About Deer College
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Knorr Hall, Deer's oldest academic building.

Founded in 1948 in southeast Three Portlands, Deer College is a coeducational liberal arts and sciences college. Renowned for its groundbreaking integration of occult studies into a liberal arts curriculum, Deer is known for its high standards of magical practice, creative thinking, and engaged multiversal citizenship.

Deer students pursue the Bachelor of Arts degree in over 40 majors and concentrations. The curriculum includes a year-long occultism course, broad distribution requirements, and a senior thesis; each student constructs their own program of study by pairing a traditional major with a concentration in an occult field, or chooses from a number of established interdisciplinary majors. A 9:1 student-faculty ratio and small conference-style classes allow faculty members to truly mentor students and engage with them in individual discussions.


Mission and History

Deer College is an institution of higher education in the occult arts and sciences devoted to the intrinsic value of intellectual and magical pursuits and governed by the highest standards of scholarship, critical thought, and creativity. Since its founding in 1948 as an independent undergraduate institution, Deer College has remained steadfast to one central commitment: to provide a balanced and comprehensive magical education fulfilling the highest standards of academic excellence.

History of the College

Deer College was founded in 1948, and its first classes were held in 1950. Deer is named for Reed College, its mundane counterpart in Portland, Oregon; its founders, Zachary Knorr and Matyas Szabo, were Reed alumni who were dissatisfied with the lack of occult studies at their alma mater, and decided to found a college of occult arts and sciences in the Three Portlands, upon the multiversal shadow of Reed itself. By summoning the spirits of Reed's founders, Simeon and Amanda Reed, and binding them to the Three Portlands parallel to the land on which their college stood, Knorr and Szabo were able to stabilize Reed's multiversal shadow and conjure from the aether the Deer College campus as it stands today.

Deer's first president was founder Zachary Knorr, who served from 1948-1956. He was followed by Horatio Sgariglia, 1956-1960; Jan Gringhuis, 1960-1964; Heather Davis, 1964-1977; Paul E. Bragdon, 1977-1988; Prof. Zebediah Agan, 1988-1990 (acting president); Timothy Wormwood, 1990-1998; Anna Svensdottir, 1998-2003; Prof. Elisha ben Abuyah, 2003-2004 (acting president); and Chad Gable, 2004-2011. The current college president is Benjamin Lund, who assumed the office in 2011.

Inclusion and Diversity

Deer College is a community dedicated to serious and open magical inquiry, one in which students, faculty and staff can fully participate regardless of ethnicity, race, species, religion, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, universe of origin, socio-economic status, disability, mortality or corporeality. Numerous Deer scholarships are available to students from marginalized backgrounds, and certain groups of students have access to housing options that allow them to live with others who share their unique struggles.


Academics

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The North Reading Room of Wormwood Memorial Library

A Deer college education balances broad knowledge across the curriculum with depth of knowledge in a particular field of study. Student create their own major from two fields of study, one mundane and one occult; each student is advised by a professor from each of their departments, receiving one-on-one guidance from both. Deer's academic divisions are separated into mundane divisions and occult divisions (with the exception of the Division of Metaphysics, which includes both mundane and occult departments).


Mundane Divisions

Division of the Arts

The Division of the Arts encompasses departments which focus on all varieties of creative endeavor. While many students in the Division of the Arts choose Anart as their occult focus, it is by no means a requirement; the Division of the Arts recognizes that methods other than traditional Anart techniques can be just as expressive.

Division Head: Prof. Wenqian Liao (Art History, 2007—)

Departments & Majors: Art, Art History, Dance, Music, Theatre

Division of Literature and Language

The Division of Literature and Language includes departments which study literature and foreign languages, as well as several more general fields of study.

Division Head: Prof. Anna Gonzalez (Spanish, 2012—)

Departments & Majors: Celtic, Chinese, Comparative Literature, Creative Writing, English, French, German, Linguistics, Russian, Spanish

Division of History and Social Sciences

The Division of History and Social Sciences is composed of all departments that study human history, culture, and society using scientific methodology.

Division Head: Prof. Tom Humphrey (History, 1979—)

Departments & Majors: Anthropology, Classics, Economics, History, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Sociology

Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

The Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences includes the departments which use mundane science to come to a closer understanding of the universe.

Division Head: Prof. Betelgeuse (Astronomy, 1952—)

Departments & Majors: Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics


Occult Divisions

Division of Unnatural Sciences

The Division of Unnatural Sciences includes those departments which, while close to mundane scientific fields, work with or study occult forces that mundane scientists disregard.

