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5/10/2007 Aid worker, alumna to present Linfield commencement address

McMINNVILLE ? Ruth Titi Manyaka, a 1969 gradate of Linfield College, who founded an organization to serve the most vulnerable populations in Cameroon in western Africa, will deliver the commencement address Sunday, May 27, at 10 a.m. in Linfield?s Oak Grove.

Manyaka will address 527 candidates for graduation including 355 from the McMinnville Campus, 104 from the Portland Campus and 68 from the Adult Degree Program. Linfield President Thomas L. Hellie will preside over the ceremony.

Manyaka was born and raised in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With the help and inspiration of Baptist missionaries and a pen pal in the Pacific Northwest, she attended Linfield College from 1965 to 1969, graduating with a degree in biology. After completing a master?s degree in public health from Loma Linda University, she met and married Raphael Titi Manyaka, a graduate student in engineering from Cameroon. Eventually they returned to Cameroon where Manyaka taught biology at a secondary school in Douala, the country?s commercial capital, and raised four children. Following her retirement from teaching in 1999, she founded Women, Environment and Health (WEH), a non-governmental organization devoted to serving the needs of the most vulnerable populations in Littoral Province, the region about Douala. This past January, she hosted a group of Linfield students and faculty who worked with WEH doing health promotion work in the villages in the region.

Other activities scheduled in conjunction with commencement include closing convocation for the Portland Campus, when nursing students receive their pins, on Saturday, May 26, at 1 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Portland, and baccalaureate services Saturday, May 26, at 6 p.m. in the Ted Wilson Gymnasium in McMinnville. The Rev. Bavi Edna (Nedi) Rivera, bishop sufragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, Wash., will present the baccalaureate address.