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May 22, 2008
By Adrienne Goetz
Fred Reid, art preparatory for the University of Nevada, Reno’s art department, was awarded the Classified Employee of the Year award on May 15, 2008. Reid is known for his dedication to the students, the art department and the University.
“The students need to keep working on their art,” Reid said. “I want to instill in them a good work ethic, and to keep working with the continual quest of making art whatever the medium.”
Reid has been with the University since 1965 when he was a student, taking classes from artists such as Craig Sheppard. He graduated in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in art, specific to ceramics. He started out originally as a drawer but switched in order to receive his degree. In 1969, he worked as a technician under emeritus professor Edward Martinez. According to Virginia Vogel, the chair of the art department, Reid ran the ceramics department through a time of departmental changes. This eight-year term ended when assistant professor Rebekah Bogard was hired to head the ceramics program.
“I was astounded at the breadth of knowledge the students had,” Bogard said. “Fred’s initiative and dedication are beyond belief. Fred’s activity day to day goes far above and beyond his job requirements. He is a rock that I rely upon everyday.”
Reid’s dedication is shown by his work schedule. He arrives at work everyday at 6 a.m. to unlock the building and to get the day started. He can be seen coming in over Thanksgiving or Christmas break to finish firing student’s work. He doesn’t want to let the students down. Despite his age, he stays to complete and do well the work that the students are counting on him to do.
“Although he’s the ceramics technician, he should really be called the art department’s technician,” Bogard said. “Whenever the department needs an extra hand, he is always there to help without being asked.”
Reid also shows a high dedication to the University and its history. One of his more recent pieces of work focuses on Paul Laxalt, Craig Sheppard and Sessions Wheeler; who in various ways have written the history of Nevada. The pieces of the project were meant to read like a narrative and to show the lives of three Nevadans who were not only committed to the state but also to the University.
“Craig Sheppard was my first drawing professor,” Reid said. “He was the first person who really took the time to show me the ropes. I loved him, thought he was my dad. He died in 1978.”
Fred Reid’s last words to a recent graduate with an interest in photography were “give up your camera for a semester and I will teach you how to use clay.” Here at the University we have one of the best small art departments in the nation but it is because of the enduring legacies of people like Craig Sheppard and Fred Reid that it is this way.