Undergraduate Student Stories Undergraduate Student Stories RSS Feed

Our students and alumni are making discoveries, initiating positive change and making a difference in people's lives every day. Read the stories below to discover just how powerful a Willamette education can be.

Jamal Raad ’08 and Gov. Jay Inslee JD’76 in Las Vegas

From Willamette to Washington

Jamal Raad ’08 takes on climate change as campaign communications director for presidential candidate and fellow Bearcat Gov. Jay Inslee JD’76.

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Olivia Scott at the South African coast

Student athlete works to prevent gang violence

Olivia Scott ’20 reflects upon interning with a program founded by a reformed gang member in South Africa.

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Victoria Black Horse (Photo by Dominick Reuter)

Alumna builds bridges to a healthier future

Medical resident Victoria Black Horse ’13 laid her foundation for medical school at Willamette University and continues to mentor Native American students entering the field.

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student researchers receiving award

City honors Willamette student researchers

Geoarchaeology class unearths clues about the history of an old millrace in downtown Salem.

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monya maleki news feed

Keeping the Bearcats on their toes

The groundbreaking research of Monya Maleki ’19 brings the benefits of ballet to the football arena.

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student smile with award in hand

Seniors honored for cocurricular involvement

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2019 Senior Keys and Senior Certificates.

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anna ayala in the lab

Promoting a healthy future

Aspiring physician Anna Ayala ’19 wants to make an impact at the individual and policy levels.

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Students in straw hats dancing

Hawai’i Club presents 30th Lū’au

Student-run evening of entertainment celebrated the rich history of Polynesian music.

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student explains poster to two gathered students

Undergraduates share their research achievements

Student Scholarship Recognition Day highlights Willamette students’ intellectual, creative and academic pursuits.

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Paige Morrisey ’19

Willamette politics major lands Stanford data fellowship

Paige Morrisey ’19 will interview families, collect data for groundbreaking study.

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adrian uphoff

Plugging into the power of proximity

Adrian Uphoff ’19 is pushing legislation at the Capitol and opening doors for future interns.

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Cooper Battle in lab

A Growing Threat

Students in Willamette’s ‘Battle Lab’ target cancer cells.

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Garrard Conley

Reconstructing identity and the importance of compassion

“Boy Erased” author speaks about writing, cinema and surviving conversion therapy.

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sarah pope in lab coat

Chasing down a childhood dream

The pre-vet studies of Sarah Pope ’13 took her from Willamette to a biodiversity hotspot in South Africa.

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Amarit Ubhi

Meet ASWU’s incoming executive officers

New president, vice president and treasurer will be sworn in during the last ASWU Senate meeting of the semester May 2.

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Paimon Jaberi

Finding strength in numbers

BA/MBA graduate uses data to tackle the business side of the Seahawks.

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Professors Cotlar and Ellis

Professors Cotlar and Ellis edit new presidential history book

‘Historian in Chief’ examines how 11 presidents shaped history through storytelling, education and action.

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Lynn Nakamoto, College of Law Commencement speaker 2018

Commencement speakers, honorary degrees announced

Leaders in physics, business and law will address graduates from the class of 2019.

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Ben Crop

Pursuing an MBA with an eye on theatre

Ben Crop ’08, MBA’09 uses dual degree to build a career in theatre management and education.

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2019–20 tuition for the College of Liberal Arts

Willamette University Board of Trustees has set student charges for the coming year.

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student writes a thank you note at a table with many cupcakes

Honoring the spirit of generosity

Thanks to a matching gift program, students can make every donation count.

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Neil Berquist ’09, MBA ’10

The future of the digital economy

Alumni and faculty discuss the technology behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and how digital economies may be quietly revolutionizing the business world.

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Lacrosse player

Women’s lacrosse debuts at Willamette

Season opens at home Sunday, Feb. 24, versus the Denver Wildcats.

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Student in cybersecurity club

Students learn cybersecurity skills for competition and careers

Club teaches techniques to crack passwords, hack Wi-Fi networks to improve security.

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Willamette student greets an TIU student in front of a bus

Bearcats welcome ASP class of 2019

Warm greetings and a flurry of activity ushered in the 30th anniversary of the American Studies Program.

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four students converse in Jackson Plaza in spring

Willamette among Princeton Review’s top colleges

The university is named among the top colleges, best value colleges and green schools.

