Linfield College alumni award winners named

2014 Alumni Award WinnersEach year, the Linfield Alumni Association honors dedicated individuals for their hard work, innovation and generosity of spirit. Here’s a look at Linfield’s 2014 award recipients.

Cathy (Wark) Carnahan ’73 – Distinguished Alumna

Cathy (Wark) Carnahan '73When Cathy Carnahan ’73 was named the national middle school principal of the year in 2011, the designation confirmed what teachers, parents and students around her already knew.

She is a champion for students.

Carnahan, principal at Duniway Middle School in McMinnville, has established a meaningful career in education that has spanned more than 40 years. For her accomplishments, she has been named the Linfield College Distinguished Alumna.
Like a pebble thrown into a pond creating ripples, Carnahan’s work continues to impact student after student. She has been with the McMinnville School District since 1985, first as a teacher and then as principal at Duniway.

Colleagues call her a pioneer in education, as she implements innovative strategies that have enabled Duniway to perform in the top 10 percent of all middle schools in the state. For example, she collaborated with teachers to implement technology-rich teaching and learning in the sixth grade core and is constantly looking for innovative strategies to ensure the success of students.

“We’ve assembled a building culture where we’re all learners all the time,” she said. “It’s important to provide layers of support for students so that all are constantly challenged.”

In keeping with that philosophy, Duniway instituted a STEM lab which features robotics and engineering coursework. McMinnville School District was honored as a National STEM Showcase District by U.S. Department of Education, one of only three districts in the nation to receive such recognition.

Carnahan frequently spends time in the classroom, mingling with students, asking questions about their work and participating in activities.

“It’s important for me to have a pulse on the whole building and support teachers in any way I can,” she said. “It’s the work of the adults that provides a powerful education for our kids. Lending support and providing encouragement to teachers leads to rich conversations about possible new strategies to use to motivate and challenge our students. The ultimate effect is that we create a positive learning environment for our students.”

Carnahan’s ability to build and sustain strong relationships with staff, students and parents is one element that sets her apart as an exceptional leader. Teachers at Duniway rave about Carnahan, calling her a collaborative, driven and passionate principal who believes in teamwork, trusts her colleagues and values their achievements.

“The school climate she has created at Duniway is welcoming, caring and equitable,” Tony Vicknair ’73 said. “Cathy leads by belief and action and she leads with complete and unquestionable integrity.”

At Duniway, Carnahan has created a dynamic learning organization in which failure is not an option, according to Marty Palacios ’89, a longtime administrator in the McMinnville School District who was mentored by Carnahan.

“When one is with her, one has no doubt that she is fully present with them, listening, empathizing, taking it all in, pausing, thinking it through and then responding in a way that is always positive and powerful, while also honest and constructive,” he added.

“Cathy reminds us of why we dedicated ourselves to the education profession,” said Kris Olsen ’83, principal of McMinnville High School. “She teaches us how to stay focused on student learning and reminds us to care about each interaction we have with every student and staff member we encounter.”

She was married when she came to Linfield with her husband, Scott ’73, now Linfield’s athletic director. Two of their three children, Chris ’00 and Carrie ’02, also attended Linfield.

Linfield was instrumental in her development as a school leader, Carnahan said. She learned the skills needed to be an effective educator, and her Linfield experience framed the mentor and person she has become. She has mentored countless administrators and teachers.

“My roots in education began at Linfield,” she said. “They were strong roots and they gave me a solid foundation.”

Bob and Nancy (Steinbach) Haack, both ’69 – Alumni Service Award

Bob and Nancy (Steinbach) Haack, both '69As Linfield College student athletes, Bob and Nancy (Steinbach) Haack, both ’69, were leaders on and off the athletic field committed to Linfield’s success.

Some things never change.

Today, the Haacks remain staunch Linfield supporters after a 49-year affiliation with the college. For their commitment, the Haacks have earned the Linfield College Alumni Service Award

“We are passionate about the Wildcats and grateful for our Linfield experience,” said Bob, who was a four-year starter on the Linfield football team as defensive end and offensive tackle and played in the 1965 national championship bowl. He was drafted by the Philidelphia Eagles in 1969.

The Haacks are both members of the Linfield Hall of Fame. Nancy competed as a member of the track and field, field hockey and swim teams, breaking several national collegiate records. What’s more, she participated in Spurs and rally, and served as Associated Women Students’ vice president, Judicial Board chairman and senior class secretary. Bob was a senior dorm counselor, Theta Chi officer and member of the Judicial Board.

They have remained connected to Linfield classmates over the years. As a coordinator for the 40th reunion of the Linfield Class of 1969, Nancy phoned every classmate to personally encourage each of them to attend. In 2012, she worked closely with Linfield students to organize a reunion for Sigma Kappa Phi sorority, researching contact information for a number of alumnae who had been “lost.” She also served as a member of the Linfield Alumni Leadership Council for six years, rotating off the council last year.

“We feel so fortunate that there have been opportunities for us to give back to the college,” Nancy said.

Avid supporters of Linfield athletics, Bob and Nancy worked as active members of the committee that helped build the Linfield Paul Durham Scholarship Fund to more than $100,000. They are actively engaged with BWC, a group helping to reunite Linfield alumni from the late 1960s and early 1970s. In addition, they were featured in a recent brochure for the TopCat Club, a support organization for Linfield’s 19 NCAA Division III varsity sports teams.

