Father and Son March at College Commencement: Bridging On-Campus and Online Degrees

Kent Van Cleave had a special visitor when he graduated from Linfield College on May 27. His father, Al Van Cleave, also graduated from Linfield and was invited back to his alma mater as a Golden Grad. Fifty-nine years after Al took his commencement walk in the Linfield Oak Grove, the Walla Walla resident marched again, this time with his son.

“It’s never too late to finish your degree,” says Kent, who now works at Walla Walla Community College in a management role with the Information Center.

He attended Linfield College in the 1970s, and again in the 1990s, and then returned three years ago to finish his bachelor’s degree in management through the Linfield College Adult Degree Program. Kent credits his father with encouraging him to complete his degree, and Linfield’s online courses made degree completion possible.

Online programs offered by Linfield College Adult Degree Program include an online management degree, accounting degree, online marketing degree, social sciences degree, arts and humanities degree, RN to BSN degree and international business degree and certificates in accounting, human resource management and marketing.

Linfield College’s home campus, in McMinnville, Oregon, holds special significance for the Van Cleave family. Overlooking the commencement green is Pioneer Hall, built in 1882, only 24 years after the college was founded in 1858. The building is emblematic of Linfield’s pioneer heritage. In the 1940s, Kent’s grandfather, Carl Buebke, worked on Pioneer Hall, doing structural steel work. He told his daughter Carol about the beautiful campus and she enrolled at Linfield.

Al Van Cleave lived in Pioneer Hall as a Linfield student, and also met his wife Carol at the school. Their son Kent was born the year his father graduated from Linfield College. When Kent enrolled, as a theatre major, the campus theatre was located in Pioneer Hall, and he spent most days and many nights there. Al recalls that in the 1950s after college football games, he and classmates would climb up into the Pioneer Hall cupola and ring the bell, “both in victory and in defeat.”

Kent and Al both graduated with degrees in business. Al pursued a long career in the purchasing field, in the northwest and in the midwestern states. Now retired, Al says that Walla Walla is a great place to live, and so does Kent. On that subject and the value of their Linfield College education, father and son agree wholeheartedly.

Why wait? Now is the time to take that next step in your education. Contact the Linfield College Adult Degree Program today to take the next step in achieving your dream of a college education.

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