Alumni recognized for contributions to society
It is every students dream to gain success after college, to prove that all our hard work while here would not go to nothing. Two individual Wildcat alumni and two Linfield associated groups have been recognized for their great achievements and their contributions to society with alumni 2012 awards.
The two individuals awarded were Peter Ellefson, class of ’84, and Erika Janik, class of ’02. Ellefson received the Distinguished Alumnas Award, while Janik was awarded the Outstanding Young Alumna Award.
The news came to a surprise to Janik, who said she felt very flattered.
“You go through your day-to-day life so immersed in the details that it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture of your work and accomplishments,” Janik said. “I learned so much from my time at Linfield and think so highly of the school that it is a real honor to know that the people at Linfield could think the same of me.”
Ellefson had a similar reaction when he received news of his accomplishment and described the experience as unexpected.
“I openly espouse the value of a liberal arts education, and I credit Linfield with teaching me a little bit about a lot of things,” Ellefson said. “I have been so involved and busy in my career that it never occurred to me that such an honor existed. The notification gave me a chance to pause and reflect on the great ride that I have enjoyed these past 28 years.”
The two were recognized for their hard work, innovation and generosity.
Ellefson is a professional trombone performer and a professor of music at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University-Bloomington, regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious schools of music. He was a 10-year member of the Seattle Symphony, and his music has been featured in movies, television and video games. He also has performed, recorded and toured with the Chicago Symphony and the New York Philharmonic.
Janik is a producer for Wisconsin Public Radio, a historian and award-winning writer. She has written four books, which vary in subject from Wisconsin to the history of the apple.
Janik has a bachelor’s degree in history from Linfield, a master’s in American history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Also recognized were the Bar West Classic (BWC) committee and the Linfield Chamber Orchestra. The BWC committee was awarded the alumni service award.
Formed in 1971, the BWC has held fundraising events, such as barbecues, the annual golf tournament and a Casino Night. The BWC gives Linfield support by attending homecoming each year.
The other group to receive an award was the Linfield Chamber Orchestra Board (LCO). The LCO Board was given the Walker Service Award.
Providing service to Linfield students, the LCO Board is a group that offers Linfield student musicians the opportunity to play alongside professionals and puts on classical music concerts for the Yamhill County public.
Having earned these recognitions, both Ellefson and Janik passed along advice to current and future Wildcats.
“Talent is important but hard work and diligence are vital,” Ellefson said. “Desire makes it all worth it. Find a passion and don’t let up until you achieve your dream. Think big.”
Janik similarly encourages students to work hard, but to also take their time along the way.
“Try things out and don’t be afraid to take risks,” Janik said. “You just never know where you’ll end up.”