“If Nancy and Bob are on your team, you are guaranteed success because of their can-do attitudes and their incredible passion for causes they support,” said Tim Marsh ’70.Their son Ryan and daughter-in-law Teira (Watkins) graduated from Linfield in 1996. Like his father, Ryan also played football and was on the natioanl championship team as a freshman.


Samantha (Schmehl) Hines ’99 – Outstanding Young Alumna

Samantha (Schmehl) Hines '99Samantha (Schmehl) Hines ’99 had every intention of tackling a career in politics after graduation. But her love of books – and libraries – trumped that plan.

Now, Hines is director of the Missoula College Library at the University of Montana, an associate professor and accomplished academic.

For her achievements in librarianship, she has been named one of two Linfield College Outstanding Young Alumnae for 2014. Ashlee (Tucker) Moehring ’02 is also being honored.

As library director, Hines provides leadership for Mansfield Library at the University of Montana, manages the collection and supervises staff, among other responsibilities. But her favorite part of the job is working with students.

“I like helping the students,” she said. “Knowing I’m helping them get that education and making a difference in their lives is very rewarding.”

Hines has published two books – “Revolutionizing the development of library and information professionals: planning for the future” and “Productivity for librarians: How to get more done in less time.” She has published dozens of other writings in the library field and has presented internationally on topics in librarianship.

She has also taken on a number of leadership roles in her career including serving as president of a regional library association and chair of a section of the national organization for her profession. She is section editor for peer reviewed articles for Collaborative Librarianship, is a peer reviewer for several journals in her profession and is a member of the editorial board of Internet Reference Services Quarterly. She co-authored a grant for more than $70,000 to help develop library leaders in the Pacific Northwest.

Hines is hardworking, smart and a promising leader in the library profession, according to Susan Barnes Whyte, Linfield library director who worked with Hines when Hines was a student.

“She has an impressive profile for such a young librarian,” Whyte said. “She is helping to transform libraries that need to be responsive in this technology-driven age in which we live.”

Originally from Spokane, Hines was looking at East Coast schools when her mother suggested Linfield along with a few other West Coast colleges.

“Linfield quickly rose to the top,” she said. “It had a community feel and felt like it could be home. And it was. Linfield was a very good match for me.”

At Linfield, Hines spent four years working in the (then) Northup Library interlibrary loan department. After graduating from Linfield, Hines earned a master’s of science in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her liberal arts education at Linfield, including “tons and tons” of reading and a research methods class, prepared her well for graduate school, she said.

“After my preparation at Linfield, grad school was a piece of cake – and it was a very good grad school,” she said. “Linfield prepares students for further education.”

Ashlee (Tucker) Moehring ’02 – Outstanding Young Alumna

Ashlee (Tucker) Moehring '0As a Linfield College finance student, Ashlee (Tucker) Moehring ’02 had her sights set on becoming a hedge fund manager. Little did she know she would one day provide advice for multimillion dollar endowments.

Moehring is a director of Sellwood Consulting LLC, an investment consulting firm in Portland that she co-founded in 2012. She also sits on Sellwood’s Board of Directors and Investment Committee, and is the firm’s chief compliance officer. As a lead consultant, she provides investment advice to mid-size institutional clients such as endowments, foundations and retirement plans.

For her achievements in business, she is being honored as one of two Linfield College Outstanding Young Alumnae this year. Samantha (Schmehl) Hines ’99 is also being honored.

A high school basketball standout, Moehring had opportunities to play at larger colleges but came to Linfield for its intimate campus feel and focus on academics.

“I liked the energy,” she said. “Everyone seemed engaged and outgoing, and very quickly I realized the professors were a huge plus.”

Unsure of a major, she was placed in a colloquium group with other “undecideds,” but she soon found her niche in the business department. She excelled in math and finance and earned an internship at RV Kuhns and Associates her senior year. She was hired after graduation, moving up through the ranks from investment analyst to consultant and shareholder. At age 27, Moehring was named a full-service consultant, one of the youngest in the firm at that time to achieve that position. She attributes the achievement to the support of family and colleagues, and also Linfield.

“That saying, ‘Success is when preparation meets opportunity,’ is highly appropriate here,” she said. “My finance courses at Linfield prepared me well and opened the door to an internship that translated into a full-time position. Hard work, long hours and a passion for investments afforded me an opportunity to move up quickly in a growing company.”

Moerhing said the opportunity to work closely with professors such as Scott Chambers and Stephen Bricher ’86 has been a critical factor in her career success.

“My professors challenged me as a student, supported me as a student-athlete and guided me in my career path,” she said. “Going to Linfield was the best investment I ever made.”

Today, Moehring partners with the Linfield business department whenever possible, meeting with classes, mentoring students, providing internships and hosting networking events.

“I am proud to be a Linfield alumna, and look for opportunities to support Linfield and give back in any way I can so that future generations can be afforded the same opportunities I had,” she said. “I’m raising two future Wildcats right now, which puts a new perspective on why it’s important.”

She and husband Jon have two children – London, 6, and Baylor, 4.


For more information, contact Debbie Harmon Ferry ’90, director of alumni relations, by email or call 503-883-2607.