Is Reed College’s New President Too Cool to Be a University Administrator?

Audrey Bilger owns a lot of “firsts.” First woman president of Reed College. First LGBTQ Reed prez. And, probably, the first college president to own a bigger record collection than her school’s entire student body. Bilger and her wife, Cheryl Pawelski, arrived on the 111-year-old school’s leafy Southeast Portland campus packing about 70,000 albums and CDs. Pawelski is a Grammy-winning record producer and music historian who co-owns the record label Omnivore (which Bilger named).

Audrey Bilger, Who Earned Ph.D. in English at UVA, to Lead Reed College

“College presidents have been described as the ‘narrators-in-chief’ of their institutions,” said University of Virginia alumna Audrey Bilger, who this summer will become the 16th president of Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and the first woman to serve in that role. “My background as a scholar of literature and teacher in the classroom will be of enormous assistance to me in telling the impressive story of Reed College,” Bilger wrote in email from the West Coast.

Free to Marry, and Not Bound by Rites

By Steven Petrow. Audrey Bilger, a professor of literature at Claremont McKenna College and an editor of “Here Come the Brides! Reflections on Lesbian Love and Marriage,” said that gays and lesbians “grow up with the same movies, go to the same rituals as straight people, and when we want to commit to one another it’s not surprising that we would choose the same forms.” “We’re claiming the right to equal citizenship — to dream the same dream as straight people,” she said. “That’s a big deal.”