Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

Alumnus continues his research in organic chemistry through NSF aid

Michael Harris '10Michael Harris '10

Michael Harris ’10 has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship to support his research in organic chemistry.

The fellowship provides an annual $30,000 stipend and $10,500 towards tuition for three years at any accredited U.S. graduate institution.

Harris is attending graduate school at the University of California, Irvine, where he is completing his doctorate degree. Through the award, he says he’ll be able to spend more time on research-related activities. He also anticipates publishing his results in scientific journals, which will strengthen his resume for when he applies for post-doctoral positions.

“This award will help to set me apart from other qualified job applicants,” he says.

A native of The Dalles, Ore., Harris majored in chemistry at Willamette, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Willamette University Chemistry Club. He accumulated many honors as an undergraduate student, including the Ancil H. Payne Scholarship, the Peterson Family Scholarship, the Analytical Chemistry Award and most notably the Ford Family Foundation Scholarship.

He participated in the Science Collaborative Research Program with professor Andrew Duncan and a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates at the University of Minnesota. He graduated magna cum laude from Willamette.

Since arriving at the University of California, Irvine, Harris has also been awarded a Ford Family Foundation Scholarship, a Chancellor’s Fellowship and the UCI Award in Undergraduate Teaching. He anticipates graduating in 2015, at which time he hopes to find a job in academia.

Grateful for his successes, Harris credits Willamette’s Chemistry Department for helping him get to where he is today.

“Not only do the professors come from the top universities in the country, but their ability to teach difficult material is unparalleled,” he says.

“In particular, I would like to thank my academic advisor, professor Chuck Williamson, for being inspiring and giving me sound advice. I also need to thank professor Andrew Duncan. I did research in his lab for two years, during which he imparted unto me the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in organic chemistry.”

Earlier this year, Tyler Starr ’12 and Kaeli Swift ’09 were awarded NSF graduate fellowships to support their research in biology and chemistry.

For more information about national fellowship and scholarship opportunities, visit Student Academic Grants and Awards.

John Doan performs "Homage to Fernando Sor" at Willamette Sept. 8

John Doan, associate professor of musicJohn Doan, associate professor of music

Emmy nominee and award-winning composer and guitarist John Doan is performing at Willamette University’s Hudson Hall Sept. 8.

In the debut program, Doan combines his love of music and history by engaging his audience through an immersion experience that explores the life and times of Fernando Sor (1778-1839). The premier 19th-century guitarist is affectionately known today as the “Father of the Classical guitar.”

The program features numerous instruments from Sor’s time period, including a guitar Sor may have commissioned to be built in London in 1819. On this instrument, Doan has composed new works in the style of Sor. Doan is premiering the music during the 8 p.m. concert.

Advanced tickets are available at the Music Department or by phone. They cost $15 for adults and $10 for seniors, children and students younger than 18. Tickets cost $18 at the door. Willamette University students, faculty and staff may acquire free tickets up to one week prior to the event, although the number is limited.

“Hearing Sor’s works on an original instrument filled me with awe and added dimension to my understanding of his music and who he may have been as a person,” says Doan, an associate professor of music at Willamette. “As I heard something from the past, in the present I began to conceive new music in Sor’s style based on various examples of his own works.

“It is this conversation, seemingly outside of the constraints of time, that I will share with the audience — who will be given a rare glimpse into the inspirational world of musical thinking and emotion.”

Doan’s preshow and program will be accompanied by images of period paintings that embrace Spain and the guitar.

Doan is an international touring and recording artist who has appeared on radio and television across the country, including the Emmy-nominated Oregon Public Broadcasting special, “A Victorian Christmas With John Doan,” seen on PBS, and his “Eire – Isle of the Saints” CD that won “Best Celtic Album of the Year.”

His new recording, “Homage to Fernando Sor” is a follow-up release to his ground breaking, “The Lost Music of Fernando Sor” — a worldwide debut of Sor’s music for the three-necked harpolyre.

