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The top of Pioneer Hall through vibrant fall leaves on the trees.


Elie Wiesel speaks at a podium in 1988The Oregon Nobel Laureate Symposium brings together the genius of the world's Nobel Prize winners and the excellence of one of America's finest small colleges. It is a time of intellectual excitement and enrichment, a meeting of great minds and eager students. Dedicated to the spirit of Alfred Nobel's goal to expand the frontiers of human knowledge for the benefit of the world, the symposium is one of only five such convocations held worldwide. 

Since the Symposium's establishment in 1985, the foresight and generosity of patrons have brought more than a dozen Nobel laureates and numerous other speakers of remarkable achievement to Linfield University.  The result has been an ongoing Northwest dialog with some of the world's most stimulating thinkers.  

Free public lectures form the centerpiece of each symposium. Informal exchanges and discussions in small groups of scholars, citizens and students add to the atmosphere of intellectual excitement and discovery. While the public is welcome at most symposium activities, a special bond develops between speakers and Linfield faculty and students. 

The first symposium was made possible at Linfield by a major gift from an anonymous donor. Contributions from other individuals, corporations and foundations have helped create and continue to build the Oregon Nobel Laureate Symposium Fund as a permanent endowment.  

In addition to sponsoring the Oregon Nobel Laureate Symposium, Linfield University regularly brings internationally known writers, artists and civic leaders to campus for presentations that are open to the public and free of charge.

By Rich Schmidt, director of Linfield Archives

The world's genius in McMinnville

“There was a time in the 1980s and ’90s when Linfield regularly hosted some of the highest-profile speakers on the planet. As Linfield looks back on its first symposium in a decade, it’s worth looking at how it all began.”