Lingreen Hall is no more. The building, with 47 years of service to Centralia College students, has been razed. The following is a tribute to Minnie Lingreen, for who the building was named. Minnie Lingreen taught here for 32 years. Following this tribute are comments from faculty and staff.
We are here to pay tribute to Minnie Lingreen, a woman who leaves an impressive legacy of accomplishment. She has indeed touched the lives of many people not only through her career as a teacher at Centralia High School and Centralia College but also through her community involvement.
Minnie came to Centralia Junior College in 1939. She taught high school classes and, since the college was on the third floor of the high school building, she walked up to teach her college classes. She quickly gained a reputation as a teacher who cared tremendously for her students.
As a teacher, Minnie demanded a great deal from students. She challenged those she taught and it was through those challenges that true learning took place. As one of her former students said, “Minnie inspired us to explore, to move beyond the textbooks and into an exciting world. She made her students WANT to do well.”
This energy was a hallmark of Minnie Lingreen. The very fact that she taught at the college for 32 years is a tribute to dedication and her lasting interest in students and in education.
Centralia College was a perfect match for the talents of Minnie Lingreen. She had a special interest in the social and political history of America and majored in history in college. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, a scholastic honors society and earned a special medal for excellence in history awarded by the Sons of the American Revolution.
Minnie expanded her interests, teaching not only Washington State and U.S. History, but also courses in Western civilization, political science, economics, geography and sociology. She rose to become the Chair of the Social Studies Department at Centralia College. She earned the respect and the admiration of not only her students but also of the faculty and administrators with whom she worked.
And Minnie was a leader outside the classroom. She was active in the Washington Education Association and the National Education Association. She served as the state chair for the WEA. Minnie cared for senior citizens, about historical preservation, about community employment, about the preservation of the environment and other vital issues of our community.
She had keen insight into important issues, a quick mind and was always willing to speak up for the issues in which she believed. She also possessed a great deal of energy and a willingness to become involved. It is because of these qualities that we see so many positive results from her efforts. The Senior Citizens Center and the Twin Cities Transit are just two examples of programs that came to life because of Minnie’s dedication to her ideals and her involvement in the community.
Over the many years of her service to individuals in and out of the classroom, thousands benefited from Minnie Lingreen’s caring attitude and her desire to see improvement in the quality of life of those around her. Centralia College and this community are better places because of Minnie Lingreen.
It’s a little sad seeing Lingreen hauled away piece by piece. In the past 24 years I taught about 200 courses, spent about 8800 class hours there. Sometimes the rooms were very hot, sometimes very cold. Always the chalk dust swirled about. Always the coffee-stained rugs and uncooperative window blinds somewhat blighted an otherwise pleasant day. And yet, I miss the place. It is like losing a part of myself. I see with my mind’s eye the many students struggling over tests, faces lighting up when a new insight flitted past or alighted on their desk.
This is sad for me, too.
I was a literature major when Lingreen was a new building (and took sociology from Ms. Lingreen but in Kemp Hall). In the winter when I slid into those plastic chairs with the attached “table,” I snapped, crackled, and popped with static electricity. I remember taking grammar from Gordon Aadland and Frank Rosa in that building, as well as many wonderful literature classes from my beloved Etha Russell, whose office was in that building (which became my first office when I returned on staff 12 years ago).
Perhaps we need ceremonies for these buildings as they expire. They really are not that old, but I feel dated as they are demolished. Imagine attending or teaching at an Ivy League college, where the buildings are 100 or more years old!
I’m also suffering a little nostalgia. However, the important thing is that we not forget Minnie Lingreen or Art Ehret, and when the time comes, Katherine Kemp. These pioneers and others paved our way; without them would there even be a Centralia College? I am a strong supporter of retaining this legacy by naming buildings and spaces after them.
I’m really feeling “OLD.” I can remember sitting on the third floor of the old Centralia High School watching the Student Center and Lingreen being built (1962). Since starting work here in 1966 I have seen many changes and it was more than sad to see Lingreen Hall going down. Soon all the original buildings will be gone and replaced with new. As it should be.