Tuesday, January 29, 2019



By Starla Pointer
Jan 28, 2019
McMinnville News-Register

Linfield College confirmed Monday morning it will “eliminate some faculty positions” next year in an effort to balance the budget, affected by enrollment declines over the past few years.

President Miles Davis did not specify how many faculty members will be eliminated or from which areas or departments the cuts will come. However, he said the result will be more consistent with the actual enrollment of 1,240 students than with an enrollment of 1,600, on which current staffing is based.

Davis announced the expected cuts in a memo to the staff, faculty and other members of the Linfield community Monday morning.

He said the college is going through a process of “academic prioritization” to assess and allocate its resources. Every aspect of the school is being examined, he said.

“Decisions could not just be about reacting to our current circumstances, but also how we position the college for a sustainable future,” Davis said in his memo.

Reflecting a nationwide trend in college enrollment, Linfield’s student body has declined about 19 percent over the last five years. Tuition and fees make up 92 percent of the private college’s revenue, Davis said, so enrollment declines result directly in smaller budgets.

The shortfall this year reached $3 million.

Davis has spoken numerous times in recent months about the need to enroll more students. The college is implementing a variety of strategies toward this end, including increased recruiting, targeting first generation college students, offering more services for veterans and redoubling recruiting efforts aimed at transfers and non-traditional students.

In addition, he has discussed belt-tightening efforts started almost four years before he joined the college, which have included eliminating some administrative and non-faculty staff positions and freezing hiring; reducing retirement benefits and raises; reducing capital spending; cutting department budgets; and increasing tuition.

Last fall, the college offered early retirement packages to faculty members nearing retirement age. Recipients of the offers had until early January to decide.

Ten people accepted the early retirement offers, a college representative said Monday.

In his Monday memo, Davis said Provost Susan Agre-Kippenhan and Chief Financial Officer Mary Ann Rodriguez will continue working with faculty in deciding staffing changes.

He called for “an open, engaged, transparent process.”

“These are not easy decisions to make,” he wrote. “It will be difficult for both the Linfield community at large and for each person who will be directly affected.

“However,” he continued, “in the absence of academic prioritization, we cannot move forward as an institution.

Linfield College has limited financial resources and those resources must be allocated in a way that allows us to get through both our present challenges and position us for further growth.”

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Final Linfield men’s basketball game in Riley Gym, Feb. 18, 1989

Final Linfield men’s basketball game in Riley Gym: 
Dec 21, 1921 – Feb. 18, 1989 
Click on each image for larger, easier to see/read version.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Remembering ‘The Waldorf’

Day before the burn in summer 1968.

Officially it was “Laurel Hall” or “Laurel Apartments,” a Linfield College residence hall for men. But, later it was called “The Waldorf.”

Why “The Waldorf?” It was a tongue in cheek nickname in honor of the Waldorf Astoria luxury hotel in Manhattan, New York City. The Waldorf of Linfield was anything but luxurious.
Bill Hammel, Pete Dengenis, John Ekemo, Dick Bushnell. Oct. 2013.

After World War II there was an influx to Linfield and other colleges and universities across the state and nation of students who had served in the U.S. military. The former service members used the federal G. I. Bill to help pay for college.

Because of this influx there was a need for campus housing for these military veterans, their spouses and families.

A story in the Oct. 28, 1947, edition of the Linfield Review student newspaper said, “Government surplus buildings moved to colleges was part of a government plan to enroll … veterans (in) institutions of higher learning. Linfield was allotted 25,330 square feet (of building space). It is known as the Veteran's Educational Facilities Program.”

Linfield Review 1967.

Maxwell Field. Memorial Stadium. Ed Griffin. John Lee. The Waldorf.

At Linfield this need was met by moving barracks from U.S. Army Camp Adair near Corvallis to the Linfield campus. Or, according to a Review March 30, 1967, story The Waldorf was “one of six G.I. barracks brought from the Portland Air Base.” Take your pick: Camp Adair or Portland Air Base.

