2018 Alumni Award Recipients
Each year, the Linfield Alumni Association honors dedicated individuals for their hard work, innovation and generosity of spirit. Here’s a look at Linfield’s 2018 award recipients.
Lindsay Walker ’99 is striving to be more than a good teacher. She wants to be a good human being, and she’s bringing lessons of kindness to her students along the way.
In addition to her stellar work in the classroom, Walker, a third grade teacher at Edy Ridge Elementary School in Sherwood, is an avid volunteer for causes benefiting children. For her work, Walker has been named the Linfield College Distinguished Alumna.
“Lindsay makes kindness and helping others a big focus in her classroom, which they call ‘heart work,’” says Debbie (Sowell) Nelson ’94. “She’s a role model for so many of our youth. Her philanthropic services and desire to promote kindness is overwhelming.”
Walker is a leading educator – a mentor for new teachers, role model for students and volunteer team manager for the Sherwood High School dance team. But her community service sets her apart.
At Edy Ridge Elementary, Walker coordinates many of the service learning projects, including a food drive, food bank field trip, stuffed animal drive, costume drive, and a book and school supply drive for schools in Africa.
Walker started Liam’s $6 Club at her school, a campaign to raise money for pediatric brain cancer research at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. She is a board member for the Chelsea Hicks Foundation, an organization which provides support for children battling cancer and life threatening diseases in Northwest hospitals.Lindsay is a driving force behind the Michael Grimm Foundation and leads a community wide campaign to collect new stuffed animals for local hospitals.
In 2011, Walker started Kindness Kards, where students make cards with suggestions of acts of kindness and leave them for others to find to inspire kindness. She has also worked with Peach’s Neet Feet, a group that designs personalized shoes for kids with life-threatening illnesses.
Walker’s love of service was encouraged at Linfield, which provided numerous opportunities to volunteer.
“Although I’d always been involved in helping others in small ways, Linfield is where I got a real taste for philanthropy,” Walker says. “Going to a small school gave me the confidence to get out of my shell a bit and try new things and take on leadership positions.
“Several of my professors inspired me to not just be a teacher, but to be a good human being – something I strive to be and try to instill in my students as well.”
Cinthia Manuel-Martinez '05 has made leadership her life's work. As the director of workforce initiatives at the Portland Leadership Foundation, a faith-based community organizing association, she works with Portland companies to place first-generation and underrepresented minority students in life-changing internships.
She is also a leader at Linfield College, starting new alumni initiatives, helping students with their careers, and being, as Donna Montoya '04 called her, "a positive force of Linfield throughout the Pacific Northwest."
For her service to the college, Manuel-Martinez has earned the Alumni Service Award.
She is a frequent visitor on campus to meet with current students about careers, speaking at host lunches and career panels. But her promotion of Linfield and her fellow Wildcats doesn't end there.
"She promotes Linfield events on social media and is not shy about her willingness to meet with potential high school students," says Gerardo Ochoa, the assistant dean for diversity and community partnership at Linfield.
She has also hosted alumni for special events, such as the recent visit to Linfield by noted author Reyna Grande. Manuel-Martinez is also part of the leadership team of the Gates Millennium Scholarships and is frequently spotted at Linfield football games.
But it is her leadership for a new alumni initiative that demonstrates how she is connecting Linfield’s mission of learning, life and community. Manuel-Martinez is one of the leaders for the new Linfield Latinx Alumni Network. In this role, she will reconnect with alumni, gain an understanding of their interests and move the group forward. The project could also serve as a model for other alumni affinity groups in the future.
Her effort on behalf of her alma mater is both impressive and inspiring. As Montoya says, "Cinthia is a true Wildcat, is always and consistently connected, and makes every effort to help fellow Wildcats whenever she can!"
In November 2017, Zimbabwe was in the grip of a coup d'état when President Mugabe was removed as president after 37 years and Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in. Media outlets such as CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera and the Washington Post turned to one expert to provide context and commentary on the transition and the future of Zimbabwe: Chipo Dendere '08.
"It feels like citizens are out of the trance," says Dendere, assistant professor of political science at Amherst College who last visited Zimbabwe in December. She interviewed residents, and believes the nation is at a historic crossroads as it emerges from dictatorship.
Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Dendere moved to the United States in 2004 to attend Linfield College. She majored in political science and psychology, and later went on to earn master's and doctoral degrees in political science from Georgia State University. While at Linfield, she was the Associated Students of Linfield College president, conducted research and presented at professional conferences in both psychology and political science.
"Linfield was my first home in the United States," she says. "I can trace back almost every opportunity I have had to my connection to Linfield College."
