Those at Whitworth who have worked alongside Tammy Reid, ’60, are quick to acknowledge her unfailingly upbeat spirit, sharp sense of humor, and far-reaching influence.
“Tammy is willing to take risks; she is buoyant in temperament and resilient in the face of difficulty,” said Kathy Storm, associate provost for faculty development and scholarship, who considers Reid not only a colleague, but a mentor and friend. “She is the most ‘can do’ person I know, and I deeply admire her strength.”
Reid is also a good sport. As a Whitworth administrator, she would return to campus from a trip or a conference to find her office transformed, thanks to her prankster co-workers. The mischievous group turned her office into a beauty salon, a beach scene, and a classroom. They even parked President Bill Robinson’s motorcycle in her office, along with a display of motorcycle leathers, Hog Tales magazines, pork rinds and root beer.
Reid graduated from Whitworth in 1960 with a B.A. in English. She went on to earn a master’s degree in English literature from Eastern Washington University and a Ph.D. in writing/rhetoric from Washington State University. Reid joined Whitworth in 1971, first as an adjunct in the English department, then as an instructor in the School of Education. After teaching for 17 years, she moved into administration, where she served for an additional 17 years, nine as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. Reid returned to the classroom, with the English department, in 2005, and retired in 2009.
During her tenure at Whitworth, Reid served for 15 years as a lecturer for Core 150, 250 and 350, and co-led off-campus study programs in the British Isles and San Francisco. “Core has shaped my life,” she said. Reid was the first female faculty member to lecture in Core 250. She also loved teaching writing courses. “I think of writing as a window into the mind – which means that I get to watch students make meaning through exploring past experiences or current intellectual questions. It’s all an endlessly fascinating process.”
Reid found personal enrichment in watching and helping students and faculty grow, and she was at Whitworth to witness the major transitions across four decades. “I’ve known Whitworth since I was an awestruck freshman. The obvious changes have been the arrival of the Internet, cell phones and skateboards, and the departure of chalkboards. And let’s not forget facilities. What a difference between holding a majority of classes in WWII barracks, and now holding classes in a remodeled Dixon Hall and a five-year-old Weyerhaeuser Hall,” she said when she retired.
Fixed on Whitworth’s mission, Reid worked to provide for changing campus needs. “This is a community in the truest sense of the word. That was true when there were 1,000 students at Whitworth; it’s true now with more than 2,000 students.”
Professor of Communication Studies Gordon Jackson, who served as associate dean of the faculty when Reid was dean, described the seven years he worked alongside Reid as a “time of plenty.”
“Now that I’m teaching full time again, I find that virtually every day the lessons from those seven years come back to me: on how to treat colleagues and students with care and respect, to stay upbeat no matter what comes my way, and to keep an eye on the big picture. Tammy’s impact during that ‘time of plenty,’ I know, is still felt on each of us who were blessed enough to work directly with her.”