Feature Story

Remembering the Reeds

April 9, 2015 – by Cole Hatcher

Libby and John Reed in 2011. The campus will remember their legacies May 17. (Photo by Kelsey Ullom ’14)

Ohio Wesleyan University will celebrate the lives and legacies of Libby and John Reed during Alumni Weekend 2015. This year’s May 17 All-Alumni Convocation will become a public remembrance of the Reeds, each of whom worked at Ohio Wesleyan for 32 years.

Libuse L. “Libby” Reed, a professor of English from 1952 to 1984, died in March. John H. Reed, OWU’s archival librarian during those same years, preceded her in death in January. The couple mentored countless students and remained a vital part of both the Ohio Wesleyan and Delaware communities throughout their lives. Their impact was so profound that Libby Reed was made an Honorary Alumna in 1990, and John Reed an Honorary Alumnus in 2004.

The Reed remembrance will begin at 10:30 a.m. May 17 in Gray Chapel inside University Hall, 61 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. OWU’s Alumni Choir will sing a patriotic song in honor of John Reed’s military service, and all singers are welcome to join the group. John Reed served as a U.S. Army Ranger in World War II and was personally recognized for his exemplary service by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

When Libby Reed was made an Honorary Alumna, the citation celebrating her impact read:

“Through her legendary course in report writing, Libby has introduced generations of undergraduates to the importance of clear, grammatical, and effective writing. She has instructed, challenged – and browbeaten – hundreds of students into the realization that effective writing is, and by rights should be, an integral part of post-graduate life. At every alumni function, former students express shuddering memory of the rigors of the course, always adding, however, fervent appreciation for having had the experience and grateful recognition of its profound influence on their post-college lives.”

Her impact at Ohio Wesleyan continues today through the Libuse L. Reed Endowed Professorship, created by former students in 2003, and through scholarships in her name in both the Department of English and the Department of Geology and Geography. The couple’s legacy also continues to support students through the John H. and Libuse L. Reed Endowed Scholarship Fund, created in 2008.

In addition, John Reed was honored in December 2014 with the creation of the Richard L. Cassell ’64 and C. Ann Colson Cassell ’64 Endowed Scholarship in honor of John H. Reed HON ’04. The Cassells and Reeds became friends when they collaborated with the university to create the campus’s Fallen Heroes Memorial in 2011.

When John Reed was awarded Honorary Alumnus status, his citation recognized not only his work as the “keeper of the flame” of Ohio Wesleyan’s library collections but also his leadership role in the Slocum Reading Room restoration project and “his long and effective service to the Ohio Delta Chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. His service was excellent, constant, and a great source of pride and affection for all of the brothers of Ohio Delta.”

Ohio Wesleyan President Rock Jones, Ph.D., said the Reeds have left an enduring impact that generations of students and others want to acknowledge.

“Libby and John are part of the fabric of Ohio Wesleyan,” Jones said. “They did not seek attention for their countless good works, but we want to celebrate all that they meant to us and the tremendous legacies they have left behind. The Alumni Weekend venue will enable former students and friends from all over the nation to join together as we remember the Reeds.”