Division Head: Dr. Albert Lauingen (Alchemy, 2003—)

Departments & Majors: Alchemy, Cryptozoology, Memetics, Numerology, Parapsychology

Division of Invocation and Summoning

The Division of Invocation and Summoning includes departments which focus on interactions with extradimensional or otherwise supernatural beings.

Division Head: Prof. Mansur ibn Samyazaz (Theurgy, 2011—)

Departments & Majors: Demonology, Fey Studies, Necromancy, Theurgy

Division of Magical Arts

The Division of Magical Arts includes all occult departments not covered by another division.

Division Head: Prof. Hieronymus Nosh (Anart, 2008—)

Departments & Majors: Anart, Druidry, Ritual Studies, Thaumatology

Division of Metaphysics

The Division of Metaphysics includes departments which study the greater workings of the multiverse rather than focusing on a specific facet. It is unique in including both occult and mundane departments.

Division Head: Prof. Dominic Hall (Philosophy, 1999—)

Departments & Majors: Divination, Ontokinetics, Philosophy, Pataphysics, Theology (applied), Theology (theoretical)


Campus Life

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Deer's "Old Dorm Block"

Deer College campus is located in the heart of southeast Three Portlands, only a short bike or bus ride from downtown. Most Deer students live on campus—housing is guaranteed for the first two years—although upperclassmen often choose to live in a house or apartment nearby.


Housing

Deer students are guaranteed housing for their first two years on campus. Residential life at Deer includes multiyear and multigender residence halls, college-owned apartments near campus, and several language houses. Students can also apply to live in Deer's co-op houses, which offer an opportunity for individuals to live and build communities with those who share their experiences or interests.

Residence Halls

Deer's residence halls are intended to build strong student communities, not just provide a place to sleep. From the Old Dorm Block, crystallized from the multiversal shadow of the Reed dorm with the same name, to the newly-constructed Blackwood Hall, the residence halls offer Deer students a safe, affordable, and minimally-haunted housing option. Most residence hall rooms are singles or divided doubles, although first-years might be placed in undivided doubles or triples.

Language Houses

Language houses are each staffed with a visiting language scholar, who lives with the students and helps them build a community based around a foreign language and culture. Each language houses has its own building on the eastern side of campus, with the exception of Arabic House, which takes up the second floor of the Anderson residence hall. Deer currently has six language houses: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Russian and Spanish. The Enochian house is merely a campus rumor; students who claim to have visited the Enochian house, to have lived in the Enochian house, or to have taken classes in Enochian should be reported to Community Safety.

Co-Op Housing

Co-op houses are generally not available to first year students. Each co-op house has its own building on campus; rather than having an assigned housing advisor, the students in the house choose from among themselves a co-op coordinator who communicates with the Office of Residence Life on their behalf. Certain co-ops have entrance criteria that students must meet before they can apply to live there.

Canyon House: At the center of Deer campus is the Canyon, an area of woods and wetlands that's home to a number of plant and animal species native only to Three Portlands. Somewhere in the Canyon, protected by the ancient druidic magics of Nature herself, is Canyon House, a community dedicated to understanding and coexisting with the natural world. Students who apply to live in Canyon House should be committed to ecological conservation and be prepared to live and work alongside the beasts and spirits of nature.

Haunted House: Haunted House is intended to provide a space for incorporeal and post-mortal students to build a community free from the stigma against the non-living. Applicants to Haunted House must be post-mortal entities; most applicants have been ghosts and specters, but anyone who has died and been returned from the grave via profane necromantic ritual, unfinished business, or simple refusal to pass on is welcome.

MadSci: If the phrase "For Science!" warms the extra heart you implanted into yourself to increase circulatory efficiency, MadSci might be for you. MadSci is a community for those dedicated to pushing the boundaries of mundane science past what man was meant to know — whether that means late-night bioalchemy study sessions, making unholy patchwork creatures in the basement, or just sharing lab coat cleaning tips. Anyone interested in the cutting edge of science and technology is welcome here.


Transport

Deer is about 20 minutes by tram or light rail from downtown Three Portlands. While there are no cars in the city, Three Portlands has excellent bike paths and public transit, so even without a car, getting around isn't difficult.

Local Transit

The City of Three Portlands has a robust and affordable public transit system. Deer campus is ten minutes' walk from a light rail station, and there are several streetcar lines that stop on or near campus. Since it is difficult, if not impossible, to bring automobiles into Three Portlands, personal transportation options are limited; most residents travel by bicycle or electric scooter. Students can register their bikes, scooters, flying carpets, brooms, skateboards, and other personal vehicles with Community Safety; Community Safety Officers can track any registered vehicle anywhere in Three Portlands or the three Portlands if stolen or misplaced.

