Retirees look back

Pioneer Hall, Linfield CollegeSeven Linfield College faculty members look back on rewarding careers with affection, nostalgia and more than a few laughs. An edited version of these responses appears in Linfield Magazine, summer 2014. Here is the full text.


Linfield retirees 2014

Retiring faculty include Juan Gomez, associate professor of Spanish; Richard Bourassa, professor of music; Jean Caspers ’71, assistant professor, reference and instruction librarian; Carol McCulley, associate professor, reference and distance education; Mike Roberts, professor of biology; Noreen Johansson, professor of nursing; and Sue Butell, professor of nursing.
Mike Roberts, professor of biology, at Linfield since 1981

Mike RobertsFavorite campus hangout: The Catalyst (student-run coffee shop), with its casual, intimate and conversation-friendly atmosphere before it became O’Riley’s and Starbucks. I used to hold office hours in the Catalyst.

Favorite courses: Genetics, and Human Biology and Evolution

Biggest surprise: Even though Linfield is a small school, it is fortunate to have more than its share of fine scholars and committed educators on the faculty.

Best thing about Linfield: The combination of good students and fine faculty produces a vibrant atmosphere.

What I will miss: Interactions with students.

What I won’t miss: Colleagues, because I’ll still be spending time with them as I continue my retirement projects.

Retirement plans: Finish book with Professor Anne Kruchten, Receptor Biology; work on new Principles of Biology book with Chris Gaiser; complete papers with colleagues from other departments (Steve Bricher ’86, math, and Dave Sumner, English) and with two former students — Miranda Byse ’04, now working at the American Physiological Society, and Christy Tanner ‘12, now in graduate school at UC Davis.


Jean Caspers ’71, assistant professor, reference and instruction librarian, at Linfield since 2000

Jean CaspersMemorable moments:
• Attending my daughter’s graduation from Linfield College.
• Dancing to the Ike and Tina Turner Review in the old Riley Gymnasium in the early 1970s.
• Totem Shriver’s class sculpture ritual burn each spring during recent years.

Favorite campus hangout: Pop’s Shop (now the Bike Repair Shop) which was a privately owned café when I was a student here.

Favorite course: Information Ethics

Changes in students: Aside from the fact that they seem to get younger every year, it’s hard to generalize about this.

Learned from students and colleagues: The value of community.

What I will miss: Mentoring a select team of student employees to provide effective research assistance to their peers at the library’s reference desk.

What I won’t miss: Having a regular schedule.

Biggest surprise: The occasional thank you cards from students and/or faculty for doing work I’ve just considered to be my routine, core job: helping them with their research.

Best thing about Linfield: People with compassionate hearts.

Retirement plans: Being open to each new day.

Various associations with Linfield: Student 1971; Linfield Employees Association staff, library; administrator, area coordinator for residence life; faculty in 2000 after completing MLS at the University of Arizona.

Other family ties to Linfield:
• Late father, Wesley Caspers, professor emeritus
• Late mother, Ruth Caspers, worked for College Relations
• Daughter Samantha (Hendrick) Moorhead ‘06 supervises Linfield students as a teacher in the McMinnville School District
• Brother John Caspers ‘92, mass communication graduate
• Niece Quinn Caspers, current DCE student


Juan Gomez, associate professor of Spanish, at Linfield since 1981

Juan GomezFavorite campus hangout: Although it is not what it used to be when I first started teaching at Linfield in 1981, I still enjoy going to get a cup of coffee at Riley Hall. I can buy a cup of coffee, maybe encounter a colleague; but most certainly I will find students with whom I can chat for a little while, or longer, to avoid going back to my office.

Favorite course: Spanish Civilization. I enjoy teaching this course partly because Spain was my field of concentration for my doctorate. Also, some of the students taking this course started in my elementary language classes, studied in one of our programs abroad, and now we can discuss history, politics, religion, philosophy, art, etc., entirely in Spanish. It feels like I am having a conversation with my adult children: it is an amazing feeling.

