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Linfield History

For more than 150 years, Linfield College has helped shape the lives of men and women who served as leaders of the college, the local community, the state and the nation. Although Linfield traces its roots to the Oregon City College, it wasn't until Jan. 30, 1858, that the Baptist College at McMinnville was chartered by the Oregon Territorial Legislature. The college was later named McMinnville College. Through the early years, the college also served as McMinnville's secondary school and didn't award its first baccalaureate degree until 1884.

For many years, the college struggled for survival, as frontier men and women were more concerned with forging a living than earning a formal education. But its future was assured in 1922 when Frances Ross Linfield gave her properties in Spokane, Wash., to the school. In honor of the gift and to show thanks for the more than $250,000 the college realized from the sale of the land, trustees renamed the college in honor of Mrs. Linfield's late husband, the Rev. George Fisher Linfield. The college maintains its American Baptist heritage, although faculty, students and staff are not bound by religious requirements.

Today, Linfield is known as an independent, comprehensive undergraduate institutional, nationally recognized for its strong teaching faculty, outstanding science programs and distinctive international emphasis.

  • Linfield’s International Program has grown from one exchange program with Kanto Gakuin University in Japan in 1976 to offering study abroad opportunities in 14 countries including Austria, Australia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, England, France, German, Ireland, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Senegal, Spain and China (Beijing and Hong Kong). January Term, with its popular four-week intensive courses, typically offers classes at a variety of domestic and international locations. Over 40 percent of graduates have studied outside the U.S., and the college pays the airfare for every student’s first study abroad experience.

  • Linfield’s student-faculty ratio of 11:1 allows for a rich experiential education that includes collaborative research, creative projects, internships, community service and study abroad. Linfield’s liberal arts and sciences curriculum is supplemented with professional programs. Students perfect talents in the visual and performing arts and hundreds engage in community service.

  • The Linfield Center for the Northwest provides students with opportunities to gain real-world experience on issues important in the Pacific Northwest. Recent collaborative research projects covered subjects in history, education, science, English, theatre, nursing and communication. A number of projects are in conjunction with the Oregon wine industry, including capturing the region’s history in the Oregon Wine History Archives housed at Linfield; the roles of women and Latinos in the wine industry; using social media to enhance the reputation of Oregon wine; and the Oregon Wine Industry Experience, a year-long program designed to educate liberal arts students to work in the wine industry.

  • Linfield’s Portland Campus, located in historic Northwest Portland, was established in 1982 when the college entered into an affiliation with Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center and began offering a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN). Today, Linfield’s nursing program is one of the largest, and best known, in the state.

  • More than 30 percent of McMinnville students participate in one or more of the19 varsity and 13 club and intramural sports. The college belongs to the NCAA Division III. The Wildcat football team has the longest consecutive winning streak in the nation, now at 59 years, and holds four national championships. The softball and baseball teams consistently rank among the top in the country. The softball team won national titles in 2007 and 2011 and the baseball team won the national championship in 2013.

  • Linfield pioneered adult education in the Pacific Northwest in 1975 to provide better access for working adults to achieve degrees. Today, Linfield's Online and Continuing Education programs provide online courses leading to bachelor’s degrees and certificates. Students may earn degrees in accounting, business information systems, international business, management, marketing and nursing. Certificates are offered in accounting (post-baccalaureate), computer information systems, human resource management, marketing, health administration and global health.

  • Linfield students are involved in a wide variety of activities including more than 50 clubs and organizations, 19 national academic honoraries, four media organizations, eight Greek organizations and 14 music groups. They have an opportunity to fill more than 350 leadership positions. The Associated Students of Linfield College provides social, cultural and recreational activities as well as a chance for leadership and development. The many lectures on campus provide opportunities for the exchange of ideas with nationally and internationally known figures.

  • Technology at Linfield includes all current resources such as video conferencing, wireless networking and internet access. The Jereld R. Nicholson Library in McMinnville and the Portland Campus library share an online catalog and electronic databases. Linfield belongs to the Orbis Cascade Alliance, a library consortium that enriches and sustains access to materials for the Linfield community. Summit, the shared catalog of 37 academic libraries in Idaho, Oregon and Washington, provides access to 28.7 million items.

  • Linfield has been nationally recognized for its emphasis on sustainability, with The Princeton Review naming the school one of the nation’s top green schools in their Guide to Green Colleges.

  • Linfield is regularly named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, with nearly 500 students volunteering 8,100 service hours. Their priorities include sustainability, and outreach to disadvantaged youth and the homeless.