Editor of The Wall Street Journal, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1961
Robert Richter, 1951 – documentary filmmaker and Academy Award winner
Barbara Ehrenreich, 1963 – journalist, political activist, author of Nickel and Dimed
Jim Compton, 1964 – journalist at PBS
Howard Rheingold, 1968 – writer, critic, and virtual media theorist
Oz Hopkins Koglin, 1974 – first African-American woman to be hired as reporter at the Oregonian.
Sheila Rogers, 1980 – columnist and TV producer for The Late Show With David Letterman
Gary Wolf, 1983 – author and writer for Wired.
Anya Schiffrin, 1984 – business journalist and author of Global Muckraking: 100 Years of Investigative Reporting from Around the World
Adam L. Penenberg, 1986 – writer, professor of journalism at New York University
Peter S. Goodman, 1989 – reporter for the New York Times and author of Past Due: The End of Easy Money and the Renewal of the American Economy
Robert Smith, 1989 — journalist, host of Planet Money.
Arun Rath, 1994 – correspondent for NPR and WGBH, former weekend host of NPR’s All Things Considered
Michelle Nijhuis, 1996 – journalist
Peter Zuckerman, 2003 – journalist and author
Adrian Chen, 2009 – journalist and former staff writer at The New Yorker.
Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi, 2014 – journalist and producer at NPR’s Planet Money.
Inventors and Innovators

