Linfield had many achievements over the past year, hosting exhibits, conferences and lectures, and advancing our strategic plan to secure the college’s future. Faculty and students excelled, winning awards and honors for research and scholarly works. Here is just a small sampling of the numerous accomplishments recorded throughout the year.
A winemaker once told me that growing and making pinot noir is the greatest challenge of his career. The grape clusters are small and finicky; you have to pay closer attention and do more work to produce less wine than would come from other varieties. Yet he loves pinot noir above all other wines because it reflects its home, its "terroir," more than any other. Grasping for the right words, he said, "Pinot noir is authentic; unlike other grapes, you will simply make bad wine if you try to alter its identity or flavor. Instead you help the fruit express its true identity; with pinot noir, the wines are made in the vineyard, not in the winery."
Linfield is located in the heart of pinot noir country. And without diminishing the symbolic importance of planting acorns and growing oaks, I would contend that our work is similar to winemaking. We engage students in the discovery of their true identity and passion; together we explore paths to enrich that identity and serve others. It is not our goal to create carbon copies of ourselves; rather it is to inspire our students to define themselves. That’s the power of a small college. It’s also the power of the liberal arts.
At this year’s commencement ceremony, graduating senior Clara Martinez introduced the Class of 2014. Clara’s parents, who never attended high school, emigrated from Mexico when she was a baby. They dreamed that their daughter would go to college, and so Clara found her way to Linfield. Here, she’s made the most of her education. She earned a summer Fulbright grant to study in Wales, evaluating the experience of British citizens whose heritage is Welsh rather than English. Majoring in political science and communication arts, she traveled to other campuses for debate tournaments and culminated her forensics career by debating in China. She was an R.A. in the residence halls, a peer advisor for underclassmen needing academic support, and a volunteer in the alternative spring break program. In January 2014 she was one of 20 students in the nation selected for the “Emerging Global Leaders” program in Washington, D.C., and she now works as program coordinator for the World Affairs Council of Oregon. Linfield didn’t create this human dynamo, but Clara will tell you that we helped her find her calling and illuminated the path to fulfilling it.
I could go on with similar stories of course − Katie Corp ’14, an outstanding science student who did research in France last year and was inspired by her chemistry professors. Or Jacob Priester ’14, the Academic All-American football player who had a 4.0 in biology and also studied theater. Or Austin Schilling ’14, who came for football and hoped to go into law enforcement after college, but took a course from English Professor Lex Runciman and discovered his love and gift for writing.
These students – just several of many examples − show the power of great faculty who pay close attention to their students, who help them find their individual expression and calling, who do not try to alter them but rather to inspire them to find what is already inside, waiting to be released. Like making pinot noir, it requires more individual attention to achieve this kind of outcome, but it is ultimately worth it because of the results. I hope you will keep this in mind as you read about the achievements of the past year. For 156 years Linfield has provided this personalized, excellent education, and we are rightfully proud. Thank you for helping to make it possible.
– Thomas L. Hellie, PresidentDownload a printable PDF of this page
Our greatest resource is our people – their stories reflect the power of a small college.
Students, faculty and staff forge deep relationships. Faculty challenge students to pursue their dreams and passions by helping them find answers to academic questions and by refining their goals. Students build collaborative, cross disciplinary relationships with peers. Staff members at all levels aid students through workstudy, support programs or just by lending their expertise and compassion. Our alumni reach back to mentor students by providing career advice, networking and through their philanthropic support. Everyone is invested in the success of all our students.
There are countless stories at Linfield College. Here are just four.
Since 2011, Amy Orr has served as the George A. Westcott III Distinguished Professor of Sociology, the first faculty endowed position established at Linfield in decades. Funds from the professorship have benefited not only Orr, but also her students and colleagues.
Orr was able to take a scouting trip to Ghana to develop a January Term course proposal, thus increasing Linfield’s global offerings. In addition, she attended the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association for the first time in 10 years, engaging and interacting with colleagues from around the country. Both of those experiences helped her expand course content for existing classes. The Westcott Professorship also provided funds for a student research assistant on two collaborative research projects, resulting in one student presenting the work at the Pacific Sociological Association.
Three other major endowments are not only allowing faculty to attend professional conferences, pursue scholarly activities, and support student/faculty collaborative research, they have also provided funding for increasing faculty in English, economics and political science.
Funding for the Dave Hansen Endowed Chair in Economics was completed during the 2013-14 academic year. Jeff Summers has been named to that faculty position. He joins Anna Keesey, the Renshaw Distinguished Professorship in Literature and Writing, and Dawn Nowacki, the Elizabeth and Morris Glicksman Chair in Political Science. New faculty hired as a result of the endowments are: Joe Wilkins, English; Dimitri Kelly, at left, political science; and Brittany Teahan, economics.
