By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Linfield graduates 700 plus

Marcus Larson/News-Register##After the ceremony, graduates Kaila Nip and Andre Conn give each other congratulatory leis and hugs.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##After the ceremony, graduates Kaila Nip and Andre Conn give each other congratulatory leis and hugs.

The new graduates had competed bachelor’s degrees on the McMinnville campus, at the nursing school in Portland or through online and adult degree programs.

Now they all came together, dressed in black robes and bedazzled mortarboards, to accept their diplomas. Each carried a symbolic acorn, received when they started school, to drop into a bowl made from wood from the Old Oak.

Daniel Davis. Christopher J. Haddeland. Brandon Harris. Tessa Henry. Michelle Lynn Hubbard ...

Thousands of family members and other supporters filled the bleachers to watch the graduation. They carried balloons, flowers, signs and a few umbrellas to ward off the intense sun.

College chaplain Dave Massey welcomed the crowd with a prayer. In it, he referred to the death of student Parker Moore, who was fatally stabbed off campus last fall. The Class of 2015 and their fellow students have become closer during this difficult year, he said, emerging “Linfield strong.”

President Thomas Hellie also gave a welcome. He noted that he especially appreciates the sense of community among students, supporters and alumni.

Piper Diane Jahnke. Jules Dylan Ouray Johnson. Katie Bell Krieger. Lukas A. Kleinman ...

Pilar and Mark Kleinman of Vancouver, Wash., cheered as their son crossed the stage to receive his degree in business management. His grandfather, Edwin, cheered too.

Lukas had a great time at Linfield, his family said. In addition to his studies, the A-student played on the tennis team all four years.

“This was the perfect school for him, with nice, small classes,” Pilar Kleinman. “He blossomed.”

They planned a family dinner after graduation. Soon, his mother said, Lukas will be off to San Diego State University for graduate school.

Hannah Marie Lavish. Michael Fraizer Nardoni. Sarah Ann Neeld. Emily Ostbo. Joseph R. Paysinger ...

Before the students turned their tassels, indicating they had graduated, a 1973 Linfield alumna gave them some advice.

Gale Castillo is an outstanding example of a Linfield graduate, Hellie said in his introduction of the keynote speaker. She is known for her leadership and success in her field, and for helping others. She is a Linfield trustee, as well as one of the founders of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Castillo gave graduates six rules for success: Believe in yourself. Determine who you are -- don’t let others decide for you. Understand the power of relationships. Seize opportunities. Support your team members, which will lead to more success for everyone. Understand that integrity is the most important part of your personal brand.

She encouraged graduates as they begin their post-college life. “You’ve had great preparation,” she said. “You can be a leader in your community and make a better world for you and your children.”

Ines L. Pena. Sarah K. Posey. Carlie Taylor Price. Mauri Lee Price. Kailana E. Ritte-Camara ...

Kailana’s family from Molakai and friends cheered from the back bleachers. She’s a terrific volleyball player, said her mom, Scarlet. In fact, it was her high school volleyball coach, a Linfield graduate, who inspired her to go to college in Oregon, her mom said.

The psychology major plans to return to her home island after earning a master’s degree. Fluent in the Hawaiian language, she wants to work with native cultural immersion programs, friends said.

Sally and Doug Orsel drove from Coos Bay for Kailana’s graduation. They met her parents in Hawaii last year and soon became part of the big extended family.

It was their second trip to Linfield to see Kailani. They attended the luau last month, as well.

“We enjoy McMinnville,” Sally Orsel said. “It’s beautiful, and the people are so nice.”

Carrie M. Skuzeki. Kristi Strong. Curtis Terry. David Edward Wilken. Dawn Marie Wyruchowski.

Dawn’s grandmother, Marian Larsen of Bellevue, Wash., applauded proudly.

“She’s a wonderful girl, a lifelong Girl Scout, a great student, she loves to travel...” Larsen said, ticking off just a few of her granddaughter’s qualities.

Dawn majored in English and minored in Japanese, winning honors in both subjects, Larsen said.

She spent a semester in Japan, as well as taking study trips to other countries. Soon she will return to Japan to teach English there.

Not everyone in a robe Sunday morning was a member of the Class of 2015. Faculty members marched into the graduation, as well, including retiring professors Michael Jones and Robert McCann.

So did “golden grads,” those who received diplomas 50 or more years ago.

Harold Tanaka. Marvin Walker. Diana Allado Younker. Thomas Younker. Robert Ferguson ...

“Bob is so handsome!” said his wife, Ardi Ferguson, who’d been waiting to for a glimpse of the 1965 graduate.

Bob played football for the Wildcats, earning all-America honors. But he missed his Linfield graduation because he had to leave campus before commencement to report to officer training school in the Marine Corps.

Ardi continued, graduating with the Class of 1968. She worked as a flight attendant for United Airlines.

She was still taking classes when her husband, a captain who flew F-4s, deployed to Vietnam.

One day, she said, she came home to their house next to the old skating rink to find several Marines waiting for her. They told her Bob had been badly burned in a troop carrier explosion, but was expected to survive.

He fully recovered and they’ve had a wonderful life together, she said. In a couple years, she plans to join him amongst the golden grads.

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