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E.M. Lewis '94 attends a performance of, "The Gun Show."

Playwright champions common ground in controversial topics

E.M. (Ellen) Lewis ’94 sparks conversation surrounding topics such as climate change and the divide on American gun ownership through theatre.

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“When I travel somewhere, I love going to the local store, not the big box — that’s where you see who lives there, what they’re eating, what they’re talking about.” —Dani Cone '98

A not-so-general store — the GOOD food and drink guide

Dani Cone ’98 seeks to foster close-knit community in fast-paced Seattle with Cone & Steiner general stores.

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Owen Carver ’03

Be the change — the GOOD food and drink guide

Owen Carver ’03 advocates for sustainable practices and social equity in the coffee industry.

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Nick Schoeppner ’11

Park ranger protects Oregon’s stunning places

Inspired by the community spirit of Willamette’s faculty and students, Nick Schoeppner ’11 built a career in public service.

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“By being willing to hire people with (criminal) backgrounds,  we had access to great employees other companies were openly discriminating against.” —Shobi Dahl '05

Dave’s killer nephew — the GOOD food and drink guide

Working with his uncle at Dave’s Killer Bread, Shobi Dalh ’05 helps people with criminal records start anew.

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Amarit Ubhi ’20 holds photo of self with Gov. Kate Brown

In conversation with Amarit Ubhi ’20

Budding public servant Amarit Ubhi ’20 spent the summer working in the Oregon governor’s office.

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Mai Hiwatashi speaks at podium

Willamette celebrates 30th class of American Studies Program

The students who made a positive impact on the university and Salem communities returned to Japan and other home countries.

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Associate Professor of Music John Doan

‘Christmas Unplugged’ makes final appearance at Willamette

Hundreds show up for the old-fashioned holiday program to support departing professor.

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Student and senior citizen

Students build real-world skills in work with senior citizens

Exercise science class explores the physical changes that accompany aging.

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Isaac Parker ’02

Isaac Parker named head coach of Bearcat football

Double alumnus is also former team captain and all-conference player.

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Sen. Lisa Murkowski greets two students with a handshake.

Willamette Law hosts ‘A Conversation with Senator Murkowski’

Sen. Lisa Murkowski JD’85 returns to her alma mater for an interactive evening with Willamette students.

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Students record at Studio X recording studio

Willamette Singers records eighth album at legendary studio

Vocal jazz group joins music icons who record at Seattle’s Studio X.

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CLA implements new academic advising system

SAGE replaces JASON and WebAdvisor for Spring 2019 registration. Help is available.

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A graphic image of an overhead view of city blocks of tall buildings with the text "Willamette University MBA Blockchain: The Revolution Extends Beyond Cryptocurrency November 7 2018"

Willamette MBA to host special event on blockchain technology

Open to the entire WU community, the evening’s program will include a networking and social hour, an informational presentation and a panel discussion featuring AGSM and WU professors.

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an alumna speaks with former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta and Sylvia Panetta, his wife

Switchboard makes connections for jobs and more

An alumna launches a new career thanks to the free Willamette community resource.

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Karen Sandrik and Vincent Chiappetta Business Lawyering Institute

Willamette Law’s Business Lawyering Institute: The Business of Law

Willamette’s new Business Lawyering Institute prepares tomorrow’s attorneys for a changing world.

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A fan in Bearcat attire smiles at cheers among the crowd at a soccer game

Families and alumni celebrate the Willamette community

Homecoming and Family Weekend combine for action-packed days of entertainment, commemoration and fun.

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Gunnar Gundersen

TIUA’s Gundersen to retire in December

For more than 30 years, Gunnar Gundersen, executive vice president of Tokyo International University America, has been instrumental in building the American Studies Program and developing the lasting integration between Willamette and TIUA.

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Student shows off sculpture at art opening.

Creativity flourishes with new arts fellowship

Students gain more access to faculty mentorship, funding and peer learning communities.

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Black and white photo of Winona LaDuke speaking before a crowd

Willamette celebrates indigenous people

Lectures, presentations and a film commemorate Indigenous Peoples’ Day in October.

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Two female students hold a bee

New Willamette ‘hotel’ provides good ‘bee-search’

Faculty member, students build bee hotel to learn more about the species’ behavior.

