Kerry Carmody announced as interim Board chair, Baca steps down

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Anna Frazier , Managing Editor

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On Tuesday, Linfield University announced that the chair of its Board of Trustees, David Baca, would be stepping down. Vice Chair Kerry Carmody will serve as an interim chair starting October 1, according to an email sent to Linfield community members by Allison Xavier on behalf of the board.

“​​Let’s get in the boat, row together, and achieve greatness. I’m all about excellence. That’s what Linfield is about,” Carmody said, in an interview with The Linfield Review following the announcement.

Carmody repeatedly voiced his unwavering support for both Linfield and “excellence.”

“We are always in that top quartile [in college rankings], we’re in the top 10%. I’d like to be at the top 5% in everything,” Carmody said. “That’s kind of who I am–really focused on excellence. And that includes the board.”

Carmody’s relationship with Linfield began decades before he became a trustee in 2008. He and his wife, Kristie, are both graduates of the class of 1973. They got married within a month after graduation, and moved to southern California to begin their life together. 

But the Carmodys maintained their love for their alma mater through the years.

“We’ve always been ‘tied’ and had a deep connection with Linfield. It truly changed our lives,” he said. “We’re both retired now, and this is just kind of how we like to spend our time–staying involved and connected to bright, young people.”

The couple established an endowed scholarship fund for chemistry, biology, and physics majors in 2008. A chemistry major himself, Carmody is involved with the science programs at Linfield, including helping plan the W.M. Keck Science Center for the past six years.

In addition to serving as interim chair of the board, Carmody will continue to chair Linfield’s Spark Wonder campaign, which aspires to raise $75 million for “people, places, and programs” at the school, according to its website.

He said he is committed to following through with the campaign and that he enjoys promoting the school and working with people to gather the funds needed. 

“Now, I’m taking on the interim role as the board chair,” Carmody said, adding that it’s not clear yet how long he will be in the position. “So–in the interim–I’m here to do the job and I’m honored to do it.”

Carmody said he hopes Linfield community members view the change as an opportunity. 

“From the board standpoint, we’re going to continue to get better with everything,” he said. “The board can always learn and do more.”

He added that he thinks the board can always be better. His focus this year is to learn from past disagreements and move forward.

Carmody is assuming the position following calls for former chair Baca’s resignation. The faculty passed a previous vote of no confidence against Baca in 2020.

“After 13 years on the Board and four years as chair, [Baca] decided it was in Linfield’s best interest that he step down from the chair role and allow new leaders to come to the forefront,” said chief marketing officer and associate vice president for the university, Scott Nelson, in an emailed statement. 

Though it was not immediately clear how long Carmody will be serving as interim chair, he said he will keep his attention on moving the university forward.

“There’s a great deal of good going around. Let’s focus on that, deal with what needs to be changed, and look at where we’re going to be a year from now,” Carmody said.