Multiversal Transit

From Deer campus, it is very easy to access Portland, Oregon via a number of Ways. Even for those without any talent for finding trans-universal passageways, there are several well-marked (on Three Portlands side) places nearby where it is possible to travel from our little pocket dimension to the "real world". There are even two Ways on campus—one in the steam tunnels under Knorr Hall, another in a sequoia outside the library—which take the user directly to Deer's sister school, Reed.

While Deer doesn't have the same close metaphysical ties to the other two Portlands, the nearest Ways to those are still convenient to campus, each about a twenty minute walk away. Portland, Maine can be accessed via the alley behind the Mug Runneth Over coffee shop on Roselawn & 17th (ask the barista for the combination); the Isle of Portland can be reached through a small tunnel in a hedge in the back yard of 3125 SE Flannigan Ave, although it's polite to ask the owners first.

Deer students also have access to the Wanderer's Library if they complete an optional two-week safety and etiquette seminar offered at the beginning of every semester. Students who complete this course will be able to access the Library through the door at the bottom of the northwest staircase of Deer's Wormwood Memorial Library by swiping their Deer ID card in the reader and offering a single drop of blood to the daemon who inhabits the lock.

Deer Students: What Is a Deerie?

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A group of Deeries studying in Wormwood Memorial Library.

Deer students ("Deeries") are independent, curious, intellectual, and full of character; no two are exactly alike, but they all share the same love of inquiry into things man was not meant to know. We've asked proud members of recent graduating classes to tell us about themselves, their theses, and their Deer experiences.


Terrence Shen, '09 (he/him)

Major: Political Science/Parapsychology

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Who I was when I came to Deer: A fish out of water. I didn't—still don't—have any sort of magical ability, just watered-down versions of my grandpa's psychic abilities. And because of that, I felt like I had a lot to prove.

How Deer changed me: Deer forced me to become more intellectually serious, to care more about how I act and less about how others see me. And also to care less about how I see others—I stared a lot at some classmates who weren't baseline human when I got here, and had to relearn some basic manners pretty quickly.

Favorite class: History of the Seventh Occult War with Gerald Johansson (History, 2009-2013). I knew that my grandpa served in the Red Army's Psychic Division in the Sino-Japanese war and World War Two, but I had never heard anything about the broader occult conflict. Gerald let me write my final paper on my grandpa's experiences, and helped me find a medium who could contact him and his squadmates for an interview.

Influential book: Watchmen by Alan Moore.

Advisers: The Soviet Socialist Republic of Eastern Prof. Nikolai Ivanov (Political Science, 1991—2010); Prof. Artemidoros Syrakousos (Parapsychology, 2008—2015)

Thesis: The Psychic Fallout of the Cold War Arms Race

What it's about: The lingering effects of the psionic and conventional arms race between the Cold War superpowers. I actually traveled to some of the old Soviet science cities where they did psychic experiments and used my own abilities to take empathic impressions. I even managed to interview a man who had been modified by Soviet scientists into a psychic superweapon—now he's a brain in a jar in a basement at the University of Moscow, but he still hangs around the astral location of the lab where he used to live.

What it's really about: How governments destroy individuals in the pursuit of power.

What's next: I'm going to work for a big psychic think tank in Hong Kong. Sort of like a political and economic consulting firm, but with precognition and remote viewing.


Fionn Ó Gallchobhair, '12 (he/him)

Major: History/Necromancy

Hometown: Three Portlands

Who I was when I came to Deer: I'm the child of Sidhe refugees from Hy-Brasil; my parents moved to the Three Portlands after the fivesquid attack, and had me a few years later. In Sidhe terms, I was still pretty young when I went to college, only 27—maybe equivalent to 16 human years; because of that, I lived at home—just a few blocks from campus—for most of my time at Deer.

How Deer changed me: Coming to Deer actually got me more in touch with my ancestry; I learned more about Hy-Brasil in an Occult History of the British Isles course freshman year than I had from my parents' stories through my whole childhood. I got a chance to study abroad in Ireland my Junior year, and I took a number of trips to Hy-Brasil itself—technically, all Sidhe are citizens, although there's hardly anyone left who actually lives on the island.

Outside the classroom: I did a lot of outreach work to Sidhe families in Three Portlands, especially when I began to work on my thesis. My partner was a theater major, so I was in a lot of their plays—the best one was their thesis show, when I played Faust and they actually summoned a demon to play Mephistopheles (Demonology was their occult major).

Financial aid: My semester in Ireland was funded by the government of Hy-Brasil—they can still do the fey gold thing, so they're not short on funds, and they will always pay for Sidhe to travel "home".

