|Baptist College of McMinnville (1858–1898)|
McMinnville College (1898–1922)
Linfield College (1922–2020)
|Motto||Connecting Learning, Life and Community|
|Type||Private liberal arts college|
|Established||January 30, 1858|
|Historic and symbolic ties to American Baptist Churches USA|
|Endowment||$106.1 million (2020)|
|Campus||Rural, 193 acres (78 ha) (McMinnville)|
|Colors||Purple and cardinal|
|NCAA Division III|
|Mascot||Mack the Wildcat|
Linfield University is a private liberal arts college with campuses in McMinnville, and Portland, Oregon. Linfield Wildcats athletics participate in the NCAA Division III Northwest Conference. Linfield reported a total of 1,755 students after the fall 2022 census date. The institution officially changed its name from Linfield College to Linfield University, effective July 1, 2020.
Linfield traces its history back to the earliest days of Oregon Territory, when pioneer Baptists in Oregon City created the Oregon Baptist Educational Society in 1848. This society was organized to establish a Baptist school in the region, which began as Oregon City College in 1849. In 1855, Sebastian C. Adams began to agitate for a school in McMinnville. Adams and his associates were members of the Christian Church, and so the school became a Christian School. To begin, 6 acres (2.4 ha) of property were donated by W. T. Newby and a group was formed to establish the school. The group included William Dawson, James McBride, Newby, and Adams, and they bore the major part of the expenses of starting the school. These men built a building and convinced Adams, who was a teacher, to operate the school. After about a year and a half and because of the difficulty of running the school alone and funding problems, Adams suggested that the school be turned over to the Baptists who were attempting to start up the West Union Institute that had been chartered in 1858 by the Oregon Territorial Legislature. The Adams group imposed the condition that the Baptists keep at least one professor employed continuously in the college department. Other accounts indicate that the Baptist group purchased the land in 1857 in order to start their school. The Oregon Territorial Legislature chartered the Baptist College at McMinnville in 1858. The school later became McMinnville College in 1898.
In 1922, the name was changed to Linfield College in memory of a Baptist minister, the Rev. George Fisher Linfield whose widow, Frances Eleanor Ross Linfield, gave a substantial donation to the college to promote Christian education and as a memorial to her late husband. Mrs. Linfield served as Dean of Women from 1921 to 1928, and sat on the Board of Directors from 1922 to her death in 1940. Her gift included real estate in Spokane, Washington, valued at $250,000 (a sum worth nearly $4 million in 2020). In his 1938 book, Bricks Without Straw: The Story of Linfield College, Professor Jonas A. "Steine" Jonasson quotes from the minutes of the college's board of trustees to explain Mrs. Linfield's motivation for her large land gift to the college: "Mrs. Linfield's dual purpose in making the gift to McMinnville College was to 'perpetuate the name, scholarly attainments and Christian influence of her late husband, Rev. George Fisher Linfield, and to promote the cause of Christian education.'"
The Linfield Division of Continuing Education (an Adult Degree Program) began in 1975. Today it serves eight communities in Oregon as well as online degree programs giving working adults the opportunity to complete a bachelor's degree or certificate program.
In 1982, the Linfield College-Portland Campus was established when the college entered into an affiliation with Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital & Medical Center and began offering a bachelor's degree program in nursing.
Linfield offered buyouts to 13 professors in liberal-arts programs with shrinking enrollment in 2019, shortly after President Miles K. Davis arrived. He also announced efforts to shift resources to the nursing and business programs, which account for the majority of students. Those shifts led to strained relationships with some faculty members in the traditional liberals arts disciplines.
The school officially changed its name to Linfield University, effective on July 1, 2020.
Sexual abuse and anti-Semitism allegations
Following sexual abuse charges against a former trustee that involved students in 2017 and 2019, faculty members voted 88 to 18 on a motion of no confidence in David C. Baca, the chair of the college's board of trustees, in May 2020. The board continued to support Baca who offered to resign.
Students then circulated a petition calling for Baca to step down from his position. An outside agency also investigated a claim made by a faculty member of "inappropriate touching" by two trustees.