Win Dolan, longtime Linfield faculty member and administrator, recalled the former barracks as serving a need “such as they were,” according to a story in the McMinnville News-Register.

Marilyn Stow Crouser, Linfield Class of 1958, told Wildcatville she recalled Linfield’s G. I. housing during her 1954-1958 studies at the college. “G.I. housing was mostly where Dillin Hall cafeteria and the athletic/p.e. building are now,” she said. “There was also G.I. housing across from Latourette Hall, where I lived.”

At some point the number of G. I. housing units dwindled to one. The former barrack was painted light green and it was named “Laurel” for the huge laurel bushes adjacent to it on Lever Street near what is the secondary entrance to Memorial Stadium/Maxwell Field.

Exactly when and how The Waldorf nickname was given to Laurel Hall is lost to history. But it is known resident Johnny Bill “Moon” Self climbed to its roof and painted “THE WALDORF” in large red letters on it. (See photo.)

The Waldorf had about 24-26 students living in seven apartments. It included a TV room, laundry, and resident advisor’s room. Each apartment had two bedrooms with two residents in each bedroom (with bunk beds), a combination living-dining room, bathroom and a kitchenette.

A story about The Waldorf in the March 30, 1967, Review, said 1966-1967 residents of The Waldorf were Bob Sullivan, Aggie Agajanian, Dick Horner, Dan Briner, Doug White, Warren Youel, Terry Miller, Steve Smith, Johnny Bill “Moon” Self, Mark Oberson, Richard Handley, Bill Helbig, Lowell Dayton, John McClaskey, Kim Vanatter, Ken Snoddy, Chuck Freeman, Tom DePue, Keith Shriver, Mike Kolin, Jim Kimber, Rocky Reed, Bob Daggett, Bill Hayden, Bruce Eckhardt and Allen Yap.

Some residents left The Waldorf and others were added for its final academic year, 1967-1968. In addition to some of those listed above, those living in The Waldorf then included Odis Avritt, Tim Danchok, Sonny Jepson, John Ekemo, Terry Miller, Dick Bushnell, Bill Hammel, Tom Busick, Fred Lavarias, Dennis Okimoto and Mike Achong. (Jepson said another resident of The Waldorf part of that academic year was Bill Lownsberry. Den Surles says Tom Busik and Bob Mink were The Waldorf residents, too.)

The resident advisor for The Waldorf was Pete Dengenis, Linfield Class of 1964. He served in that role after returning to campus in 1967 to complete a master’s degree (earned in 1968) and serve as Linfield assistant football coach.

Looking back, Ekemo, Linfield Class of 1969, an alum of The Waldorf, said Dengenis “tried to keep us (Waldorf residents) in line, but that was a losing battle at times.”

During the 1967-1968 Linfield academic year, The Waldorf residents learned their residence was likely going to be closed because “New Dorm” would open the next fall.
During the burn. John Ekemo outside where his room was located in The Waldorf. 

The Waldorf up in flames summer 1968. 

New Dorm is now Frerichs Hall, a student residence hall, not to be confused with the original Frerichs Hall, a former G. I. building (where Murdock Hall is now located) on campus which housed Linfield’s theater, student radio station and speech and drama classrooms and faculty offices. In 1969, Frerichs was destroyed by fire caused by an overheated chimney.

A story, “Waldorf Residents Content; Want Building to Remain,” in the March 28, 1968, Linfield Review said residents wanted to “keep their happy home.” Warren Youel described The Waldorf residents as a “close-knit group … like a fraternity.”

In 2019, Sonny Jepson told Wildcatville, “… I feel very fortunate to have lived there my freshman year. I still have fond memories, including the friendships” of those of us who lived in The Waldorf.

In a 1967 Review story, Dengenis said Linfield “dorms are sterile like hospitals … all the rooms are the same.” But, The Waldorf rooms were different. Plus, he said there was a lot of “friendship and union” among those living there.