Psychology Professor Tanya Tompkins called Dendere "a rising star in the field of African studies, particularly her role as a diaspora-based intellectual whose writing and research shapes thinking on the future of Zimbabwe."
Tompkins admires the way Dendere used her time at Linfield to "sharpen her gifts," and pointed to her "academic success, initiative and drive to seek out a competitive internship at the Carter Center."
Because her Linfield professors took Dendere to academic conferences, "I take my students with me as well," she says. "Most faculty are shocked and impressed that I am willing to do this."
Dendere attributes much of her career development to her Linfield experience. She said Linfield professors taught her to see the world differently, to think on her feet and to be analytical.
"Each time I speak, I pause and think about what influence I want to have in the world,” says Dendere. “A lot of people in our generation are afraid of silence so we fill every pause with chatter, but we need to learn to be silent, to listen, to hear those around us.
"Linfield also taught me about love,” she continues. “This is the power of small schools. The community provides us a space to learn, to fall flat on our faces, but also to rise and to do so on the shoulders of a community that is structured to support us. I am so grateful to Linfield for taking a chance on me."
Tompkins says, "One of the first times I had a one-on-one conversation with Chipo, she indicated that her future career goal was to become president of Zimbabwe." Then, Tompkins relates, she thought the goal was grandiose.
However, "given her … ascension as a content expert, think tank participant and go-to person for comments about Zimbabwe politics, I must say I would now be surprised if she did not fulfill her dream," Tompkins adds.
Grace and Ken Evenstad, founders of Domaine Serene Winery, have long partnered with Linfield College to shape the next generation of wine leadership. In 2018, the Evenstads took a bold step by pledging $6 million to Linfield, the largest gift in Oregon history in support of wine education. The gift is also one of the largest in Linfield's history.
To recognize their support on behalf of Linfield, the Evanstads have received the Walker Service Award. The award honors members of the greater Linfield community.
The Evanstad gift endows the Grace and Ken Evenstad Center for Wine Education at Linfield, as well asan endowed faculty position, the Evenstad Chair in Wine Studies. It will also fund the design and construction of the Evenstad Wine Laboratory as part of a new science building under development on the college's McMinnville campus.
Gregory V. Jones, the first Evenstad Chair in Wine Studies, is an internationally known wine climatologist who started at Linfield in June 2017. He notes that the Evenstads "have been strong proponents of engaging Linfield students for internships and jobs."
"Domaine Serene currently has at least three former students working at the winery and has four to eight [Linfield] interns most of the time," Jones adds.
The Evenstads and Linfield share a goal of supporting Oregon’s wine industry as it develops into one of the world’s premier grape-growing and wine-producing destinations.
“By making this donation to Linfield College, we are investing in the future thought-leaders of the global wine industry," says Ken Evenstad. “With this partnership, it is our hope that the newly endowed wine studies program acts as a magnet to attract the brightest minds from around the world to further propel our industry to even greater heights on the world’s stage.”
The Grace and Ken Evenstad Center for Wine Education includes a Wine Studies degree that incorporates the historical, geographical and environmental aspects of growing grapes and the making, bottling and selling of wine, as well as coursework on sensory-evaluation techniques and industry-specific communication issues. It is the first interdisciplinary liberal arts bachelor's degree in wine studies in the United States, as oppose to traditional viticulture and enology programs, which focus primarily or exclusively on the craft of growing grapes and making wine.
“Ken and I were drawn to the fact that this new and unique program will focus on all aspects of running a successful and sustainable wine business,” says Grace Evenstad. “In our opinion, the real benefit is that it focuses on building a high level of quality throughout the entire business of wine—in winemaking, management, accounting, sales, marketing, etc. This gift will enable thousands of future students to follow their passions in the wine business. It will prepare them for success and will enable the American wine industry to benefit for generations, even centuries, to come.”
The partnership between Domaine Serene and Linfield also includes on-site educational programs hosted by the winery and a January study-abroad trip for Linfield students that included a visit to the Evenstad’s French winery, Château de la Crée in Burgundy.
“It is such an honor for Linfield College and myself to be recognized and supported by the Evenstads. Through their generosity and vision, Linfield College will be able to provide a unique, liberal arts education in wine studies that will help develop future leaders of the Oregon wine industry,” says Jones. “In addition, the Grace and Ken Evenstad Center for Wine Education will deliver numerous activities that will engage and educate the wine industry and community, enriching the Oregon wine experience for everyone.”
For more information, contact Debbie Harmon Ferry '90, director of alumni relations, by email or call 503-883-2607.