Q&A with Joseph Hunter

Joseph Hunter in a conversation at Linfield's new science center groundbreakingNew vice president for university advancement discusses his path to Linfield.

How did you start working in philanthropy and higher education?

I originally had planned to be an academic but decided to go a different direction. As part of my Master of Public Administration program, I completed an internship with Virginia Tech’s advancement team, which gave me exposure to fundraising in higher education. I realized pretty quickly that the idea of helping others through philanthropy really resonated with me. I was raised very poor and was the first in my family to go to college. While my mom graduated from high school, my dad did not. My parents had never set foot on a college campus, but they did everything they could to support me – what they couldn’t do was help financially. I ended up attending the University of Dayton on a full scholarship. I recognize that my education, my career and my life is possible because of that. Working in philanthropy – in a higher education setting – really allows me to feel like I’m giving back.

What was it about Linfield that inspired you to become a Wildcat?

Linfield is a place that I feel like I can make a difference. Because of the smaller size of our institution, private support makes a huge and direct impact. Unlike some affluent or major research universities, at Linfield, every gift makes a real difference in someone’s life.

On top of that, this job brought my family back to the Pacific Northwest. We had lived out west when I worked at the University of Oregon and Western Washington University and jumped at the chance to get back.

What has been your most memorable moment in your first six months at Linfield?

Even with COVID-19 restrictions, I enjoyed some big celebrations this spring. There was a virtual event announcing the public launch of the Spark Wonder campaign in April; the Carmencement in May, where I was able to welcome our newest alumni; and the small groundbreaking event in July, which set the stage for the construction of the W.M. Keck Science Center.

Why is now the right time to ask alumni and friends to support Linfield?

It has been an exceedingly challenging year. There have been difficulties unique to Linfield and others that are widespread. Never has there been a more important time for alumni to be involved with their alma mater. What the industry is seeing is that colleges with the most engaged and supportive alumni are the ones that are continuing to thrive despite all these challenges. And Linfield has a wonderful group of alumni. The university has a bold and ambitious plan for the future. One that focuses on staying true to its liberal arts roots while evolving to better serve our students and programs. Alumni can make a tremendous impact now by supporting Linfield. Every gift made to this university has its own tangible impact.

As COVID-19 restrictions lessen on campus, what are you most looking forward to this year?

I am looking forward to welcoming the Linfield community back to campus and getting to meet more alumni, donors and friends. I’m especially eager to attend Homecoming, Parent and Family Weekend, and the performing arts.

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