Alumna Profile

Tools for Change

Linda Blackwelder Pall ’67

She’s been a pillar of the community in Moscow, Idaho, for decades. She served 18 years on the city council. She taught law at Washington State University for 35 years and has been a longtime champion of civil rights and progressive causes in the north Idaho–eastern Washington area. Now she’s bouncing back from a critical episode in her battle with primary pulmonary hypertension—and looking back at a life of service.

Blackwell Pall

Archer Photography, Moscow, Idaho, 2013

Linda Blackwelder Pall ’67 has worked on affordable housing, sound land-use policies, revitalization of core communities, historic preservation, and local arts programming. (The latter touches on her skill as a musician, photographer, and Reed-trained calligrapher.) She was a charter member of the Latah County Human Rights Force and received the Rosa Parks Human Rights Leader Award. The city of Moscow also recognized her with Linda Pall Day and the planting of 18 oaks in 2008. Other honors include the Idaho State Bar Diversity Section’s special award, Access to Justice, and Gonzaga University’s Institute for Hate Studies’ individual award, Eva Lassman Take Action Against Hate Award.“ I am tremendously pleased, honored and humbled by all of this,” she says. 

One of the foundations of her career, she says, was her experience as a student at Reed in the ’60s. “I will never be able to repay the college for the inspiration of Bill Peck [philosophy 1961–2002], Lloyd Reynolds [English & art 1929–69], Roger Porter [English 1961–], Marvin Levich [philosophy 1953–94], and others who really gave me tools that are used every day from my toolbox as a lawyer and community change agent.”

For the retirement event at Washington State in May, Linda invited people memorable in her professional life. One of the most important was her adviser, Bill Peck. “His status as role model and his work with me and others in Hum 110 have been examples for my own teaching throughout my career.” 

Linda spent the better part of 2012 in an intensive care unit and moved back to her home with support from a community of friends in January. She now works part time in her solo law practice, representing her clients in employment, civil rights, and family law.