Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

WU News

DeniseThe last one

It seems fittingly surreal that I'm writing my final column for WU News while I watch Superstorm Sandy descend on Washington, D.C. As I sit in a spot that feels comfortable and safe, I look outside knowing that things are about to change and that, while it might be rocky for a bit, it will pass and once again be settled. To some extent, my physical surroundings mirror the emotions I'm feeling.

After nearly 12 years at Willamette, I'm leaving to take a position with The Ford Family Foundation as their director of scholarship programs. The move is bittersweet, since Willamette — and many of you — have been such a part of my life for so long.

Happily, I won't be far (Eugene) and as a bonus I can now attend alumni events without worrying if there's enough food or if the microphone will work. And as an even greater bonus, I will get to continue being a part of an organization that works to increase access to higher education for students who may not otherwise have the opportunity.

I will be forever proud of the work I have been a part of at Willamette, including a campaign that was supported by many of you — raising over $131 million in support of faculty excellence, student scholarships and academic programs. The strong involvement and commitment of the Willamette community in all facets of the student experience is truly amazing. You connect us with potential new applicants and provide mentorship, advice and internships to students and new graduates.  I look forward to watching these programs — and your support of them — grow further under President Thorsett's leadership.

To quote Maya Angelou, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” So thank you, fellow Bearcats, for making me feel such a part of this special community for the past several years. It's a time I will treasure and I hope you will welcome your next alumni director with equally open arms.

Go Bearcats!

Denise Crawford Signature

Denise Callahan '95, MBA'00
Senior Director of Alumni Relations