"Student education is enhanced anytime we provide support and resources for faculty development," Orr said. "The knowledge and experience I have gained from the support of the Westcott Professorship continues to enhance students’ educational experiences as I incorporate what I learn into the classroom."
Flora Maciel Garibay '15 of Salem has a heart for helping others.
Thanks to a combination of scholarships, she followed her passion to Quito, Ecuador, where she volunteered in a pediatric hospital and studied at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito.
At the Fundacion de Damas Voluntarias del Hospital Baca Ortiz, Maciel Garibay supported the families of ill children by handing out diapers, meals and clothing.
"Most of the children in the hospital come from the coast, the Amazon and other provinces in the Andes so the meal we provide for the parent is sometimes the only meal they might eat that day," said Maciel Garibay, a sociology major, who also bolstered her Spanish language skills and learned about the Ecuadorian culture.
Maciel Garibay received the nationally competitive Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship that helped fund her study in Ecuador. Two endowed scholarships from Linfield – the Lyle Nelson Scholarship and the Clay Erickson Memorial Study Abroad Scholarship – were also instrumental in helping support her international study experience.
"When individuals invest in the education of students they also invest in the wellbeing of their community and society," she said. "My education has opened my eyes to the interconnectedness of all social problems."
At Linfield, Maciel Garibay is involved with Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA) and Student Advocates for Gender Equity (SAE). She says her Linfield experience has shaped her into a confident, well-rounded individual with a strong ability to problem solve.
"The best part is that my professors always challenge me, which only proves to me how much they believe in my abilities," she added.
A January Term class to Southeast Asia not only gave nursing major Isaac Hainley '14 a different perspective, but may also have changed his future.
After visiting hospitals, clinics and rural villages during the course Traditional and Modern Health Care in Southeast Asia, Hainley is considering joining the Peace Corps for the opportunity to serve some of the poorest people around the world. Professors Neal Rosenburg and Vivian Tong designed the course to provide opportunities for learning about health care and the culture of the region while providing students with an up close look at life and health care in the cities and villages.
Although Hainley has traveled extensively in Europe, this was his first time in Southeast Asia, where he was struck by how humble, content and happy some of the poorest villagers were. "If I join the Peace Corps I will be able to help some of the poorest of the poor, and be reminded of what is really important," he said. "It will help me gain insight and direction as to how I want to spend the rest of my life."
Hainley didn’t plan to be a nurse. He pursued a film career for a time, but found it unfulfilling. With a mother who is an herbalist, a sister who is a midwife and a brother who is a nurse all serving as examples, he began looking at the health care field. A stint as a certified nursing assistant at an Alzheimer’s care facility convinced him to begin taking classes at Portland Community College and Portland State University before transferring to Linfield to complete his BSN.
Hainley, who will graduate in December 2014, is looking forward to his classes in trauma, intensive care and acute care. In addition to the Peace Corps, long range plans could include pursuing a master’s degree to become a nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist.
Tika Zbornik '17 is getting a jump on her future, thanks to fruit flies and an innovative Linfield College undergraduate science research experience.
Zbornik, of Orcas Island, Wash., wanted a personalized education and access to research. She found that and more through Linfield’s iFOCUS program, a week-long introduction to science at Linfield held prior to orientation. She learned about opportunities in biology, chemistry, math and physics and discovered an interest in biology Professor Catherine Reinke’s fruit fly research studying gene expression. She joined Reinke’s student research team, and continued in the lab over the summer.
"Working one-on-one with a professor and carrying out an experiment instead of only reading about it has been incredible," said Zbornik, a biochemistry major. "The experience in the lab with Catherine has taught me critical thinking and problem solving skills."
After only one year at Linfield, Zbornik has a better understanding of her options for a future in science. Although she came to Linfield with a plan to attend medical school, she is now also considering the possibility of a career in research.
"This opportunity is giving me a huge head start," she said. "If I realize I really like research, I’ll probably go more on a Ph.D. track. Being able to learn this early is helping me formulate a plan for my future."
Zbornik earned a competitive scholarship award in math from Linfield and also received other scholarships to help fund her education. She’s grateful to donors who have made her Linfield experience possible.
"For many of us, support from donors is the reason we’re able to come here,” she said. “These contributions help many students flourish and start the path to their futures."
iFOCUS has been supported by gifts from generous donors. Thanks to a grant from the Hearst Foundation the program will be expanded next year.