Linfield University has helped shape the lives of men and women who served as leaders of the college, the local community, the state and the nation. Although Linfield traces its roots to the Oregon City College, it wasn't until Jan. 30, 1858, that the Baptist College at McMinnville was chartered by the Oregon Territorial Legislature. The college was later named McMinnville College. Through the early years, the college also served as McMinnville's secondary school and didn't award its first baccalaureate degree until 1884.
For many years, the college struggled for survival, as frontier men and women were more concerned with forging a living than earning a formal education. But its future was assured in 1922 when Frances Ross Linfield gave her properties in Spokane, Wash., to the school. In honor of the gift and to show thanks for the more than $250,000 the college realized from the sale of the land, trustees renamed the college in honor of Mrs. Linfield's late husband, the Rev. George Fisher Linfield. The college maintains its American Baptist heritage, although faculty, students and staff are not bound by religious requirements.
Today, Linfield is known as an independent, comprehensive undergraduate institution, nationally recognized for its strong teaching faculty, outstanding science programs and distinctive international emphasis.