President Hellie to step down in 2018

Thomas L. Hellie, Linfield College presidentLinfield College President Thomas L. Hellie informed the Board of Trustees on Saturday, May 6, that he plans to retire from his position as of June 30, 2018.

“This has been the most important and fulfilling experience of my professional life,” said Hellie, who began his term in 2006. “I love Linfield College, and it wasn’t easy to make the decision to retire. But I turn 65 next year and I think the timing is right, both for me and for the college.”

Linfield has enjoyed unprecedented growth and development during Hellie’s tenure. During that time, the college:

– Endowed new faculty positions in Economics, Creative Writing, Sociology, Shakespeare Studies and Political Science.

– Established new funds for faculty development and faculty excellence.

– Tripled the percentage of American students of color, created the President’s Diversity Advisory Committee and appointed an assistant dean for diversity and community partnerships.

– More than doubled the size of its endowment, to $113 million.

– Completed a $10 million renovation of Northup Library to create T.J. Day Hall, which now houses four academic departments and increased campus classroom space by 25 percent.

– Finished major renovations to Dillin, Melrose, Riley, Taylor and Walker Halls, plus numerous residence halls.

– Dramatically increased the number of nursing graduates, including an expansion of the RN to BSN program.

– Established the Oregon Wine History Archive, the first of its kind in the world, and developed a wine studies program.

– Created the Linfield Center for the Northwest and the Business Advisory Council.

– Enhanced athletic facilities, including the resurfacing of Maxwell Field, Roy Helser Field and the track.

A native of Minnesota, Hellie holds a bachelor’s degree in speech and theatre from Luther College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in theatre history from the University of Missouri at Columbia. He began his higher-education career as a faculty member at Hiram College in Ohio. Later, he served as vice president at the Associated Colleges of the Midwest and then president of Chicago’s James S. Kemper Foundation.

Active on the state and national levels, Hellie currently chairs the Board of the Council of Independent Colleges, the nation’s largest association of independent colleges. In 2012, he helped lead the formation of the Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities. He has also served previously as chair of the Student Aid Committee of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, secretary of the Foundation of Independent Higher Education and chair of the Presidents’ Council of the Northwest Conference.

“President Hellie is a practical visionary,” said David C. Haugeberg, chair of the Linfield College Board of Trustees. “Over the past 11 years, he has had a significant impact on Linfield’s academic stature and reputation.”

The impact of that enhanced reputation is significant, Haugeberg said, “both for today and for the future.”

The search for Hellie’s successor will begin immediately. The trustees authorized Kerry Carmody ’73, vice chair of the board, to lead a search committee. The committee will include faculty, staff and a student, as well as trustees.

Hellie said he looks forward to the next 13+ months, during which he will continue to lead Linfield toward progress on its strategic initiatives while setting the stage for the college’s next president.

“While I can now foresee the final chapter of my service to Linfield, that chapter has not yet been written,” he said. “I will be an active president until the day I retire, and will focus particularly on fulfilling our goals, enacting our strategic plan and making Linfield even more successful.”