Linfield President Harry Dillin told the 1967 Review reasons why The Waldorf should close included:

  1. It was classified by the college as substandard housing.
  2. The college has built/will build New Dorm to replace it.
  3. It does not grace the campus.
  4. The location of The Waldorf is needed for physical education expansion.
An April 25, 1968, Linews student newspaper story said The Waldorf would “definitely be phased out as a new dormitory” for the 1968-1969 academic year. Phasing out was an understatement.

It was fate which put Ekemo on campus to watch and photograph The Waldorf burning down in late July or early August 1968 as a McMinnville Fire Dept. training exercise approved by the college.

“I would have been home in Cordova, Alaska. But I attended both Linfield summer school sessions in 1968 because my Dad wanted me to get enough credits to graduate in four years,” he said.

All of those living in The Waldorf vacated it at the end of spring semester 1968. That summer in McMinnville, John and roommate Mike Easterly (not an alum of The Waldorf) lived in an off campus apartment, about a 10 minute walk from Linfield.

Ekemo said while there was a “general campus buzz” during the summer about the fact The Waldorf was to be burned down, not many people came to watch.” In fact, Ekemo and Easterly may have been the only students to witness the burn.

Ekemo said burning down The Waldorf didn’t make him sad. He saw it as a “passing of an era.”

Burn day was sunny with temperature in the mid-70s.

The fire department “set the fire in various spots so it went up pretty uniformly. They let it burn pretty much too the ground without a lot of water on it.”

In a 1968 Review story, Ken Williams, dean of men, said The Waldorf was tentatively scheduled to be burned down in the summer of 1967. “But the weather was too dry to permit it,” the story said. “Around July, the college found itself with 56 men enrolled without housing.” So, The Waldorf was renovated and “put back into service. Williams said (The Waldorf) will be used for one more year and then replaced by a new dorm.”

The Waldorf went from a happy home for Linfield students to ashes. But, the fiery end of it did not extinguish good memories for those who lived in it.


–In addition to the former G. I. barracks, there were non-residence buildings at Linfield which had World War II military roots:

=A story in Linfield Magazine said, "In 1947 a surplus theatre from the Portland Air Base was moved to the site now occupied by Murdock Hall. Music joined journalism and radio communications, speech and theatre in this new home. First called the Fine Arts Building, the facility was re-named Frerichs Hall in 1957." In 1969, Frerichs was destroyed by fire caused by an overheated chimney.

=Taylor Hall, now home of mathematics, was originally a mess hall located at the Portland Air Base. It was moved in 1946 or 1947 to Linfield.

=Cozine Hall, formerly home of Linfield facility services and now home of public safety.

–Jepson told Wildcatville in 2019 that The Waldorf 1967-1968 residents were informed of the fate of The Waldorf in a meeting conducted by Dengenis. “Initially we thought it was because we were charged slightly less for our rooms, due to the fact there were 3-4 people per room, versus the traditional 2-per room.” Residents told Dengenis “we were willing to pay the same (room rate) as other students, thinking that drove the college's decision” to close The Waldorf. Dengenis said that was not an option. The Waldorf would be destroyed because the McMinnville Fire Dept. had determined the building unsafe, and had condemned it, primarily due to the electrical wiring, he told them. 

-- Even though The Waldorf was gone, the “great camaraderie” which Ekemo said existed among its residents continued. Those who returned for the 1968-1969 academic year moved en masse into New Dorm/Frerichs (across Lever Street and in eyeshot of where The Waldorf was located) and enjoyed being together again, he said.


--March 30, 1967, Review photos taken inside and outside The Waldorf.

--Late July or early August 1968. The Waldorf at Linfield the day before it was burned down in a McMinnville Fire Dept. training exercise. Photo by former The Waldorf resident John Ekemo, Linfield Class of 1969.

