Daily Archives: October 2, 2013

Former homeless man delivers motivational speech

Andres Lara is “The Cuban Guy.” He escaped from Cuba when he was only 16 years old and attended high school in the United States.

Lara graduated from Montclair State University in New Jersey with a degree in speech communication and a minor in creative writing. He went on to become a motivational speaker and is now known as “The Cuban Guy.”

Lara’s motivational speeches are peppered with activities for the audience. These activities include  dancing, teamwork games and chants that he has the audience to yell at each other.

Everything works toward one goal, which is motivation.

“I am going to increase your energy by 10 percent,” Lara said.

He started playing music from his iPod speaker to arouse the audience and get them ready to dance. He also called volunteers upfront to teach the rest of audience new dance moves.

During his speech, Lara used many of his personal life experiences to make the speech more personal.

Lara began with an acronym, promising more to come. His first acronym was OYA, which stands for Off Your Anatomy.

“One thing is not enough,” Lara said. “You can want all you want, but unless you’re off your anatomy and taking action, you won’t get what you want.”

After taking a volunteer from the audience and asking him to rip a phonebook in half, Lara moved on to his next point, which was another acronym: ASS, which stands for Act on Small Steps.

“You can turn the impossible into the possible, the difficult into the easy and the unmanageable into the manageable,” Lara said.

The next step in his speech was a teamwork activity where a majority of the people in the audience learned a thing or two about homework.

The next acronym he introduced was FU, Focus Unity, which was all about being a good team member.

“You could be an awesome group where you actually communicate with purpose,” Lara said. “Some of the quietest people in your team could have the greatest ideas.”

On the boat to America, Lara and the rest of the people were given a motivational speech that he says he will never forget.

The sirens had started ringing, and everyone on the boat escaping from Cuba feared they would either be killed, drowned or sent to prison for life.

“We were scared, actually scared,” Lara said. “We were petrified.”

A man on the boat got up to tell them that there was no way they were going back, and that whatever happened to them if they kept going forward, going back would be worse.

“The pain of moving forward is temporary,” Lara said. “But the pain of quitting is permanent.”

Lara ended his speech with a story about how he discovered motivational speaking was his passion.  He was a freshman in college when a motivational speaker visited his school.

Watching the man speak, he realized that he wanted to follow that career path.

“The last thought that came into my head that night was, ‘I am going to be a motivational speaker,’” Lara said. “The thought kept coming back again and again.”

Now, before he begins any of his speeches, his first thought is, “I am a speaker.”

Gilberto Galvez can be reached at


‘Recycled’ admins introduced at faculty lecture

Several of the new faculty additions to Linfield’s administration, who were formally introduced with their new titles on Sept. 16, are not actually as new to Linfield as we might have thought.

One “new” admin, Josh Merrick, holds a degree from Linfield, and has worked here in the past.

He introduced himself as a “recycled Linfield administrator” at last Monday’s admin assembly. Merrick graduated from Linfield in 2007.

“After graduation, I worked for [Linfield] in the facilities department for a year,” Merrick said in an email.

“In 2008, [I] began working as an area director for residence life. In the fall of 2011, I transitioned to the Portland Campus for a year where I worked primarily with [the] student government and student life programs.”

Merrick left Linfield at the end of the 2011-2012 school year to work at a brewery, a lifelong dream.

After a short time as a brewer, Merrick realized that Linfield had been a “much better fit” and has since returned to the Portland campus.

Merrick is now working with residence life and housing and is the assistant director of student life for the student government.

“My main responsibilities are to manage the residence hall, advise student government and of course, support students in any way I can,” Merrick said in an email. “My favorite part of my job is [building] relationships with students.”

Two other “new” additions to Linfield’s administration have degrees from Linfield.

Jenny Morgan, a 2013 graduate, is an intern at the Office of Community Engagement and Service.

She works with students involved in Change Corps and alternative spring break.

She was featured in the Sept. 16 edition of the Linfield Review in “Linfield helps grads find work in higher education.”

Another “new” admin, Joni Tonn, graduated from Linfield in 2006 and is now the interim director for the Office of Community Engagement and Service.

“I truly care about community,” Tonn said in an email. “[I] am both humbled and excited to be in this position.”

One admin has changed departments.

Bruce Wyatt is now the assistant to the president.

Only three of the new admins introduced on Monday are entirely new to Linfield.

Jennifer Gossett is the coordinator of Linfield’s Learning Support Services.

“I am very excited to be at Linfield,” Gossett said. “I’ve had a very warm welcome from students, faculty and staff here.”

Betty Henninger has been hired as the associate director of Human Resources and Administration.

David Ostrander is the new vice president for Institutional Advancement.

