May 11-17, 2001
Back Issues
Darden's Snyder named dean at Chicago
Casteen announces actions U.Va. will take on recent athletics task force report
Northwest ties lure Reed to retire

Meditation can assist in the healing process

The Batten Institute spurs innovative business ideas
Intern program offers new job perspective
Nanotechnology: making parts small so big things can happen
Correction -- Paul Freedman misidentified
Off the Shelf -- recently published books by faculty and staff
Notable -- awards and achievements of faculty and staff
Robert Sweeney named senior vice president
Graduation weekend May 19-20
Hot Links -- real-time streaming of graduation ceremonies
After Hours -- "Slowpoke" moseys along the road of alternative comics
Kathrine M. Reed
Rebecca Arrington
Kathrine M. Reed

Northwest ties lure Reed to retire

By Rebecca Arrington

By the end of the month, one of the University’s long-time administrators will leave the Grounds, returning home to her beloved Oregon. She said her mouth waters every time she thinks of eating the fresh, pan-fried trout that she plans to catch in the stream where her father taught her to fly-fish years ago. But it was the East Coast, and the ever-challenging roles that she’s taken on professionally, that have kept Kathrine M. Reed hooked on Grounds for nearly 31 years.

Reed came to U.Va. in 1970 with her husband, environmental sciences professor Wallace Reed, who is also retiring this month. They thought they’d only stay five years. Obviously, that’s not how it turned out.

“U.Va.’s been good for both of us,” said Reed, who started her career here as a half-time clerk-typist C in the then-joint sociology-anthropology department. Several months later, she became the departmental secretary. Reed, whose graduate work was in library science and whose undergraduate degree was in sociology, worked there for the next four years as a clerk-steno D.

“I taught myself shorthand, practicing the symbols on the back of a stenographer’s notebook,” she said. “After taking the shorthand test for the fourth time, Human Resources didn’t make me take another one,” she recalled laughing. “I also read grant proposals and critiqued them whether they wanted it or not,” she said.

Initiatives launched under Reed include:
• Classroom Improvement Project – Reed led the team that developed and oversees five-year plans for renovation and installation of technology in classrooms.
• Desktop Computing Initiative – This plan keeps U.Va. computers up-to-date by replacing them every three years.
• Automated Library System – She worked out the financial plan for the University to adopt an automated library system and subsequent system upgrades.
• Establishment of the Vice President and Provost’s Employee Council
• Phased Retirement Program – She implemented and managed the University’s phased retirement program from 1989 through 1996.

Reed’s next four-year stint was as a research administrator in the biology department — the first woman ever hired as such. She made University history again in her next post as the first female budget officer in Arts & Sciences, under then-dean Edwin Floyd.

When Floyd became provost in 1981, he took Reed with him as his associate provost for management. “I insisted on a national search,” said Reed, who has served in this capacity ever since. Reed has worked with five of the University’s six provosts. “Time has passed quickly,” she said. “It doesn’t seem like 30 years. It’s never been boring.”

Today, as chief financial officer for the vice president and provost, she oversees a roughly $300 million budget and is responsible for resource planning for eight academic schools, the University Library and museums and other academic support services. She has direct administrative oversight of three academic departments as well.

Reed also provides planning and advice for administrative technology in the academic areas, serves as the chief liaison to the new Integrated Systems Project, develops faculty and research personnel policies and manages administrative faculty and classified personnel issues. She reviews all faculty salary recommendations prior to the provost’s approval to ensure recommendations are in accordance with institutional salary policies and to monitor for gender and racial equity. In addition, she represents the provost on the classified staff employee communication council and on working groups on such issues as graduate financial aid and technology planning.

“Kathy Reed has given exemplary service for many years to the provost’s office, to each of the schools and units that report to the provost and to the University. Though we wish her well in her retirement, we do so with a tinge of regret because she will be sorely missed,” said Vice President and Provost Peter W. Low.

“The University has changed from a genteel Southern school to a top research university. It had started on this path when I joined the University, but I’ve seen it happen,” Reed said, adding, “If you can make research flourish, the entire academic enterprise will flourish.”

Reed credits several University faculty members with supporting her early on in her career: Ed Floyd, “an incredible man,” Sam Maroni and Oscar Miller of the biology department and Willard Harrison of chemistry. But it was her mother, an attorney, who most inspired Reed not to be hindered by her gender.

“I never realized what I was missing in not having a female colleague until Shirley Menaker [associate provost for academic support] was hired in 1987,” Reed said of her “dear friend and colleague.”

Menaker had similar things to say about Reed at her retirement ceremony April 25. “This is a celebration of a special person who has been of inestimable value to many of us here,” Menaker wrote in a letter that was read at the event. “Simply put, Kathy knows how to do things within the University and who to get help from in doing them quickly (and quietly). She has an acute political sensitivity, knowing that doing things well one time is not particularly effective unless good relationships with faculty and administrative colleagues are maintained over the long haul.

“No one who calls Kathy’s office is ever told ‘That’s not my job. I can’t help you.’ She willingly extends to units and individuals help with personnel issues, ways to handle budgetary problems, finding sources of revenue, hundreds of small things that make up the fabric of the way we operate.”

Menaker noted that Reed was one of the “prime movers in setting up the Provost’s Employee Council,” and was one of the “chief architects and proponents of the Employee Tuition Waiver Plan,” which permits University employees to take at least one credit course each semester with tuition waived.

Reed, this year’s winner of the Women Faculty and Professional Association’s Woman of Achievement Award, has worked to improve the climate for women at U.Va. She served on former U.Va. President Robert M. O’Neil’s Task Force on the Status of Women in the late ’80s. “The report we issued was pivotal in pinpointing problems and laying groundwork for change. It made women’s issues University issues,” Reed said. Now she is on the Women’s Leadership Council, which is “still addressing items identified in the O’Neil report and setting priorities to bring about necessary changes,” she said, citing as an example the development of salary studies that help determine pay equity and gender equity. “Things are getting better,” she said.

In addition to her work on Grounds, Reed has been active in several professional organizations. She became a member and later an officer of the Society of Research Administrators in 1974. “People like myself met to talk about our roles, issues and needs facing us in our jobs,” she said.

When asked if she’s accomplished her professional goals, Reed replied, “We still need a comprehensive plan for what our graduate student financial aid is going to be and how we’re going to fund it. …We need to have all the people affected by this, all the schools, united in this effort,” she said. “I would really have liked to have seen this further along or resolved before I’d retired, but Laurie Kelsh is working on this, and I feel it’s going forward.”

Though she and her husband will miss Charlottesville, the Reeds are eager to return to Oregon. They’ve bought a 1920s arts-and-crafts bungalow in Salem, on the edge of a large park next to her childhood home. They’re anxious to be close to their children, Jimmy and Lynn, their son- and daughter-in-law, and their 3-year-old granddaughter, Emelia Caroline, all of whom live nearby. And Reed can’t wait to be wading in the Rogue River again, fly-fishing. “You know what they say about people from Oregon, don’t you? We’ve all got webbed feet,” she said laughing.

[An article on Wallace Reed’s career, titled “Go Ask Wally,” is in the April 2001 Libra newsletter, in print and online at]


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