Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

College of Liberal Arts News

Archaeology students arrive in Scotland to uncover Neotlithic past

Professor Scott Pike (environmental and earth sciences, geology and archaeology) and 11 Willamette students arrived in Scotland just days ago to help excavate what was recently named the research project of the year by the British magazine Current Archaeology.

Willamette is the only U.S. university to send such a delegation to contribute to the work at this site. The research area lies on a peninsula between the Standing Stones o' Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar in the Heart of the Neolithic Orkney UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Excavation director Nick Card, senior projects manager at the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology stated on the Orkneyjar website that "what we have here has to be a temple – a structure that was in some way involved in the belief systems of the Neolithic Orcadians. But again, given the monumental scale of the building, and the artifacts we’ve been recovering, I think it was more than just a simple religious structure for a handful of people. It has to have been a cathedral of its period and, as such, perhaps the focal point for people across Orkney, and beyond.”

The interdisciplinary archaeology program at Willamette has quickly attracted students since it was established in 2009. Today's students are on the trip in part to satisfy the graduation requirement that says they must contribute to a field school or similar experience along the way. Kelsey Copes-Gerbitz '11 and Jason Henry '11 received Student Field School Grants through the Center for Ancient Studies and Archaeology.

Professor Pike is leading the Willamette group on-site and is using a newly acquired portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, whose acquisition was made possible through a grant from the Malcolm Hewitt Wiener Foundation, to improve student research opportunities at Willamette.

“Most field work fails to take full advantage of the varied analyses that can be carried out with this instrument,” says Pike. “Undergraduates will use this tool to learn more about the soils and materials used at the site, including a geochemical analysis of the standing stones of the Ring of Brodgar.”

Catch daily updates with Pike and the rest of the team at the excavation blog: the Dig Diary.

Student earns national scholarship to study in Spain

Fletcher Haynes ’12, a Spanish major, was recently named a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholar — an honor that will allow him to broaden his global knowledge while studying abroad.

Haynes will study at the Centro de Lenguas Modernas (CLM) in Granada, Spain, this fall. Europe is one of the most competitive regions for people applying for the $5,000 award.

“I wanted to study in Granada because it is a great place to practice my Spanish — not many people there speak fluent English — and it also has many culturally significant sites, which appeals to my interest in history,” Haynes says.

“I hope to go on to be either a doctor or a physician assistant, and Spanish is incredibly useful in the medical field.”

The award is a branch of the Institute for International Education, the same agency that distributes Fulbright Grants. The program offers funding for study abroad to undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grants to two- or four-year universities.

For more about study in Granada and the CLM, revisit The Scene's 2009 article on the topic.

For more about national awards for students, visit Student Academic Grants and Awards.

Theatre announces 2011-12 season

Featuring guest artists, a musical, a one-night-only performance from an Emmy Award-winning actress and very reasonable season ticket pricing, Willamette Theatre’s upcoming season productions examine the relationship between society and the individual.

“This year’s season offers a modern take on the everyman, allowing audiences to internalize the challenges faced by the main characters,” says Susan Coromel, theater professor and director of the season’s first play, “Smash.”

Willamette Theatre will also hold a single-night feature, “Lady Bird, Pat and Betty Tea for Three,” a captivating one-woman show written by Eric H. Weinberger starring Emmy Award-winning actress Elaine Bromka. 


Written by Jeffrey Hatcher, Smash begins Sept. 29 and runs Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. until Oct.15 with matinees Oct. 2, 9 and 15 at 2 p.m.

Set in a British women’s college, “Smash” romps its way through explorations of love, capitalism and human nature.

This adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's comic novel, “An Unsocial Socialist,” is a story about a young man with a dreadful moral dilemma. He is newly wedded and filthy rich, with everything life could possibly offer. So what’s the problem? He’s a socialist! 

The Seattle Weekly calls the play "Cunning, intelligent, and skillful,” further noting, “The author makes you, the audience, feel just as clever as he is. Brilliant writing.”

Lady Bird, Pat and Betty Tea for Three

Emmy winner Bromka stars in this one-night-only production of “Lady Bird, Pat and Betty Tea for Three” on Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m.

The play portrays the remarkable lives of Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon and Betty Ford, giving insight into how each faced the unique responsibilities of being first lady.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring Elaine Bromka, an Emmy Award-winning actress to perform her one-woman show,” said Coromel. Bromka’s performance has been called a “subtle feat of brilliant acting” by The Record-Review.

PeopleDance:  Stadium

Artistic Director Matthew Nelson and guest choreographer Kitty Sailer bring “PeopleDance: Stadium” to Willamette’s campus beginning Nov. 10. It runs Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. until Nov. 19, with matinees Nov. 13 and 19 at 2 p.m.

“PeopleDance” investigates the stadium setting, with its tendency toward polarity, competition and its simultaneous generation of community. The works will be dance-theatre oriented, using movement as a theatrical element.

The American Dream and The Sandbox

Written by Edward Albee and directed by Jonathan Cole, this double billing of one-act plays begins Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m. and runs Thursday through Saturday until Feb. 25, with matinees on Feb. 19 and 25 at 2 p.m.

“The Sandbox” introduces audiences to one of America’s most dysfunctional families. In this pioneering work, Albee manipulates clichés of language and social norms. “The American Dream” continues the story of “The Sandbox” with a ferocious and uproarious attack on the substitution of artificial for real values. Albee explores the hollowness of the American dream as well as the fallacy of the ideal American family.

The Adding Machine, A Musical

Willamette Theatre’s season ends with “Adding Machine, A Musical,” a play that The Boston Herald calls a “must-see.” This contemporary musical begins April 14 at 7:30 p.m. and runs nightly Thursday through Saturday until April 23, with matinees April 17, 24 and 30 at 2 p.m.

Based on “The Adding Machine” by Elmer Rice, the musical tells the story of Mr. Zero, an unlikely anti-hero for the working man, who, after 25-years of service to his company, is replaced by a mechanical adding machine. An eclectic score gives passionate and memorable voice to this stylish show, which The New York Times calls, “impossibly bleak, improbably brilliant.”

Several guest artists are featured in the production. Directed and choreographed by Jessica Wallenfels, Eric Nordin provides music direction, and Cecil Averitt returns to provide sound design.


With the exception of the one-night-only production of “Lady Bird, Pat and Betty Tea for Three,” general admission tickets for the first evening of each performance are $8, as are all tickets for students and seniors for any show. Matinees are $10 and evening performances are $12. 

This year, Willamette Theatre will hold a special season-ticket package for only $25 before Oct. 1, which includes a ticket for all four regular season productions and “Lady Bird, Pat and Betty Tea for Three.” Discounted rates are also available for groups of ten or more.

For more information, call 503-370-6222 or contact theatre manager Andrew Toney at atoney@willamette.edu.