Changes in students: Our students are smarter, more academic oriented, and more willing to serve their communities.

What I will miss: I will definitely miss interacting with colleagues and students, in and outside the classroom.

What I won’t miss: The lack of interaction with colleagues from different disciplines.

Biggest surprise: The advent of email and other gadgets has made us prisoners in our own turf. We hardly come out of our offices and interact with one another. Gone are the days when colleagues from different departments and offices met for coffee or lunch because we are too busy now.

Best thing about Linfield: The tremendous dedication faculty and staff have to our students.

Retirement plans: I will be devouring all the novels I have not been able to read. Also, I won’t have any more excuses not to become more proficient in Italian and French, so we can travel and have more than just a survival skill in these two languages. During the gardening season I will be growing more vegetables, now that I won’t be earning as much as what I am making now.


Richard Bourassa, professor of music, at Linfield since 1992

Richard BourassaA memorable moment: Sitting next to President Bull at a “not-so-great” music concert shortly after both of our arrivals at Linfield. Dr. Bull looked at me (then department chair) and said, “We have a lot of work to do.” It was at that moment I knew Linfield could develop a fine music program. She saw the issue as a shared responsibility that would be achieved by working together.

Changes in students: Students do change. How could I adapt? About 15 years ago I was teaching a music theory course, watching students work on an in-class assignment. Suddenly I realized that these students didn’t just sign up to take a music theory class. They had entrusted themselves to me just as they entrust themselves to any faculty member whose courses they take. When I was in the Military Service stationed close to the Navajo Nation, I visited with several “elders of the tribe.” They talked about the importance of raising the whole child. That day while teaching music theory, I chose to become an “elder of the tribe,” my tribe being the Linfield community, the McMinnville community, the Oregon community, the United States of America community, our world community. My goal has been to be a mentor, teacher, friend, expert in my field and listener. I hope that as students and times have changed, I have been mature enough and knowledgeable enough to adapt to the changes and still remain a meaningful mentor and “elder of the tribe” to all students with whom I have worked.

Best thing about Linfield: The depth, skills, and desire to make a difference on the part of all Linfield employees has to be number one. The joy, exuberance and willingness to help are an integral part of the makeup of Linfield. I appreciate all of you for renewing that commitment each and every day, especially on those tough days.


Carol McCulley, associate professor, reference and distance education, at Linfield since 1998

Carol McCulleyA memorable moment: Launch of DigitalCommons@Linfield, our digital repository for collecting, sharing and preserving Linfield’s scholarly and creative works.

Favorite campus hangout: Library

Favorite course: Courses in which I get to use my science background, including science courses for non-science majors and the RN to BSN program.

Changes in students: More serious

Learned from students and colleagues: A lot!

What I will miss: Conversations

What I won’t miss: Turning off the dripping faucets in the women’s room of the library every day.

Biggest surprise and best thing about Linfield: How hard and how creatively we work for students.

Retirement plans: Walk on the beach any day of the week.


Sue Butell, professor of nursing, at Linfield since 1984

Sue ButellA memorable moment: A recent memorable event was presenting my research at the Sigma Theta Tau, International (Honor Society of Nursing) Nursing Research Congress in Prague, during the summer of 2013. It was an amazing opportunity to meet nurses from all over the world and an honor to represent Linfield College. It was a highlight of my career at Linfield and a great way to end it!

Favorite course: It is impossible to list just one: Health Care in Australia; Professional Communication; and clinical supervision in mental health, leading/managing, and senior practicum.

Favorite campus hangout: My office! It is a wonderful cozy space where I have welcomed many students, advisees and colleagues over the years. Orchids love my window space and they keep blooming year after year.

Learned from students: I absolutely love working with students and it is certainly one of the main reasons I stayed for 29 years. Every student is unique and I learn something from each and every one of them. My work at Linfield was never boring! I feel very lucky to have found my passion in teaching nursing students in the clinical setting as well as the classroom.

