Duquesne graduate makes history at Linfield College in Oregon

Courtesy of Yamhill Valley News Register
Miles Davis, a 1991 Duquesne graduate, has already made a mark as he’s set to become the first black president at Linfield.

Liza Zulick | Staff Writer

02/08/18

One Duquesne graduate is blazing a path through Linfield College’s history as he becomes their first black president. On July 1, 2018, Miles Davis will take the official title of the president of Linfield College in Oregon, the 20th in the institution’s 160 year history.

After beginning school at Duquesne University in 1979, he left one credit short of graduating to join the Navy. It was not until 1991 when Davis received his bachelor’s degree in communications. He later returned to school and achieved a doctorate in human and organizational sciences from George Washington University and a master’s degree in human resource development from Bowie State University.

“I have very fine memories of Duquesne University. I am grateful for my education getting me to where I am today,” Davis said.

Thomas L. Hellie, the current president of Linfield College, is retiring after 12 years. Over 100 applicants were considered for the position. A search committee made up of faculty members, employees and the student body president had a vote in who was chosen.

“We were looking to continue our history of stable leadership and find a candidate who would stay with Linfield for seven to 12 years, and someone who is grounded in the liberal arts, which is what Linfield works and strives for, and someone who is looking to the future,” said Kerry Carmody, chair of the Presidential Search Committee.

Once the choices were narrowed down to two, the candidates were given the opportunity to visit each branch of Linfield College, the main campus in McMinnvile and the Linfield Good Samaritan School of Nursing in Portland, and speak with students, faculty and board members.

“One of the things that I enjoyed doing was speaking to the students,” said Davis. “Thinking back to my time at Duquesne there were great students. You always want great people to hang out with. All of the students were so inquisitive and that impressed me.”

Davis will soon take his position as president as soon as the 2017 spring semester is complete.

“I want to focus on making sure Linfield maintains its ranking and continue to improve and make sure the school will remain financially stable, but also provide students, who were just like me, the help to afford it,” said Davis. “I actually left school in very little student debt, which helped me start a very good life, and I want to bring that to Linfield to help those students.”

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