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One good teacher can make the difference between loving math or hating it. But for Herb and Linda Jolliff, ’66, a calculus professor at EOU taught them even more.
The two met in Leroy Damewood’s class in 1963 and graduated together three years later.
“We met and got to know one another studying calculus and differential equations,” Herb said.
Linda went on to teach in public schools, and Herb taught at the Oregon Institute of Technology after graduating with a master’s degree from Utah State University. They agreed, though, that Damewood’s example set them on their paths to success.
“It was a period of growing up for me,” Herb said. “He was an excellent teacher. The class was very tough, but you learned a lot.”
Linda, the only woman in Damewood’s class at the time, said she appreciated his no-nonsense “say what you mean, and mean what you say” approach. Linda and Herb’s shared passion for teaching in rural areas has only grown in 53 years of marriage. Where they live now, in Independence, Ore., Linda said a handful of colleges are within an hour’s drive.
“But in Eastern Oregon, EOU serves a real purpose,” she said.
Herb remembers living on a wheat ranch 23 miles from Arlington, Ore., and how that remoteness made his education challenging. During his senior year of high school, there weren’t enough fellow students to offer a math class at his level.
Today, EOU fills that gap for rural students throughout the region. And the Jolliffs are already thinking about the next generation of math enthusiasts. As Oregon’s Rural University, EOU produces many of the educators that fill public schools in small towns. Herb and Linda established a scholarship this year, through the EOU Foundation, that will support those young teachers on their way to molding the minds of tomorrow.
“We both love math, and they always need good math teachers in rural areas,” Herb said. “It takes a special person … The best teachers have got to be tough, but they’ve got to be compassionate.”
They see the endowment as an investment in the future of rural communities. Linda said scholarships made college possible for her, and she’s eager to “pay it forward” to others.
“We’ve lived in small places all of our married life, so that’s just our outlook,” Herb said. “That’s why we want to support someone from Eastern Oregon, who would give back to those smaller communities.”
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After decades of public service, Board Chair David Nelson will retire at the annual Board Retreat on August 10.
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