Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

Notes From Waller

I thought I knew...

JamesHaving never ventured very far east of the I-5 corridor, my memories and mental images of Oregon are of towering evergreens, mountains hung with mist, bountiful farmlands, and water. Lots of water. But as I left Salem recently for the small Central Oregon town of Maupin, which was to be our starting point for a recent Travel Program rafting trip, I was unaware of how surprised I'd be.

The shift from lush to arid was startling. I marveled at the grasslands and hills dotted with junipers and sage, such a contrast to nearly everything I associated with Oregon before. Even though I always knew there was desert to the east, it still caught me off guard.

These vastly different landscapes, at once divided and knit together by the Cascades, are analogous to the Willamette community with which I have begun to get acquainted. Willamette is made up of a broad range of people with many perspectives, yet we are all connected by a common thread: Not unto ourselves alone are we born.  

I am looking forward to celebrating both the diversity and commonality among WU alumni in the months and years ahead. We'll continue to develop lifelong learning opportunities, our excellent Career Network, travel programs, and other Alumni Association initiatives. Coming up soon are some great events for connecting with fellow Bearcats, too, including Alumni Weekend on Sept. 20-22; One Willamette, One Night events on Oct. 21; and our annual Portland Holiday Party in December. Watch for more announcements soon.

Above all, don't be afraid to explore some territory you think you already know -- you might be pleasantly surprised!

James Lippincott

Assistant Vice President for Alumni and Parent Relations