Hellie addresses impact of smaller freshman class in state of college address


Megan Ditore/staff

President Hellie gives his annual state of the college address Ice auditorium on Sept. 12.

Megan Ditore, News editor

President Hellie discussed the impact on the college by having a smaller than normal freshman class and how the college plans to advertise more of what Linfield has to offer as well as his goals for the college in his annual state of the college addess today in Ice auditorium.

He started his speech with a metaphor, talking about a recent time when he went to walk his dog the other Saturday when he saw a tree close to Melrose was smoking. He rushed back to his home and called CPS and the fire was quickly put out. He compared this to how the college is going to deal with the latest setbacks.

A major setback to the college is that this year’s freshman class was projected to have 470 students  and only has 400 students. Further, while there is an 82 percent retention rate of class of 2019, this year’s sophomores, it is still lower than was hoped for. He was however excited about the number of transfer students that Linfield gained.

With the number of students about five percent lower than last year, estimated at this point, not the final number, the school’s largest source of revenue is down. Hellie said that the school is working to figure out why the freshman class is so much smaller. He said that they are going to “control what we can control.”

Hellie also said that he wants to address the problems at the college as well as the triumphs in a strategic, specific and forthright way.

Linfield is going to and already has invested more money into its website, academic scholarships are being reconstructed and more data is going to be archived. Linfield is also going to be advertised more. Hellie said he is planning to triple the amount of times the college goes to Seattle to advertise to potential new students. “Linfield is too modest, we should increase our profile,” Hellie said.

Hellie also said that we need to market all of the great opportunities offered at the college like the nursing, business and athletic training programs.

He also addressed the Online and Continuing Education program and said that it still brings in an important net revenue to the college but it is just less than normal this year.

There have also been other differences in the budget this year, a significant one being minimum wage is now $9.75 in Oregon. This has decreased the hours of some work study students who are important to the success of the college. To this Hellie said, “I applaud and support the changes.”

In the long term he thinks the changes will be good, in the short term however he wishes the college were given more time to plan. “We have to respond promptly and effectively,” he also said that the college will have to “be more frugal than usual” in order to make up for the changes.

Hellie listed several goals for this academic year including to build and rebuild enrichment experiences, reduce expenses when possible, campaign and evaluate and modify the 2020 schedule. He also said he plans to work with the nursing program to iron out some changes that could occur.

He brought his speech to a close by urging people to not over react and that the problems are only very small at this point. Linfield’s retention rate overall is still higher than it was ten years ago.

Hellie also said that we need to be careful and to remember why Linfield is such an attractive school. “We transform the lives of students” he said.