LINDA HUMMER came from five generations of poverty and started college a handful of times before actually completing a single term.
But once the learning started, Hummer could not get enough and sprinted through programs in women’s and black studies, graduating in 1998. By 2001 she'd added a master's degree in education, which led to her teaching women's studies at Portland State.
Hummer loved teaching and it showed. She became everyone's favorite instructor as she taught passionately about race, class, gender, and social justice. Students flocked around her after class, following her down the hall—eager to share one more thought, ask another question, get permission to invite a roommate, parent, or child to visit class. She created several new courses for the Women's Studies program, including Gender, Class and Culture and Women, Creativity and Healing. Hummer inspired and mentored—she changed lives. In 2000, when Hummer was just 32 years old, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She got the call from her doctor on the day she received her master’s degree.
She didn't let this changed reality slow her down. In fact, cancer seemed to clarify the meaning of life for Hummer. It came down to two things—love and purpose. Her life was filled with one and dedicated to the other. Over the next decade she inspired others through her passionate teaching and public speaking, while undergoing nearly 100 chemotherapy treatments.
Even though Hummer reluctantly retired from full-time teaching in 2006 in order to focus on her treatment, she continued to share her learning and love of life with others by speaking at many local colleges and universities. She gave her final talk on September 24, 2009, just two weeks before she died.
As always, when she finished speaking the students swarmed around her.
TO HONOR HER LEGACY, Linda Hummer's friends, colleagues, and former students have established a scholarship in her name through the PSU Foundation. The Linda C. Hummer Scholarship will help students majoring in women’s studies at Portland State cover the costs of books and other course materials. To contribute to this or other PSU scholarships, go to www.foundation.pdx.edu/publicgift, or call 503-725-4911.