Colin Diver was the president of Reed College in Portland, Oregon. He was also the Dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School from 1989 to 1999.
He was named the Reed College's 14th president on October 5, 2002, replacing acting president Peter Steinberger, dean of Faculty, and succeeding Steven Koblik, who departed Reed College to run the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. Diver stepped down in 2012.
Under Diver's leadership, the college added a new major in environmental studies, hired additional faculty, created the office of institutional diversity, and saw the four-year graduation rate reach a new high. Diver presided during a period of significant volatility in the stock market. Despite being launched during a recession, however, Reed’s centennial campaign has raised more than $165 million towards its goal of $200 million.
Diver's area of expertise includes administrative law. Prior to Reed he was Dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School from 1989 to 1999.
Prior to this he served first as special counsel to the office of Boston mayor Kevin White and then held a series of positions in Massachusetts state government, including assistant secretary of consumer affairs and undersecretary in the state's office for administration and finance. Diver then served for 14 years as a faculty member at Boston University School of Law, where he served as associate dean (1985–88) and dean (1988–89). He was a visiting professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and has held joint appointments in public policy at the Wharton School and the Boston University School of Management.
Though Reed College, an exclusively undergraduate institution, does not have a law school, in September 2005 it was announced that Diver would be the coach of the inaugural Reed College mock trial team.
In 2005, Diver submitted an article to the Atlantic Monthly outlining the adverse effects of the U.S. News & World Report college ranking system, called Is There Life After Rankings? The article outlines why Reed College chooses not to participate in the rankings competition process, and addresses the implication that non-participation necessarily handicaps colleges in competing for student applications and enrollment.
Among his publications, Diver is co-author of a multiple-edition textbook entitled "Administrative Law: Cases and Materials." A selected list of Diver's additional publications includes:
- 4th ed. Aspen Pub., Inc. (with R. Cass & J. Beermann) (2002)
- “Genophobia: What Is Wrong with Genetic Discrimination?” Univ. of Penn. Law Rev. 149:1441 (2001)
- “Seeking Higher Ground,” Media Studies J. 12:120 (1998) (with Joan M. Diver)
- “Israeli Administrative Law from an American Perspective, “ Law and Government in Israel, 4:1 (1997)
- “Regulatory Precision, “ in Making Regulatory Policy (K. Hawkins & J. Thomas eds. 1989)
- “Presidential Powers, “ American Univ. Law Rev., 36:519 (1987)
- “No Compromises, “ J. of Policy Analysis & Mgt., 5:645 (1986)
Diver and his wife lived and raised their sons in Boston during the 1960s in a neighborhood that was undergoing rapid gentrification. Their experiences with school desegregation and racial equality were chronicled in New York Times journalist J. Anthony Lukas’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book Common Ground. This in turn became a 1990 made-for-TV movie of the same name.
Diver received his B.A., summa cum laude, from Amherst College in 1965, where he currently serves as a trustee. He later received an LL.B., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1968. He holds an honorary degree from Amherst.