Ryan Morgan can be reached at


How religion can create an ‘enemy’

Dawn Nowacki, Elizabeth and Morris Glicksman chair in political science, took the audience through an exploration of Spain’s religious history in a lecture on Sept. 24.

Nowacki used her first-hand experience touring many of Spain’s churches and cathedrals this summer to illustrate the often violent history of religion in the country.

She then explained the dangers of using religion to justify violence, an idea we see often in the world today.

“I don’t want to disparage religiosity,” Nowacki said. “I understand that for many people religion fills an essential longing for understanding that humans have. The problems arise when people view other religions as an existential threat to them.”

Nowacki referred to a 1992 lecture by political scientist Samuel P. Huntington that was later turned into a book titled “A Clash of Civilizations” to explain how she agreed with the author’s idea on how conflict post-Cold War had changed.

Huntington believes that the major source of conflict in this era will come from people’s differing forms of religious identity.

“It is this existential threat based on religion that makes the other an enemy that needs to be expelled,” Nowacki said.

“People need to ask themselves questions like: why do they hate us? Who are they? Religion, at times, can cloud the judgment and make people not think clearly.”

Tying this information back to her trip to Spain, Nowacki briefly explained the history of the Moors, who have inhabited Spain for more than 800 years.

“They were just as much Spanish as the other,” Nowacki said.

In places of higher learning, like the Alhambra in Granada, Muslims and Catholics studied together in peace for many years.

Religious persecution of Muslims by the Catholic church and monarchy; however, in the form of inquisitions, eventually drove most of the Moors out of Spain.

Much of the architecture Nowacki saw on her trip included old mosques that had been turned into cathedrals after the Moors had been expelled.

The violent depictions of this expulsion in the cathedrals is what especially shocked Nowacki.

Using her own photographs, Nowacki explained her trip along 60 miles of the El Camino de Santiago trail in Spain.

Translated to “The Way of Saint James,” the trail is a pilgrimage ending at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.

Nowacki’s lecture was sponsored by the International Programs Office, which organizes all study abroad programs at Linfield.

Michelle Tomseth, International Programs Office Assistant Director, provided insight as to why these events are important for students to attend.

“Linfield has a 71 percent rate of students studying abroad before they graduate,” Tomseth said. “We hope that presentations like the one Dawn Nowacki will be giving today, sparks students to think and be interested in what is going on in the world around them. She addressed a topic that is centuries old, yet it is a reflection of what is happening currently. We are still being affected by events that are history.”

Olivia Marovich can be reached at


YuCheng Zhang/Senior photographer

Dawn Nowacki, Elizabeth and Morris Glicksman chair in political science, discusses the issues of Spain’s relationship with the Muslim world.

‘Living legend’ from media world visits Linfield

The role of the news media was distinguished when Maxwell McCombs, scholarly author and speaker, presented at Linfield College on Sept. 24.

“[McCombs is] dubbed a living legend by his peers.” Lisa Weidman said, assistant professor of the mass communications department, introduced McCombs with all of his accomplishments.

McCombs has published 19 books and 169 scholarly publications, all of which that have been translated into 12 different languages that have inspired 500 agenda-setting studies across the world.

McCombs reestablished the agenda-setting theory which reflects the general public’s priorities as equal to those that the media represents the most.

Recently, McCombs has done Twitter studies, using his agenda-setting theory in political trends. Major Newspapers of the world can only fit certain priorities on the daily news reports.

“As a consumer, a mix of messages you encounter of the news coverage in a period of time has in the shift of the agenda,” McCombs said.

“The power of the public wields over media. It is the link to the world outside and the pictures in our head; it is the environment as we think it is.” McCombs said. “The public ratifies the media.”

Primary characteristics to of agenda-setting’s effects are frequency and its effects on awareness of the public, prominence of the public mind and attributes of the agenda reflect in the media.

McCombs discussed how redundancy is effective when it comes to the agenda-setting theory, making competitors easy to track online and archrival companies becoming more similar.

“Journalists are great plagiarists; they look to see what other journalists are doing and do the same thing,” McCombs said.

The transition between online and print media still have similar front pages, McCombs evaluated the young crowd as familiar with Internet and social media.

The baby boomers; however, were still into traditional media such as daily newspaper and television.

Through the overlapping of media outlets, “people can live in gated-information communities,” McCombs said.

Rosa Johnson/Copy editor

Assistant Mass Communications Professor Lisa

Weidman introduces Maxwell McCombs on Sept. 24.

Rosa Johnson/Copy editor

Maxwell McCombs, scholarly author and speaker, discusses the agenda-setting theory with assistant Professor of Mass Communication, Michael Huntsberger, on Sept. 24.

Rosa Johnson can be reached at linfieldreviewcopyed@gmail.com.