Minthorne Leaves Legacy of Leadership, Generosity

Roger Minthorne (G47)

By Barry Hubbell

After nearly three-quarters of a century, Roger Minthorne (G47) is no longer helping guide and shape George Fox University. He passed away March 10 in Newberg at the age of 92. President Robin Baker spoke for the university at his memorial service.

The 1947 graduate held nearly every leadership position possible at George Fox, with the exception of the university presidency itself. It started as a student, when he served as student body president his junior year before being named class president as a senior.

Then, in 1950, at the age of just 24, he was elected to head the George Fox College Alumni Association as president for three years. He stepped up to a higher level in 1973 when he was named to the George Fox Board of Trustees as an alumni association representative. That began a 45-year role as a board member – 27 as an active member and 18 as an honorary member.

He was far from a passive board member. For many years he served as chair of the Finance Committee, then in 1984 he was elected trustee vice chair, serving a five-year term. Finally, he was elected to the top position as board chair in 1989, serving the maximum five-year term.

He was chair when the university celebrated its centennial year in 1991 and constructed the now-landmark Centennial Tower that became the inspiration for a new university logo. He also was chair when the university found a way to save historic Wood-Mar Hall and constructed the adjacent Edwards-Holman Science Center. 

Beyond his leadership, Minthorne was a significant financial supporter. For many years he and his wife, Mildred, supported the Minthorne Family Scholarship, an annual award for incoming Friends students. They made another significant investment with a gift of $100,000 to create the 900-square-foot Minthorne Art Gallery, opened in 2006 in the Hoover Academic Building.

As alumni know, it’s not the first Minthorne name on a college facility. Minthorn Hall (without the “e” on the end) is the university’s oldest building, constructed in 1887 and moved to campus in 1892. It is named for Minthorne’s great uncle and aunt, Henry and Laura Minthorn. They served as foster parents to former president Herbert Hoover, as Henry was the first superintendent of Friends Pacific Academy, which grew to become George Fox University. That family tie, perhaps, sparked some of Minthorne’s fondness for the university.

Minthorne was honored by his alma mater with his naming as Alumnus of the Year in 1982. In 2016, as part of the university’s 125th anniversary celebration, he was named to its list of 125 noteworthy and significant people who have created and shaped the institution.