In April 2021, President Miles K. Davis was accused by several faculty members of making anti-Semitic remarks. Davis denied the allegations in a letter to the Anti-Defamation League, which has suggested an investigation into the claims as well as anti-Semitism and bias training for institutional leaders. An earlier investigation into alleged remarks by Davis substantiated one allegation but was unable to confirm the other claims. One of the faculty members filed a complaint with the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, claiming religious retaliation and harassment by Davis and Baca. On April 19, 2021, faculty members passed a resolution of no confidence in Davis and Baca, and called for their resignations. The college fired one of the whistleblowers, a Jewish tenured professor, who filed a lawsuit against the school. In February, 2023, Linfield reached a $1 million settlement with the fired professor.
In September 2021, Baca stepped down as chair of the board of trustees.
Linfield University grants degrees at the baccalaureate and master's degree level. The institution offers 55 undergraduate majors, 48 minors, 5 graduate degrees and 8 certificate programs, in addition to pre-professional undergraduate programs in health, engineering, business, law and pre-medicine. These academic programs are housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business and the Linfield-Good Samaritan School of Nursing. Its most popular majors, based on 2022 graduates, were:
- Nursing (238)
- Psychology (29)
- Exercise science and kinesiology (20)
- Business administration and management, general (19)
- Marketing/marketing management, general (15)
- Accounting (13)
- Elementary education and teaching (13)
- Sport and fitness administration/management (13)
Linfield also offers a study abroad program through its International Programs Office. It sponsors both semester- and year-long international opportunities, as well as faculty-led January Term courses. Linfield covers the cost of round-trip airfare for a student's first international experience.
A 2015 study from The Economist ranked Linfield 27th nationally out of 1,275 colleges and universities when it came to the economic value of a degree. Also in 2015, Linfield was ranked among the best in the Pacific Northwest when it comes to admitting students from disadvantaged families and helping them move up the economic ladder. The study, "The Equality of Opportunity," was conducted by researchers from University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, Brown University and the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Linfield also ranked as a top liberal arts college in Washington and Oregon in Washington Monthly's "Best Bang for the Buck" list in 2016 and 2017, as well as from 2020-2022. Washington Monthly also identifies Linfield as one of the top liberal arts colleges nationally, including it on its ranking lists in 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Linfield University has been recognized for the social mobility of graduates. In 2022 and 2023, U.S. News & World Report ranked them No. 1 in Oregon for social mobility on its Top Performers on Social Mobility list. Washington Monthly named Linfield the No. 1 Liberal Arts College in Oregon for Earning Performance in 2020 and 2021, as well as the No. 29 Liberal Arts College in the U.S. for Earning Performance. The diversity of Linfield's student body has been recognized by Washington Monthly from 2017-2022, naming the institution on its "Best ethnic diversity among liberal arts colleges in the Pacific Northwest." Linfield has also been recognized for as the Best Liberal Arts College in Oregon for First-Generation Students by Washington Monthly in 2020.
Linfield's efforts towards sustainability earned it a place on Princeton Review's 2023 "Guide to Green Colleges" list.
Linfield's nursing and business programs have received national recognition for their excellence. U.S. News & World Report named Linfield's online business degree among its list of "Best Online Bachelor's in Business Programs" in 2022. The nursing program at the Linfield-Samaritan School of Nursing was ranked among the Best Undergraduate Nursing Programs in 2022 and 2023 by U.S. News & World Report.
Linfield's primary location in McMinnville, Oregon, moved to its present location in 1881. The original location was at 5th and C Street closer to downtown McMinnville. From a marker on the present campus: "...The board of Trustees met on August 2, 1881 and took action which resulted in moving (McMinnville) Linfield College from 5th & C streets to its present location, actuated by the gift of Mr. & Mrs. Samuel Cozine." Pioneer Hall, the oldest building at Linfield University, opened in 1883 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In the late 1990s, the institution acquired a former Hewlett-Packard property adjacent to the McMinnville campus, which more than doubled the size of the campus and opened new opportunities for the school.
