The Linfield College Board of Trustees announced today that Dr. Miles K. Davis will become the college’s 20th president, and the first African-American president in the institution’s 160-year history.
Davis, dean of Shenandoah University’s Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of Business in Winchester, Va., will begin his new appointment July 1. He succeeds Dr. Thomas L. Hellie, who is retiring after 12 years as Linfield’s president.
“From the moment I engaged with Linfield and the community, it has been a growing love affair,” Davis said. “From the Board of Trustees to the faculty, staff, coaches and administrators, Linfield College is an impressive group of people. It is Linfield’s students, though, who really stole my heart with their inquisitive and thoughtful questions. I am excited about becoming a part of this community of learners and scholars.”
David C. Baca ’78, chair of the Board of Trustees and a partner at the Davis Wright Tremaine law firm, said Davis brings an entrepreneur’s sensibility to Linfield at a time of transformation in higher education.
“Dr. Hellie has done a remarkable job leading Linfield, and that has put it in a very good place,” Baca said. “However, all of higher education faces a rapidly changing environment. That environment is going to require us to adapt, and Dr. Davis has shown that he can lead the kind of change we will need to continue to succeed.”
Davis has a Ph.D. in human and organizational sciences from The George Washington University, an M.A. in human resource development from Bowie State University and a B.A. in communications from Duquesne University. At Shenandoah since 2001, he was the inaugural chair of the management science department at the Harry F. Byrd, Jr. School of Business and became the founding director of its Institute for Entrepreneurship. He was named dean of the school in 2012.
Davis is an authority on entrepreneurship whose most recent work focuses on integrity, values and principles in the business world, as well as faith-based entrepreneurship. He helps organizations manage cultural and structural changes, strategic planning, leadership development and strategic growth initiatives. Davis worked as a managing consultant and principal for EDS Corp., and has served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations and publicly traded companies.
The author of many journal articles and book chapters, Davis published a book titled “OD and Change Management Consultants” in 2009. He is a member of the Society of Leadership Fellows at St. George’s House, an organization based out of Windsor Castle in England that brings together world leaders in a variety of fields to analyze contemporary issues.
Davis is the first college president to come out of The PhD Project, a network that helps members of underrepresented communities attain doctorates and become leaders in higher education.
“Linfield College, with its strong roots in the liberal arts and world-class professional programs, is meeting the needs of a dynamic world,” Davis said. “I am honored to be invited to help lead Linfield, as the college helps lead the region, country and world in connecting learning, life and community.”
The nationwide search for Linfield’s 20th president began in May 2017, when Hellie announced he would retire at the end of the 2017-18 academic year. A search committee, which included representatives from the Linfield College Board of Trustees, faculty, staff and student body, closely reviewed the credentials of the candidates and conducted extensive interviews.
“I am gratified to know that Dr. Davis will become Linfield’s next president,” Hellie said. “His personality and experience align very well with our college’s culture and future needs. Linfield has been a great home for me, and I trust it will be for him as well.”
Brenda DeVore Marshall, professor of theatre and communication arts, one of four faculty members on the search committee and its vice-chair, said Davis will bring new energies and perspectives to the college and the community.
“I am excited Dr. Davis has decided to join our community, and I look forward to working with him,” she said. “He will provide enthusiastic leadership for the next chapter in Linfield College’s commitment to inclusive student education.”
Linfield College is a nationally renowned, comprehensive four-year college with its main campus located an hour outside of Portland, in the heart of Oregon’s wine country. It also maintains a School of Nursing in Portland, and online degree and certificate programs. The college’s curriculum is rooted in traditional liberal arts and includes practical education through collaborative, service and experiential learning opportunities.