2011 Alumni Award Recipients
Each year, the Linfield Alumni Association honors dedicated individuals for their hard work, innovation and generosity of spirit. Here’s a look at Linfield’s 2011 award winners.
T.J. Day '71 – Distinguished Alumnus
Theodore “T.J.” Day '71 is a successful businessman, but he also believes in giving back – to his city, state and nation and to his alma mater, Linfield College.
Day has had a very successful career in real estate and natural resources development. After graduating from Linfield, he completed two master’s degrees at Stanford University and then worked for Canadian Superior Oil, Ltd, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. In 1978, he moved to Reno, Nev., as a senior partner of Hale Day Gallagher Company which specialized in the brokerage and development of commercial and industrial real estate. He is currently chairman of Dacole Co., a private investment company.
In addition to serving on the Linfield Board of Trustees since 1972, Day has served as a member of the board of directors for numerous companies and organizations including Sierra Pacific Resources, Reno Air Race Association, Nevada State Athletic Commission, Boy Scouts of America, National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Sierra Nevada College, Robert Louis Stevenson School, the W.M. Keck Foundation and the Willametta K. Day Foundation. He's been honored for service by Junior Achievement, the University of Nevada Reno and its medical school, and he and his wife, Debbie, were named Republicans of the Year by the Nevada Republican Party.
Day has worked tirelessly behind the scenes advancing and promoting Linfield College for 40 years. He has encouraged gifts from his family's charitable foundations and he and Debbie donated their own funds to a variety of Linfield projects. His $3 million gift to help renovate Northup Hall is the largest gift by a living individual in the college's history.
In recognition of his leadership gift and the transformative impact that Day has had on Linfield College, Northup Hall was renamed T.J. Day Hall last fall. The former library has been transformed into a new academic center for the Departments of Business, Economics, English and Philosophy; the Center for the Northwest; and the Writing Center. Day and Debbie, a Portland native, are avid horse lovers and like nothing better than spending time on their Nevada ranch.
More comfortable in jeans and boots than a business suit, Day is reticent to talk about himself. But he is generous with his time and resources for organizations and programs he believes in, willingly gives of his time, his business savvy and his resources.
Hal Gibson '59 – Alumni Service Award
If Linfield College had an ambassador, it just might be Harold (Hal) Gibson '59.
For a half century, Gibson has quietly served as a cheerleader for Linfield and an ambassador to far-flung alumni who depend on him for updates on the college. For his service to the college, Gibson has earned the Alumni Service Award.
Gibson regularly reminds classmates of coming events, special people of the past, and at times, needs within the college community. In addition to creating numerous opportunities for Linfield friends and classmates to gather over the years, he worked with the Class of 1959 reunion committee and spearheaded fundraising efforts for the Class of '59 endowed scholarship, which accumulated more than $50,000. For years he has hosted, in his own home, a Homecoming lunch before the Linfield football game. And he has held dinners for visiting lecturers, personally housing guests to reduce expenses. He and his late wife, Judy (Boyer) '61, also helped to promote Linfield in Central Oregon. In her honor, Gibson recently established an endowed scholarship fund at Linfield.
“He is the magnet that always pulled us back to McMinnville and a time in our lives when Linfield was home,” said John Creasman '59. “I truly believe that he has been responsible for many of us who live some distance from what he refers to as ‘ground zero’ remaining connected to the college.”
Gibson's association with the college preceded his student years. His aunt, Evelyn DeGordin '37, graduated from Linfield and continued to live in McMinnville for the rest of her life. The boyhood summers that Gibson spent with his aunt formed an early loyalty to the college, a bond that has never wavered. Gibson served as college librarian at Westfield State College in Westfield, Mass., before retiring to Redmond. He divides his time between Central Oregon and McMinnville.
As a Linfield student, Gibson was a member of Theta Chi Fraternity and has remained a vital link in organizing fraternity alumni reunions.
“’Gibby’ helps keep us current with what is going on at Linfield, and who is being recognized for their achievements,” said Richard Blackburn '57. “He provides us the gift of remaining in touch with others, and as a result we stay connected with the Linfield of today.”
Lora Koenig '99 – Outstanding Young Alumna
Lora Koenig ‘99 thrives on extremes. Through her work as a NASA scientist, Koenig works with data over the polar regions from satellites in space to ice cores from deep within the ice,, all in the name of climate change.
Koenig is a physical scientist in the Cryospheric Sciences Branch at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. For her efforts, she has been named the Linfield College Outstanding Young Alumna.
As a NASA scientist, Koenig wears two hats which often overlap – she conducts research and also leads NASA missions. She conducts scientific research to determine accumulation rates or how much it snows using satellites over the ice sheets. To do this, she leads field traverses in West Antarctica riding over 200 miles on snowmobiles to drill ice cores and peak into the top 60 feet of the ice sheet with radars that can see the snow layers deposited over recent decades. These measurements are used to validate space-borne satellite measurements of ice sheets.
Koenig also leads NASA missions focused on ice in the polar regions. As the deputy project scientist for Operation IceBridge, she leads a large, over 200 member, team of scientists and engineers that use aircraft to monitor the Earth’s polar ice. Twice a year, NASA deploys multiple airplanes to monitor glaciers, the ice sheets and sea ice in Greenland and Antarctica in what is the largest airborne survey of the Earth’s polar ice ever conducted. Koenig’s duties include analyzing the data, coordinating education and outreach, directing the planes in the field and ensuring that all data is publically available.
Koenig will head to the West Antarctica again in November 2011 to additional ice cores and radar data for her work with determining accumulation rates.
Koenig prepared for her work at Linfield, learning to use analytical skills to think outside the box. With the help of her advisor, Steve Bricher ’86, professor of mathematics, she blended her love of environmental science, math and outdoor adventure.
Koenig’s Linfield roots run deep. Her parents Dan and Marilyn (Olsen) Koenig, both ’70, met on campus. As a student, she met her own husband, Joel Siderius ’99, who is a financial analyst for the National Park service in Washington D.C.
For more information, contact Debbie Harmon '90, director of alumni relations, by email or call 503-883-2607.