Secretary of State Sam Reed’s alma mater, Washington State University, is creating an endowment to fund The Sam Reed Distinguished Professorship in Civic Education and Public Civility in honor of Reed’s “distinguished record of public service.” He will retire from public office as Washington’s 14th Secretary of State in January 2013.
Reed received his bachelor’s degree in social studies and master’s degree in political science from Washington State University.
Reed said he’s delighted with the professorship and the emphasis on issues that have been central to him — civility, civic engagement and bipartisan cooperation to solve problems in a collegial and sustainable manner.
“Much of my grounding in political science, history, and politics came from mentors and professors in my undergraduate and graduate school years at Washington State and I am so happy to think that future generations will benefit from a Reed Professor,” he said.
Reed’s 45-year career in public service includes roles as Assistant Secretary of State as a young man, Thurston County Auditor for 23 years, and now 12 years as Secretary of State.
Reed’s career has been characterized not only by his commitment to public service but also by his principles of civic education and democracy, says Cornell Clayton, director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service at WSU. The Reed professorship will be part of the Institute, a nonpartisan center that fosters civic education, public policy research and a commitment to public service.
“I have had a productive and cordial relationship with the Institute,” Reed said. “We have partnered on workshops on civility and collaborated on a televised session on the centennial of the initiative and referendum process in Washington. I feel confident the Institute and the College of Arts and Sciences will be an ideal home for this new professorship, and I wish them every success.”
Clayton added: “Sam Reed’s reputation for bipartisanship and for believing that people of different political beliefs can work together to find common solutions to problems is unusual in the current political climate. “Sam’s career serves an exemplar of the commitment to public service and civil discourse.”
He cited Reed’s even-handed handling of the 2004 governor’s race and subsequent election reforms as an example of his bipartisanship and civility.
“In my years as an elected official and as a citizen activist and volunteer, I have had a real passion for civic education and community engagement and empowerment, and I have done all I could do to make our public discourse more civil,” Reed said. “This, of course, is a continuing job of us all, and for every generation.
Persons interested in contributing to the Sam Reed Distinguished Professorship in Civic Education and Public Civility can go to: https://secure.wsu.edu/give/default.aspx?fund=3367, or send donations to: WSU Foundation, PO Box 644235, Pullman, WA 99164-4235.