New VP believes education is key

Samantha Sigler

After months of searching, Linfield has a new Vice President for Finance and Administration.

Mary Ann Rodriguez, who will assume the position on Dec. 9, has worked in higher education for over 20 years and is currently the Vice President for Administration and Finance at California State University.

“I was truly impressed,” Rodriguez said in an email. “Linfield College is a high-quality Liberal Arts institution with a strong academic and student focused reputation, and is located in one of the best areas of Oregon.”

Rodriguez began working in higher education due to her belief that higher education is the primary path in attaining the “American Dream” and upward mobility for individuals in communities.

“Working at a state university where access to this education became the focus of my work allowed me to truly understand the transformational change that occurs by having a college education,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez was selected after a search committee, consisting of about a dozen various representatives of different sectors of the college, conducted several stages of interviews. Senior Dillon Casados, Associated Students of Linfield College president, was a part of the selection committee along with Thomas L. Hellie, Linfield president, who chaired the search committee.

With over 50 applicants, the process included inviting the top seven applicants for 75-minute interviews with the Linfield search committee at the Portland International Airport and conducting two-day interviews with the three final applicants.

“It was a long, complicated process,” Hellie said. “We had a very strong pool of candidates…so it was a tough decision for a good reason.”

Throughout the two-day interview, the finalists for the position made several public presentations, after which the search committee invited anyone who encountered the finalists to fill out a survey and send their impressions of the applicants to the search committee. The search committee received over 150 responses, many of which gave a positive review of Rodriguez.

“Everyone who had worked with her talked about how consultative she is,” Hellie said. “She [also] seemed especially interested in our students. She was interested in meeting them and always asked questions about them. She understood that our mission begins with educating students.”

Rodriguez plans on simply listening to students, faculty and staff to find out more about Linfield and what their needs are once she assumes her position.

“I don’t plan on making any changes until after thoughtful consultation with members of the college community,” Rodriguez said. “As for change, Linfield has a strong leadership team, and over next few years I am sure there will be change, but not without discussion and collaboration with all involved.”

Samantha Sigler / Editor-in-chief

Samantha Sigler can be reached at [email protected].