The McMinnville campus currently sits at 189 acres and houses the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Business.
Linfield established a presence in Portland, Oregon, in 1982 in historic Northwest Portland. The campus for the Linfield-Good Samaritan School of Nursing was adjacent to the Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center. The Portland Campus became the successor to the Good Samaritan Hospital Diploma School of Nursing, established by Emily Loveridge in 1890.
Linfield University is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Specialized accreditation is granted to individual programs. The Linfield-Good Samaritan School of Nursing is accredited by the Oregon State Board of Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The education program is approved for training of education and secondary teachers by the State of Oregon's Teachers Standards and Practices Commission. Linfield University's music program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, and its athletic training program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education.
Linfield offers varsity sports in baseball, men's basketball, women's basketball, cross-country, football, men's golf, women's golf, women's lacrosse, women's soccer, men's soccer, softball, swimming, women's tennis, men's tennis, track and field, women's volleyball, men's wrestling, and women's wrestling.
Linfield also offers thirteen intramural sports opportunities.
The Linfield Wildcats football team has the longest streak of consecutive winning seasons across all levels of college football. As of 2022[update], the team has had 66 consecutive winning seasons. "The Streak", as it is referred to at Linfield, began in 1956. The Linfield University Special Collections and Archives started an oral history video collection from members of the 1956 football team, which was made available to the public in October 2021.
Famous alumni student-athletes
Top athletics alumni include former New York Yankee Scott Brosius, who was the head baseball coach at the college for eight years until 2015; former San Diego Charger Brett Elliott, the quarterback of the 2004 championship team; and former Miami Dolphins general manager, Randy Mueller, quarterback of Linfield's 1982 NAIA Championship squad.
Linfield has won four national college football titles (NCAA Division III: 2004, NAIA Division II: 1982, 1984, 1986) and have played in a total of seven college football national championship games (NAIA runner-up in 1961, 1965, 1992). In addition, the school has won three national titles in baseball (NCAA Division III: 2013, NAIA Division II: 1966, 1971). The Linfield Softball team won two NCAA Division III Softball Championships in 2007 & 2011, and were runner-up in 2010 & 2012.
|Linfield Wildcats national championships|
|1966||Baseball||Roy Helser||NAIA Division II|
|1971||Baseball||Ad Rutschman||Municipal Stadium, Phoenix, Arizona||NAIA Division II|
|1982||American football||Ad Rutschman||Maxwell Field, McMinnville, Oregon||NAIA Division II|
|1984||American football||Ad Rutschman||Maxwell Field, McMinnville, Oregon||NAIA Division II|
|1986||American football||Ad Rutschman||Maxwell Field, McMinnville, Oregon||NAIA Division II|
|2004||American football||Jay Locey||Salem, Virginia||NCAA Division III|
|2007||Fastpitch softball||Jackson Vaughan||Moyer Sports Complex, Salem, Virginia||NCAA Division III|
|2011||Fastpitch softball||Jackson Vaughan||Moyer Sports Complex, Salem, Virginia||NCAA Division III|
|2013||Baseball||Scott Brosius||Fox Cities Stadium, Appleton, Wisconsin||NCAA Division III|
Linfield University offers over 40 organizations on campus and over 300 leadership positions. The Associated Students of Linfield University (ASLU) or the Wildcat Entertainment Board (WEB) sponsor all clubs and student-led activities.
The Linfield Review
The Linfield Review is Linfield's student-run weekly campus newspaper. The newspaper is staffed only by students of the college and funded mostly through the Associated Students of Linfield University. According to the March 16, 2007, issue of the newspaper, the Linfield Review took third place in the Best in Show contest at the Associated Collegiate Press national college newspaper convention in Portland. In 2021, the publication received 10 awards from the Pacific Northwest Association of Journalism Educators for its website and individual pieces of content by the student staff. Outgoing editor Maddie Loverich was received the 2021 Region 10 Mark of Excellence Award for sports writing (small division) for her article, "Freshman makes big impact for Linfield softball."