--July or August 1968. During the McMinnville Fire Dept. training exercise burning down The Waldorf. John Ekemo stands outside window of The Waldorf in room he shared with Dick Bushnell, Bill Helbig and Lowell Dayton. Photo by Mike Easterly.

--Photo taken by Wildcatville in October 2013 shows Waldorf alumni (left to right) Bill Hammel, Pete Dengenis (resident advisor), John Ekemo and Dick Bushnell holding a poster sized photo of The Waldorf near where, next to Memorial Stadium/Maxwell Field, The Waldorf was located.

--Linfield football players #31 Ed Griffin (Linfield Class of 1968, should be a Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame member) and #85 John Lee (Linfield Class of 1967, a Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame member) with The Waldorf in background. Upper right hand corner. They're on Maxwell Field with Memorial Stadium behind them.

Read more about Ed and John here:


McMinnville N-R photo below from a Linfield home track meet in April 1968. See The Waldorf in the background. 

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Linfield President Miles Davis champions Linfield athletics, McMinnville N-R story by Linfielder Rusty Rae

Davis champions Linfield athletics

By Rusty Rae
McMinnville News-Register 
Dec 28, 2018

If you’re a fan of Linfield athletics and worried newly-seated Linfield College President Miles Davis might eliminate sports programs, relax. Davis not only understands the importance of athletics in the complete education of a student, but hopes more students would join the competition.

“I wish more students who don’t compete understand that they would have a better experience at Linfield if they did,” said Davis, not quite six months into his first year as president.

“Students who are in better physical shape tend to have better mental conditioning because the cardiovascular system allows the blood to flow over the brain better in order to process information in a different way,” Davis added. “Not only that, but the opportunity for the team experience – developing leadership skills, camaraderie, hard work – are all part of the athletic experience at Linfield helping fully develop students.”

Davis views athletics as one of the keys for improving enrollment at the institution. At this time, he doesn’t believe there will be significant changes to athletics to balance the budget.

“We have to invest in programs that grow and generate funds and contain those that are draining resources. Students come here because they want to be part of an athletic team. If you cut off things that help generate revenue you impact your ability to balance budgets in the future. Quite frankly, there was a budget cut that was taken for athletics last year – and I’ll stop there.”

Davis appreciates the history of athletic excellence at Linfield. He notes that last fall, he dropped in (in disguise) on the Wildcat playoff football game against Hardin-Simmons, where he had a chance to witness the ‘Cats demolish the Cowboys.

“It’s a great story and a great tradition – particularly when you look at football. But I also had a chance to talk with an athlete from the basketball team who had received a scholarship (for grad school). What Linfield offers isn’t a sports school nor is it a school for brainy kids – it’s a school for kids who want a quality education – who are going to do great things – and who, by the way, want to play athletics. That’s a powerful combination.”

While Davis notes many schools use their athletic programs as straight recruiting tools. “Linfield does both – we offer a quality education which in turn produces quality athletes,” he said.

In terms of recruiting athletes to Linfield, Davis is unabashed in his opinion that many athletes who pursue a DI or DII career would have a much greater college experience playing at a DIII school like Linfield rather than riding the bench at the upper-level schools.

He’s actually met with potential student-athletes and their parents (at the request of coaches) to describe the Linfield advantage – quality education and tradition of athletic excellence. He adds, “It’s a hard sell. I went through this with my daughter. At the institution I was at before, they had a great program in a major she wanted, and the soccer coach wanted her.

“She would have had a much more positive experience coming to a DIII school, even if her dad was there as a dean, than going to a Division One school and dealing with a coach who treated her in a way I don’t appreciate,” he said.

His personal experience with the recruiting process allows him insight he hopes will assist Wildcat coaches in attracting top-tier athletes who can flourish at a school like Linfield.

Davis, who is the founding director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship at his former institution, Shenandoah University, will add the entrepreneurial spirit to the task, though he notes, “We can inform them – both the student athlete and the parents – what it is like to be a part of the DIII experience. But it has to be something that the kid wants – and, quite frankly, it’s not just athletics, we have to offer the programs that are relevant to that person.”

