Linfield University president Miles Davis to step down over family concerns

By Tiffany Camhi (OPB)
Nov. 3, 2023 1:16 a.m.

The top leader of the McMinnville, Oregon-based institution became a polarizing figure on campus due to controversies around school leadership

Linfield College President Miles Davis is entering his second year at the McMinnville school.

FILE: Linfield University President Miles Davis, pictured during a visit to OPB in 2019, is leaving the McMinnville-based institution after five years at the helm.

Rob Manning / OPB

The president of Linfield University, Miles Davis, is resigning, citing family health concerns.


Davis notified the university’s board of trustees of his decision in a special afternoon meeting Thursday. Davis is not leaving immediately, but said he plans to remain as Linfield’s leader until early 2024, after a transition period for an interim president has been completed.

Davis had been serving as the 20th president of Linfield University since 2018. He was the school’s first Black president.

In an email sent to Linfield students and staff Thursday afternoon, Davis said serving as the school’s president had been one of the greatest honors of his life.

“We have accomplished much together in the past five years,” Davis wrote in the letter. “I treasure the time we have worked, cheered, laughed and cried together.”


Davis, whose family home is in Virginia, also said his bi-coastal lifestyle is no longer tenable due to family obligations.

Under his leadership, the private liberal arts school grew its campus and spearheaded student diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

But in his short time at Linfield, Davis had also become a polarizing figure on campus.

Davis’ time at the school was marred by controversy as some staff in leadership roles, including Davis himself, were accused of antisemitism and sexual harassment. Linfield later reached a $1 million legal settlement with the professor behind the allegations.

Related: Linfield University agrees to pay fired professor more than $1M in whistleblower settlement

School officials say a search for an interim president will begin right away and a national search for a permanent president will be conducted after Davis leaves.

Linfield University is based in McMinnville, Oregon, located about 33 miles southwest of Portland. The school also has a smaller campus located in Portland.


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