Linfield Pawdcast Network
This student-run club promotes the creation, production and recording of original podcasts by Linfield students and employees. The Linfield Pawdcat Network is run out of the Student Media Center in Renshaw Hall, the location of the former student-run radio station, 90.3 KSLC. Linfield offered its first podcasting class as part of its Department of Journalism and Media Studies in spring 2021. Kendall Harrison and Nathaly Sanchez received honorable mentions in the NPR Podcast Challenge in April 2021. In 2023, Mackenzie Kulick had a podcast episode place third in the "Specialty Program and Podcasts" category of the Broadcast Educators Association's Festival of Media Arts' Student Audio Competition.
As of 2021[update], there are three fraternities and four sororities at Linfield University. The sororities are Alpha Phi (ΑΦ), Zeta Tau Alpha (ΖΤΑ), Sigma Kappa Phi (ΣΚΦ), and Phi Sigma Sigma (ΦΣΣ). The fraternities include Delta Psi Delta (ΔΨΔ), Pi Kappa Alpha (ΠΚΑ), and Theta Chi (ΘΧ). Sigma Kappa Phi and Delta Psi Delta are both local organizations and have no national affiliation. The sororities at Linfield University do not have housing.
The annual Camas Festival started in 2021 and is held during the first weekend of May. Linfield started the festival in partnership with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and the Yamhill Watershed Council to celebrate camas, or camassia plant, which was once prolific in the region and a prolific food source for the local tribes. Linfield's McMinnville campus has a patch of camas growing on it that faculty and students have restored and hope to propagate. The festival features tours of the Cozine Creek area where the camas grows, as well as other educational and cultural tables and activities.
Edith Green Distinguished Lectureship
This recurring event was named in honor of Congresswoman Edith Green, who served as a trustee for Linfield College starting in 1970. The inaugural event was held in 1988, when former President Gerald Ford delivered the keynote speech.
Oregon Nobel Laureate Symposium
Former Linfield President Charles Walker secured several grants in 1981 to endow a permanent endowment fund dedicated to bringing Nobel laureates to McMinnville. The symposium evolved out of a lecture series organized by Bill Apel, then the campus chaplain and religious studies professor, who had coordinated smaller events on the topic of world peace. Apel organized the Oregon Nobel Laureate Symposium from 1986-1991, when it stopped being an annual event. Past Nobel Prize winners who have spoken at the symposium include Elie Wiesel in 1988, Franco Modigliani in 1989, Oscar Arias in 1998, Jose Ramos-Horta in 2000, and Harold Kroto in 2011. After a 10-year hiatus, the Oregon Nobel Laureate Symposium returned in 2023 featuring Nobel Prize for physics winners William D. Phillips and David J. Wineland.
Wildstock is an end-of-the-year concert and celebration for the student body, held in early May. The concert is free for students. Past performers have included country music duo Dan + Shay in 2018, hip-hop artist Marc E. Bassy in 2019, and country star Chris Lane in 2023.
Community events at Linfield
In addition to the institution-organized events, Linfield University is home to multiple other community events held throughout the year. This includes:
- International Pinot Noir Celebration is held in late July. Started in 1987, the event is a three-day celebration of Pinot Noir and its winemakers.
- Les Schwab Bowl, Oregon's all-star high school football game, is held during the summer at Memorial Stadium.
- Mente Summit is organized by nonprofit Mente, which promotes higher education for Latinx men. The event features workshops and a college fair. At the close of the summit, 20 students are awarded with $1,000 scholarships.
Notable people who have attended or taught at Linfield University include athletes such as Scott Brosius, former New York Yankee and 1998 World Series MVP; Kenneth Scott Latourette, scholar of Christianity and Chinese History; Douglas Robinson, translation theorist; Amy Tan, the author of The Joy Luck Club, The Bonesetter's Daughter, and The Kitchen God's Wife; First Lieutenant Rex T. Barber, pilot in Operation Vengeance; actress Aparna Brielle; and Joe Medicine Crow, Native American historian and the only Linfield University graduate to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
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