A part of that education, according to Davis, is to let the student-athlete and their parents know that DI programs often recruit kids for their intelligence, knowing they will likely never see a great deal of playing time, but will raise the team’s grade point average.

High in importance, notes Davis, involves selling the school to the parents, as well.

“You have to convince people of the quality of the education. Why don’t players, who would clearly be better off, come to DIII schools? There needs to be a different conversation with the parents. The parents are saying my son got a scholarship to this particular institution – and that gives them bragging rights – even though the cost would have been less if they just came here in the first place,” he said.

Furthermore, Davis believes athletes attending Linfield must be students, too.

“(Students) have to come here understanding they’re going to have to study. The reality is that the kid can be an exceptionally good athlete, but may not be a good fit for Linfield. They’re students here, so they have to integrate into the community – it’s very important for them to find the right fit,” he explained.

Linfield athletes represent far more than simply players on the field to Davis. “These men and women are great representatives of Linfield in the community. For example, the basketball team takes part in the Bounty of the County,” he said.

Davis, however, did find himself embroiled in an athletic controversy. The athletic department was taken to task by nine members of the volleyball team who quit over what they termed being bullied by head coach Josh Davis. The former players have subsequently filed a Title IX suit against the college.

Growing up on the south side of Philadelphia, the president noted Coach Davis’ methods were the standard in his day, while adding there are always some rough waters in a coaching change. However, he also made it clear, “Student-athletes must feel they are in a safe environment and that’s why we are going through a complete review by the HR team.”

Davis’ athletic career was cut short by an injury, but the Linfield president resembles one of the ‘Cats’ running backs in waiting. His frame is rock-solid, and he notes, “One of the things I learned, particularly after being in traction, you have to take care of yourself. You can’t take care of other people if you don’t take care of yourself. Consequently, I get up at 5:45 am and work out.

“I have two simple goals in life: One is forever to see and touch my toes – the measure of my overall health and wellness. I also have a number of genetic markers in my family that predispose me to several diseases I can control through proper exercise and diet – so I try to stay fit,” he said.

Davis realizes Linfield must update its program. Of the current facilities, Davis noted, “They’re adequate – but adequate is not where we need to be. They need to be better. I’d like to make them better and all we need is money. Anyone reading this article and has a couple of million they want to share. . .

“At one time, the facilities at Linfield were state of the art. But the science of training – now you can go old-school training – anyone who has seen any of the Rocky movies or the new Creed II knows you can go old-school training. But when you are trying to recruit for those programs – yes, we have an adequate football stadium – there is no box to host donors. And this is Oregon – and even though it is a beautiful day today, it has been known to rain on occasion. There are things that need to be done to upgrade the facilities to make us more appealing. I would say it is an investment that needs to be made – it’s just how do we get the money to make that investment,” he said.

Davis appears to agree with Linfield athletic director Garry Killgore’s vision to develop an athletic facility – a stadium-exercise-science center – that students and athletes alike can use. It’s simply a matter of time for Davis to find funds and partnerships to make his vision a reality.

Support for athletics at Linfield takes many forms, but one way Davis chooses to support ‘Cat competitions is simply by being at the games. 

He’s a regular at many venues, including Linfield basketball games, where you’ll not only see him, but also his family cheering the Wildcats. It’s also been an opportunity for Davis to become acquaintance with members of the greater Linfield community, both young and old. “It’s one of the most important things that I do in support of teams,” he said.

A change in the reporting protocol also establishes a stronger level of communication between the administration and coaching staff. 

Today, under Davis’ leadership, all coaches have a dotted-line relationship with the president, something they didn’t have in the past which Davis hopes will strengthen all programs.

Like all true Wildcats, he takes great pride in the achievement of the football team, but he also says, “The football tradition should be the tradition across all the fields of play.”

That is Davis’ ultimate vision for Linfield athletics.