For more information, and to make phone reservations, call (503) 370-6255.

Theatre announces 2012-13 season

From the exploration of gender roles in Virginia Woolf’s “Orlando,” to politically inspired dance compositions, this year's theatre season explores political issues that promise to engage the audience from several perspectives.

“As America prepares for the presidential election in November, our plays ask each of us to consider our place in the landscape of the political — demanding that we consider not only what we believe, but how and why we've come to those beliefs,” says theatre manager Andrew Toney.

“We invite you to join us for an exciting season that uses performance as a lens through which to examine the intersection of the personal and the political.”


Sept. 28 to Oct. 13, 2012

An English nobleman awakens one morning to discover he has become a woman. This is the premise of Virginia Woolf’s acclaimed, vaguely autobiographical novel, “Orlando.” Adapted by MacArthur Award-winning playwright Sarah Ruhl, “Orlando,” is funny and bittersweet, literate but highly accessible. It invites us to ask what we mean when we talk about identity, gender, poetry and love.

The play is showing Sept. 28 to Oct. 13, 2012, with a preview performance Sept. 27. Thursday through Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m., while 2 p.m. matinees are planned for Sept. 30 and Oct. 7.

The Dog & Pony Show (bring your own pony)

Oct. 19, 2012

Written and performed by Guggenheim recipient Holly Hughes and directed by Dan Hurlin, “The Dog & Pony Show (bring your own pony)” shows one time only at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19.

After several years as a professional lesbian, Hughes gives up preaching to the perverted to take a real job at a prestigious university — acquiring a small pack of dogs in the process. She discovers that as we age, the thin membrane between the animal and the human dissolves entirely.

A blend of autobiography, animal behavior and bald-face lies, the play is a poetic and comic mediation on the midlife crisis.

PeopleDance: Body Politic

Nov. 9–17, 2012

“PeopleDance: Body Politic” explores the belief that dance is a universal human activity and that any movement can hold significance. Through dance and performance, artistic director Matthew Nelson and Willamette students investigate the world of politics — showing its polarizing tendencies toward conflict on one hand and consensus-building on the other.

“PeopleDance: Body Politic” is showing Nov. 9–17, with a preview performance Nov. 8. Thursday through Saturday showings begin at 7:30 p.m., while 2 p.m. matinees are planned for Nov. 11 and 17.

Celebrating the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage in Oregon

Feb. 15–23, 2013

The battle for women’s voting rights in Oregon was hard-fought and hard-won, taking place in parlors, public squares and print media. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in Oregon, WU Theatre is collaborating with the English Department to present a group-created original theatrical performance honoring this milestone.

Directed by Jonathan Cole, the play runs Feb. 15–23, with a preview showing Feb. 14. Thursday through Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m., while 2 p.m. matinees are scheduled for Feb. 17 and 23.

Measure for Measure

April 12–27, 2013

Written in 1604, “Measure for Measure,” is a play about government, corruption, justice and mercy. Duke Vincentio wants a break from governing Vienna, where the sex trade is running rife. So he calls on his deputy, Angelo, to take charge. Instead of leaving the city, though, the duke dons a disguise and spies on Angelo. At first, Angelo rules out brothels and clamps down on sex. But when he comes up against Isabella, the virtuous sister of the condemned Claudio, he falls foul of his own judgment — resulting in a spiraling series of deceptions, hypocrisy and scandal.

Directed by Susan Coromel, the play is showing April 12–27, with a preview performance April 11. Thursday through Saturday performances begin at 7:30 p.m., and 2 p.m. matinees are scheduled for April 14, 21 and 27.


With the exception of the one-night-only production of “The Dog & Pony Show (bring your own pony),” general-admission tickets for the preview 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 offer a special season-ticket package for only $20 before Oct. 1, which includes a ticket for all four regular -season productions. 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.