President Thomas Hellie spoke about the successes of Linfield during an economic recession and warned against complacency now that the storm of collapsing economy is over during his state of the college address Sept 8.
Boasting that Linfield survived the worst of the recession virtually unscathed when its competitors were cutting staff, faculty and programs, Hellie outlined the eight subjects he felt Linfield must address to remain a successful small college.
“One year ago, we were worried,” Hellie said. “The Great Recession had swept across our country … We had one of the smallest freshmen classes in years, some 10 percent below our original budget projections.”
Hellie also spoke about the sudden acceleration of the Northup Hall renovation, citing a sudden drop in construction costs and the effort of the faculty and staff involved in the project, along with Chair of the board of trustees Dave Haugeberg and T.J. Day, who he identified as a major donor.
“Were it not for the trustees — and especially those two men — Northup would still be in mothballs,” Hellie said.
Hellie thanked the college relations department and its head, Bruce Wyatt, for achieving record donations during a recession. To punctuate the turnaround made by Linfield, Hellie proudly announced the record number of incoming students.
“Today we have 535 freshmen enrolled at Linfield, more than 23 percent of them Americans of color,” he said.
Hellie then thanked the faculty for their dedication to recruiting more freshmen and urged the assembled staff to take pride at their accomplishments in the face of adverse conditions.
Hellie cited a list of publications that had recently mentioned increased respect for Linfield.
“I believe these ranking systems are unreliable and unscientific, but I can’t deny that it helps our college when we rise 13 places in the U.S. News college issue or when Parade Magazine names us as one of the 26 best small colleges in the country,” he said.
Hellie’s peak topic was the success of the branding of Linfield as a small college environment and the standardization of its promotional materials.
He encouraged faculty to join him in actively planning for the future and increasing the diversity at Linfield.
“We need to enhance our reputation and outreach and enroll students from a more diverse set of states and nations,” he said.
Hellie closed with a letter of gratitude from a Linfield graduate’s parents, thanking the college for the education it provided.
“We are so proud of Tommy [Thomas George] and appreciate everything that Linfield provided him,” wrote George’s parents, Tim and Tami George. “I’m sure that he would rather his parents not write or send this but that was not an option. It was time to say thanks to Linfield, and for the Linfield way.”
Joshua Ensler/News editor
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