Lovin’ Linda: After almost two decades of serving smiles and hugs to Linfield students, Linda Burris is embarking on a new journey

Jillian Beaudry

Editor in chief

Linfield Dining Services employee Linda Burris, who has worked at the school since 1989, is leaving at the end of the semester to make a better life for her and her ill husband.

Burris is known best for wearing hats, hair clips and ribbons, dressing up for every holiday, giving tired students and staff members hugs and massages and catching banana thieves. Every year she cries at graduation as she watches her “kids” receive their diplomas.

After her husband suffered a stroke, Burris decided to move to Oklahoma. Because she is part American Indian, the tribe will help pay for nearly all of his medical bills, Sodexho employee Mabel Keochner said. She said Burris hopes to work with children at a local day care center.

Students, faculty and staff members reflect on their memories of Linda Burris:

“I was in Dillin studying for finals during one of the weeks when it was open late. I had laid my head down on the table to give my mind and eyes a break and was caught off guard when I felt someone start giving me a shoulder massage. I was surprised to see it was Linda, but it’s really a good example of her character. She is so friendly and always brightening people’s otherwise mundane Dillin experiences with her simple, heartfelt cheeriness.”

Linfield will be at a loss without her!

-Ryan Jones, alumnus, class of ’07

“Linda may be the most well-known non-student on campus. She is always friendly, anxious to greet you

and has a contagious enthusiasm. She spreads smile.”

-Dave Hansen, dean of students

“As the Linfield Review cartoonist, Linda was the ideal candidate to represent Linfield. While not every student would have a chance to shake Bull or Hellie’s hand, EVERYONE would have been given an offer for a hug upon entering Dillin sometime in their collegiate career.

Linda was, in essence, the face of Linfield.

Not everyone would be aware of jokes regarding specific professors or current administrative moves, but every socially inactive underclassman would indefinitely know about what Linda was wearing on Superbowl Sunday. For these reasons, as an artist attempting to reach the broadest audience, I always relied on humor surrounding the face of Campus Dining.

Linda was the lowest common denominator among students.”

-Timothy Love, alumnus, class of 2007 and past Review cartoonist

“Linda is a fun, loving, wonderful gal. She always makes her day and others’ days good with her smile and loving way she has. She gives hugs out like most people give a wave “hi.” She will really be missed, though live on as the Linfield icon she has become. Best wishes Linda, I’m sure you will find happiness wherever you go!”

-Brenda Botten, cashier

“Linda is a person I will always remember. 

The things that make Linda unique and special are: She dresses up on holidays and special days for the students. Her hopes are to brighten their day, uplift their spirits and give them joy and laughter. She will wear things that are uncomfortable just to give everyone a laugh. Last Christmas, she wore a Santa hat that was very heavy. The top flipped back and forth and bobbed around while playing a song. I’m sure it was uncomfortable, but she sacrificed her comfort to bring others joy.

She also has a pair of earrings for every holiday. She is always there to listen to the students. She likes to ‘mother’ them—making it more of a home away from home. You can count on her to put an arm around you and give you a back rub or a hug. 

She has a cute smile and her beautiful blue eyes twinkle. Her laugh is infectious. Sometimes she also gives that little ‘snort,’ and that gets us laughing even harder.

She is going to be greatly missed by the students and by all of us. Godspeed Linda as you begin this new chapter in the book of your life.  We will never forget you.”

-Elizabeth Dent, Linfield Dining Services

“Linda always puts a smile on people’s faces with all of the hats that she wears. It’s sad she is going to leave. It’s kind of hard to replace Linda.”

-Will Hermens, sophomore

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