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Linfield benefactor, beloved alumnus T.J. Day dies

Theodore "T.J." Day '71Theodore J. “T.J.” Day, a 1971 Linfield College alumnus whose passion and commitment to Linfield transformed his alma mater, passed away unexpectedly Jan. 23, according to an announcement by Dave Haugeberg, chair of the Linfield Board of Trustees.

For more than 40 years, Day was an energetic advocate for student educational experiences inside and outside the classroom. He and his wife, Debbie, made many personal contributions to Linfield. Projects that added inestimably to the improvement of the college include the renovation of Riley and Walker Halls and Michelbook House, construction of the Rutschman Field House, and creation of the Nicholson Library and Vivian A. Bull Music Center, which was part of the college’s expansion to property previously owned by Hewlett-Packard, now known as the Keck Campus. Day was instrumental in securing the largest single corporate gift the college had ever received to acquire that property.

In recognition of the monumental impact that Day had on Linfield College, the Board of Trustees in 2010 unanimously approved the renaming of the renovated Northup Hall to T.J. Day Hall in his honor.

Day, who made his home in Reno, Nev., had a very successful career in real estate and natural resources development. He credited Linfield for getting him ahead of the curve academically, and completed two master’s degrees at Stanford.

He served on the Linfield Board of Trustees since 1972 in numerous capacities including vice chair. Day was also a member of the board of directors for numerous companies and organizations, including the W.M. Keck Foundation and the Willametta K. Day Foundation. He was honored numerous times for community service, including being named Linfield’s distinguished alumnus in 2011.

Linfield President Thomas Hellie has said that Day’s experience with the institution and his insight into business and higher education helped shape Linfield’s future. He called T.J. Day one of the college’s greatest supporters and a loyal friend.

More comfortable in jeans and boots than a business suit, Day was reticent to talk about himself. But he was incredibly generous with his time and resources for organizations and programs in which he believed. T.J. Day willingly gave of his time, his business savvy, and his resources.

“His big heart, his infectious laugh and his passion and deep affection for Linfield will be greatly missed,” Haugeberg said.