Dawn Graff-Haight retiring after 22 years at Linfield

Emma Olson , Writer

Professor Dawn Graff-Haight is retiring after 22 years of working in Linfield’s Health, Human Performance, and Athletics department.

In addition to leading Linfield’s Consent Awareness Training Squad (CATS), she has taught a variety of classes at Linfield, including Human Sexuality, Drug Use in the United States, Topics in Health and Fitness, and various online classes.

Health is a topic that Graff-Haight is truly passionate about. She says she’s the “luckiest person in the world” because she’s been able to “prepare health educators to go out into the world and make a difference”

Graff-Haight’s most memorable moment of teaching is when she is able to see that she has helped a student find their passion in health literacy.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s in my sexuality class, or my diseases class, or my drugs class, or even in the classes where I’m teaching future health educators … It’s when I see something light up in them.”

An advantage to Graff-Haight’s long creer is the ability to watch students venture into chosen career paths.

“One of my students right now is the director for health education and physical education in the state of Washington. That’s really special. They’re more successful than me!” Graff-Haight says modestly.

Graff-Haight says she hopes to stay informed on the HHPA department. After her retirement, the programs will likely shift accordingly and in a positive way.

“There will be more of an emphasis on public health, and I think that means that there will be greater opportunities for students with a public health background to really do some amazing things.”

Before pursuing her PhD to teach at the collegiate level, Graff-Haight taught middle school.

“One of my mentors said, ‘Dawn, you have something special. It seems a shame that you’re wasting this in a classroom with middle school kids when you could be teaching others to do what you do so well.’”

While it has been a fruitful career for Graff-Haight, she is excited to experience life as a retiree.

She says, “I’m young and healthy enough to travel and be active. My husband’s already retired so I’m looking forward to spending time exploring the country and the world.”

Graff-Haight plans to travel to Japan at the end of August.