What I will miss: It is hard to leave Linfield after 29 years. I will miss so many things but especially being part of a team of dedicated and caring faculty who reflect on their practice and strive for excellence in all they do. I will miss the relationships and the intellectual stimulation with faculty, students, advisees and co-workers on Loveridge Hall third floor. I will miss my office!

What I won’t miss: This question is easy: taking minutes. I loathe taking minutes.

Biggest surprise: The biggest surprise was being the winner of a raffle, the prize being one of the first faculty computers on the Portland Campus! That was a long time ago (1986).

Best thing about Linfield: Being a part of a community that cares about students and cares about the kind of nurses we are proud to graduate.

Retirement plans: Too many to list here as I’m a person who loves projects. What I’m most excited about is taking vacations where my husband and I can cross country ski and snorkel.


Noreen Johansson, professor of nursing, at Linfield since 1983

Noreen JohanssonA memorable moment: The staff at Portland Oregon State Psychiatric Hospital informed me that my clinical group of Linfield nursing students was exceptionally competent and compassionate in delivering nursing care to seriously ill patients. I was impressed with how well the students worked together as a team to provide emotional support to each other and identify options for patient care.

Favorite campus hangout: The Portland campus photo gallery offered me the opportunity to view the work of well-known artists. I especially liked the landscape photos that enriched me spiritually.

Favorite course: I have taught psychiatric-mental health nursing, therapeutic communication, nursing research, and health care travel courses in S.E. Asia. To be honest, I have enjoyed the challenge of teaching all of these courses either by myself or with my colleagues. The best part of teaching these courses was being creative in adapting course content and presentation to the needs of students, and conversing with students about their concerns.

Changes in students: The joy of teaching is observing the personal and professional growth of students. As an example, students informed me that their experiences in the S.E. Asia health care travel course I taught was life changing. Several of these students decided to join the Peace Corp or Indian Health Service. Others volunteered for Medical Teams International.

Learned from students and colleagues: Through interactions with students and colleagues I have learned to value different points of view and ways of thinking. For example, as chairperson of numerous nursing committees, I learned to listen carefully to different opinions and facilitate compromise when appropriate.

What I will miss: I will forever appreciate having had the opportunity to teach at Linfield and develop close working relationships with administrators, faculty and students. I cannot say enough about the willingness of everyone to go the extra mile to help each other out.

What I won’t miss: The last two years I was immersed in preparing for accreditation of the nursing program. This necessitated working on the project seven days a week literally from morning until night. I am grateful for everyone’s assistance with this endeavor as well as the positive outcome. However, I can honestly say that I will not miss the intensity of the assignment.

Biggest surprise: For a year, I worked closely with agencies in Thailand to develop an itinerary for the S.E. Asia health care travel course. I was pleasantly surprised by the gracious assistance I received from contacts in Thailand, and the welcome students and faculty got during our travels in Thailand. Students had the opportunity to dialogue with leaders in health care and learn about the impact of poverty and social injustice first hand. The administrators at health care agencies discussed their programs in depth and allowed the students to visit their facilities. Students were also welcomed into the homes of families in a fishing village and taught traditional customs. Everyone we had the opportunity to meet was gracious and eager to assist the faculty and students.

Best thing about Linfield: I decided to teach at Linfield because the college values the wellbeing of students in terms of their learning and personal growth. The relationship between staff, faculty and students facilitates a wish to help others and to seek the knowledge necessary to reach desired goals. I especially appreciate the work of Portland campus Student Services in arranging excellent speakers and cultural programs that speak to the needs of the campus community.

Retirement plans: My husband already refers to me as Mrs. Marco Polo. I have seen a goodly part of S.E. Asia and most of Europe. In the next year I’ll be going with my husband to the Greek isles and the Dalmatian coast, Ireland, Alaska, the Pocono Mountains, and anything else that comes up that we can afford. (We have two German shepherds to board while we are gallivanting. My husband says it would be cheaper to send them on the trips and we stay home.) I intend to be a happy rambler in my retirement!