Steve Jobs
C. Howard Vollum, 1936 – founder of Tektronix; inventor of the edge-triggered oscilloscope
Ken Koe, 1945 – co-inventor of Zoloft.
Bernard Smith, 1948 – sailboat designer
John Sperling, 1948 – founder of the University of Phoenix
Robert Gordon, 1949 – inventor of the Gordon Wrench
James Russell, 1953 – inventor of the compact disc
Peter Norton, 1965 – creator of Norton Utilities
Richard Crandall, 1969 – computer scientist who developed the irrational base discrete weighted transform used in finding large prime numbers
Steve Jobs, 1976 (attended as a freshman, did not graduate) – Apple co-founder and CEO; Pixar co-founder and CEO[12]
Pamela Ronald, 1982 – geneticist and developer of flood-tolerant rice
Larry Sanger, 1991 – co-founder of Wikipedia
Luke Kanies, 1996 – created Puppet software system[13]
Daniel K. Kim, 2001 – transportation entrepreneur
Karl Aschenbrenner, 1934 – philosopher of aesthetics
Sydney Shoemaker, 1953 – Susan Linn Sage Professor of Philosophy at Cornell University
Guy Sircello, 1958 – Professor of Philosophy, University of California, Irvine and scholar of aesthetics
Jay Rosenberg, 1963 – philosopher of metaphysics, epistemology, and language.
Allen W. Wood, 1964 – Professor of Philosophy, Indiana University
Tom Wasow, 1967 – Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy at Stanford University
Sally Haslanger, 1977 – Professor of Philosophy, MIT
Eric T. Olson, 1986 – Professor of Philosophy, University of Sheffield; taught at Cambridge University
Lisa Kemmerer, 1988 – author and professor of philosophy and religion at Montana State University Billings
Psychology and Neuroscience
Harry Harlow, 1926 (did not graduate) – professor of psychology, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Herbert Jasper, 1928 – professor of psychology, McGill University
Eleanor Maccoby, 1939 – psychologist at Stanford University, member of the National Academy of Sciences
M. Brewster Smith, 1939 (did not graduate) – professor of psychology, University of Chicago
Jeanne Block, 1947 – developmental psychologist, professor, Stanford University
Richard F. Thompson, 1953 – professor of psychology, University of Southern California
Daryl Bem, 1960 – professor of psychology, Cornell University
Eleanor Rosch, 1960 – professor of psychology, University of California, Berkeley
Robert Frager, 1961 – social psychologist, founder of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology
Mary Rothbart, 1962 – educational and developmental psychologist, professor at University of Oregon
Eleanor Rosch, 1962 – cognitive psychologist, professor at UC Berkeley
Paul H. Taghert, 1975 – neuroscientist, Washington University in St. Louis
Roberto Malinow, 1979 – neuroscientist, UC San Diego
Cyma Van Petten, 1981 – cognitive neuroscientist, professor at SUNY-Binghampton
Gina G. Turrigiano, 1984 – professor of vision science, Brandeis University; MacArthur Fellow
Athena Aktipis, 2002 – director of the Human Generosity Project at Arizona State University
Allen Bergin (did not graduate) – psychologist
Biology and Chemistry
James Emory Eckenwalder, 1971 – botanist
Arthur H. Livermore, 1940 – biochemist
Allah Verdi Mirza Farman Farmaian, 1951 – biologist, Rutgers University
Bruce Voeller, 1956 – biologist, AIDS researcher, gay-rights activist; coined the term AIDS
Daniel S. Kemp, 1958 – Professor of Chemistry, MIT
Mark Ptashne, 1961 – Professor of Molecular Biology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Donald Engelman, 1962 – biochemist at Yale University; Guggenheim fellow
Anne Hiltner, 1963 – polymer scientist and professor at Case Western Reserve
Kenneth Raymond, 1964 – Professor of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley
Arlene Blum, 1966 – mountaineer and chemist
Michael Balls, 1966 – zoologist and professor, University of Nottingham
Mary Jo Ondrechen, 1974 – Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Northeastern University
Alison Butler, 1977 – metallobiochemist at UC Santa Barbara, fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Rachel E. Klevit, 1978 – Professor of Biochemistry, University of Washington
Roger Perlmutter, 1973 – biotechnologist; head of Research and Development at Amgen, Inc.
Victor Nizet, 1984 – Professor of Pediatrics and Pharmacy at the University of California, San Diego
Kevan Shokat, 1986 – Professor and Chair of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at University of California, San Francisco; Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator
John Alroy, 1989 – paleobiologist
Stephen C. Sillett, 1989 – botanist, professor at Humboldt State University
Paul Knoepfler, 1989, stem-cell researcher, author, professor at UC Davis School of Medicine
Kent Kirshenbaum, 1994 – Professor of Chemistry, New York University
Science, Mathematics, Computing, and Engineering
John Backus, 1932 – Professor of Physics, University of Southern California
John Alexander Simpson, 1940 – Professor of Physics, University of Chicago, and atomic scientist on the Manhattan Project
Clarence Allen, 1949 – Professor of Geology, California Institute of Technology
Daniel Bump, 1974 – Professor of Mathematics, Stanford University
Larry Shaw, 1961 – physicist and founder of Pi Day
David B. Dusenbery, 1964 – father of sensory ecology
David Flory, 1964 – physicist; Professor of Physics, Chairman of the Physics Department, and Director of the School of Natural Sciences at Fairleigh Dickinson University
Arthur Ogus, 1968 – Professor of Mathematics, University of California, Berkeley
Thomas William Ferguson, 1965 – physician
Alan H. Borning, 1971 – Professor of Computer Science, University of Washington
Jonathan Grudin, 1972 – computer scientist
Catherine Otto, 1975 – physician
Daniel Kottke, 1976 – computer scientist
Lawrence Philips, 1976 – software engineer; developer of the Metaphone family of phonetic encoding algorithms
Norman Packard, 1977 – chaos theory physicist
Steven McGeady, 1980 – technologist
Theodore James Courant, 1982 – mathematician
Susan Subak, 1982 – environmental and climate scientist
Kelly Falkner, 1983 – oceanographer, Antarctic researcher
Peter Shirley, 1985, computer scientist
Keith Packard, 1986 – software developer; known for his work on the X Window System
Shep Doeleman, 1986 – astrophysicist, director of the Event Horizon Telescope project
Irena Swanson, 1987, mathematician and professor at Reed College
Craig DeForest, 1989 – astrophysicist, director of the PUNCH mission
Edward Ramberg (did not graduate) – physicist
Greta Christina, 1983 – blogger
Mike Davis (did not graduate) – activist and scholar
Randall Giles (did not graduate) – composer
Max Gordon, 1924 – owner of the Village Vanguard
Mukunda Goswami, 1961 – Hare Krishna guru
Christopher Langan – “America’s smartest man;” won a scholarship to Reed after earning a perfect SAT score, but dropped out
Murray Leaf, 1961 – anthropologist
Ben Manski (did not graduate) – democracy activist, lawyer, sociologist
Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 2016 – human rights activist[14]
Joann Osterud, 1968 – aviator and stunt pilot
Harry Wayland Randall, 1936 – member of international brigades in Spanish Civil War
Aaron Rhodes, 1971 – human rights advocate
Helen Sandoz – lesbian activist
Genny Smith – publisher
Peter Stafford (did not graduate) – author and writer
Sumner Stone, 1967 – typeface designer
Michael Teitelbaum, 1966 – program director and demographer at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Donald Niven Wheeler, 1936 – political activist
Fictional alumni
Erlich Bachmann, from HBO’s Silicon Valley
John William Barry from David Guterson’s 2008 novel The Other
Bill McKay, portrayed by Robert Redford in the 1972 film The Candidate
Donald “Don” Miller in his semi-autobiographical 2003 book Blue Like Jazz and (portrayed by Marshall Allman) in the 2012 Blue Like Jazz film
Harald Petersen, Reed ’27 from Mary McCarthy’s 1963 novel The Group
Japhy Ryder from Jack Kerouac’s 1958 novel The Dharma Bums (based on Reed alum Gary Snyder)
Hunter Scangarelo (did not graduate), friend of Meadow Soprano in the 1999–2007 television series The Sopranos
Sierra from Charmed Thirds, Megan McCafferty’s 2006 novel in the Jessica Darling series
Lambert “Sharkey” Somers, from Judy Blume’s 1998 novel Summer Sisters

reed college acceptance rate

Reed College admissions is more selective with an acceptance rate of 39%.


More selective

Fall 2020 acceptance rate


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