Skip to Main Content Skip to Footer Toggle Navigation Menu

A message from Linfield University President Miles K. Davis.

We are the United States of America

President Miles K. Davis

Posted on 11.01.20 by Miles K. Davis in College of Arts & Science, School of Business, School of Nursing

Nearly everyone I talk with this fall asks how we are doing in terms of response to the pandemic.

I relish telling them how mature our students have been, how professional our faculty and staff are in making the best of a difficult situation and how, for the most part, we’re doing okay. More than once, someone has responded with some version of the following: “It makes sense Linfield students would be faring better than those at other universities. You get a special kind of student there.”

I never disagree with them on the point.

I’m writing today, on the eve of next week’s presidential election, to ask us to be a special kind of community in another way. We know it is a historically polarized moment. There will be many who appeal loudly to tribalism, who seek to divide rather than unite. Don’t be tempted by their clarion call. No matter who wins political races locally, regionally or nationally, we are better than that.

In this environment, many people are being asked to define themselves by a “D” or an “R” on their voter registration. The designation to some means more than just a political affiliation. It has become a source of identity so strong they reject associations with those who don’t share it. People are unfriending and unfollowing those who offer a perspective different than their own. Some have stopped speaking to friends or family members over politics.

Such an unwillingness to engage with people who believe differently does not serve the nation well. It does not serve Linfield well, either.

Wisely, Linfield University’s mission includes a number of statements in direct opposition to those who would seek to divide us along these lines:

Linfield University advances a vision of learning, life and community that

  • Promotes intellectual challenge and creativity
  • Values both theoretical and practical knowledge
  • Engages thoughtful dialogue in a climate of mutual respect
  • Honors the rich texture of diverse cultures and varied ways of understanding
  • Piques curiosity for a lifetime of inquiry

The Linfield community is not a collection of Republicans and Democrats. It is a community of those who aspire to be more than a label, of those who work together for a world better than we ourselves inherited. My call to you today is that we continue to live out the mission of this fine institution and see ourselves as Linfield Wildcats, one and all.

Former President Barack Obama once said, “We are not a collection of red states and blue states. We are the United States of America.” He was right, even if we sometimes forget. Whatever happens next Tuesday, and in the days and weeks that follow, my request to the Linfield community is that we not allow ourselves to forget. That we embrace the best in our natures, remember that we’re all in this grand democratic experiment together and show empathy and understanding to those in our community who might not share our political beliefs.

We are the change we seek. We are part of a truly wonderful teaching and learning community. We are the United States of America.

Be well and be blessed,

Miles K. Davis
Linfield University President