Advisers: Prof. Samantha Olongwe (History, 2011—2013); Prof. Andrew Cerak (Necromancy, 1949—)

Thesis: An Oral History of the Fall of the Blessed Land

What it's about: I interviewed both living survivors of the fivesquid attack—including my own parents and King Delbáeth himself—and the ancestor-spirits of those who died in the attack. I compiled all those interviews and statements into a single narrative, detailing the attack and its aftermath in a number of important locations and sections of the city.

What it's really about: Letting my parents say goodbye to my grandparents.

What's next: I'm going to move to Hy-Brasil. I was offered an apprenticeship by the Royal Historian, and I just can't refuse that.


Maria Ivády, '15 (she/her)

Major: Biology/Thaumatology

Hometown: Heves County, Hungary

Who I was when I came to Deer: I was very religious. My whole family was. Very isolated, too—I had gone to high school in Budapest on a special government scholarship, but I never really had friends there, and I was not interested in popular culture. I applied to Deer at the advice of my mother—she was an outsider to our village, and she wanted me to get a college education before I came back.

How Deer changed me: I'm still very religious, I would say, but I approach it differently. I've been exposed not just to other religions but other branches of my own religion—my adviser, especially, has really opened my mind to the wide variety of practices in our shared tradition. I feel like I understand my faith more now that I know where it came from and what influenced its development.

Cool stuff I did: I founded a campus Nälkä group, Karcist Kollektive, to bring together the few practitioners of related faiths at Deer and help break the preconceptions about so-called "Sarkic Cults" that many students here hold. I was also on the rugby team, although I was never very good.

What I would say to a prospective student: Don't be afraid to be yourself! There's a pretty big stigma on campus against actually believing in any religion, but you can find a community that'll support you.

Favorite professor: Prof. Matyas Szabo (Biology, 1948—). He really helped me when I was feeling homesick—he invited me to dinner at his house, and helped me find a Nälkä congregation in Three Portlands that wasn't too different from my family's practice.

Favorite spot on campus: The quad on a sunny day. It doesn't happen very often—if it's raining in any of the Portlands, it'll probably be raining here—but when it comes it's amazing. People bring couches out and just hang out listening to music and chatting.

Scholarships, awards, financial aid: I couldn't have come here if it wasn't for the Saarijärvi Scholarship for Women in Biological Thaumatology, which met the gap between Deer's financial aid and what my family could afford to pay.

Adviser: Prof. Matyas Szabo (Biology, 1948—); Prof. Arcadius Sparrow (Thaumatology, 1987—2016)

Thesis: Rethinking the Rat: Engineering a New Model Organism

What it's about: While the lab rat has served well as a model organism, its DNA is just different enough from humans that it fails for many scientific and magical applications. Great apes are better, but are significantly more expensive, and human volunteers are frequently hard to find and can cause ethical concerns. I decided to engineer a new model organism, starting from stem cells harvested from an extradimensional meatspace accessed via my own blood. This organism, Homo Sapiens Ivadius, has almost entirely human genetic code, but appears to be a slightly larger and more intelligent rat.

What it's really about: Having a carnomantic familiar that's not a damn horse.

What's next: I'm planning on going back to my village for at least a year to fulfill some religious obligations and get married to the guy I've been engaged to since age 3. After that, I want to go into carnomantic medical research, assisting my elder sibling in their studies.


Demian Strange, '17 (they/them)

Major: Art/Anart

Hometown: Culver City, CA

How Deer changed me: Deer College crushed my spirit so hard that I dropped out. I met some great people, but the school itself destroys people's souls, both metaphorically and literally. Everything I got from Deer I got in spite of the administration, not because of it.

What I would say to a prospective student: Don't come here. Go to literally any other school. Even a mundane one. Just not Deer.

Cool stuff I did: Every work of art I made while at Deer was part of a hypersigil, an extended magical working that culminated in the thesis I wrote after I dropped out, granting me powers beyond the comprehension of the college administration. I also played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons.

Influential book: The Anart Manifesto by Luisa Bellocchio. It's one of the first things you read in Intro to Anart, and it really stuck with me. Especially the section on how the best art comes from revenge.

Adviser: N/A

Thesis: GORED TO DEATH BY A TWELVE-POINT BUCK: MY DEER EXPERIENCE

What it's about: A series of short essays, sequential images, and visual works created to describe every way in which Deer College personally failed me or someone I know. I had a friend who works at the library put a copy into their system and another friend in the registrar's office sign me up for thesis orals.

What it's really about: The culmination of a working that forced the administration to give me my diploma, refund my tuition, and put me on their website.

What's next: I'm just living in Three Portlands now. Working at a tattoo parlor. Taking art commissions online. Living the life.

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