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Hallie Ford Museum of Art

Hallie Ford Museum of Art turns 20

Museum celebrates more than 220 exhibitions and standing among the best in the Pacific Northwest.

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Character wearing wooden mask with hands outstretched in a Y before a blue and red backdrop

Willamette University Theatre finds a new twist on old classics

The 2018-19 season presents theatre, dancing and music.

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Willamette grads top Teach For America list

Willamette University shares the top spot among small colleges nationally for alumni service to the program.

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U.S. News names Willamette among top colleges

The university was also ranked highly by counselors and is listed also among the “Best Value Colleges.”

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Cindy Richards

Professor Richards receives national award for teaching excellence

The civic communication and media professor was lauded for using civic engagement and experiential projects to help students learn.

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Student holding sign that says La Chipsa de Salem the Salem Spark

Bearcats get involved at the fall expo

Activities and Resources Expo featured clubs, resources and opportunities for Bearcats.

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College Raptor logo with picture of a diamond and test US Hidden Gems 2019

Willamette is a ‘hidden gem’ among universities nationwide

College Raptor highlights Willamette University in several rankings including the 25 Best Colleges in the Northwest.

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President Thorsett shakes the hand of a new student

Willamette welcomes new students

Undergraduate and graduate students represent 30 states and several countries.

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Cooper Battle, Bill Forster head shots

New tenure-track faculty start the year at Willamette

Willamette welcomes two tenure-track faculty members who work in the College of Liberal Arts and Atkinson Graduate School of Management.

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light post with banner saying "Willamette University Not unto ourselves alone are we born." with Roger's Music Hall in background

Willamette ranked top liberal arts college in Northwest by Washington Monthly

The university moves up seven spots, boosted by students’ strong commitment to volunteer work.

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Waller Hall with students standing in front

Willamette among Princeton Review’s top colleges

Listed as well among the nation’s environmentally friendly and sustainable colleges, Willamette is also ranked as a “Best Western College” and a “College that Pays You Back.”

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Two football players carry bags during move-in of Opening Days

Opening Days begins Wednesday

Willamette gears up for a new academic year and the arrival of the class of 2022.

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Willamette Academy student smiles while sitting in a classroom

Willamette professors volunteer at academy summer camps

The camps offer local high-schoolers a firsthand glimpse of life as a college student.

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Vice President Shelby Radcliffe

Campus update on advancement

VP Shelby Radcliffe provides an overview of FY18 progress.

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reusable cup with Willamette written on the side being filled at drinking fountain with water

Salem lifts drinking water advisory

The city’s drinking water is safe. The university is prepared for the future.

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drawing of Scrabble-like letter tiles scattered on a game board with some tiles spelling “Questions of Truth”

Questions of Truth

Willamette faculty and staff discuss how the university prepares students to separate fact from fiction in an information-saturated world.

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Professor Karen Arabas stands before a classroom with a whiteboard with Overview Colorado River written on it.

In class — “ENVR 327W: Water Resources”

Karen Arabas’ class examines the water resources of the western United States.

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Rosie Roberson '99 and her son play one of her games in a game cafe.

On top of her game

Rosie Roberson ’99 has created nearly 100 games and was nominated for a Toy and Game Inventor Excellence Award.

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Matt Steindorf throws a pitch in the regional championship

Willamette baseball impresses as runner-up in NCAA West Regional

Bearcats enjoy record-setting season and finish just short of advancing to national championship.

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Gabriel Tallent ’10

A first-time novelist earns critical acclaim

Gabriel Tallent ’10 takes literary world by storm with debut novel “My Absolute Darling.”

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Willamette University expands access for students with high school college credit

Credits earned from concurrent courses may transfer under the new guidelines.

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Professor Seth Cotlar lands national lectureship

Cotlar among 26 professors who will give lectures throughout the nation

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Students on Take a Break in Fresno stand in front of a building they painted.

Take A Break combines volunteering, leadership and learning

Student-led groups travel to Seattle, Boise, San Francisco and Fresno for spring break.

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Varsity triathlon competition begins fall 2021

The women's team will compete in fall 2021.

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A student wearing rubber gloves sorts trash on a tarp in Jackson Plaza.

Waste audit offers valuable lessons in sustainability

A student-organized event showed how the campus community could improve its recycling efforts.

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Willamette students dance with fans in the luau

Hawai’i Club presents 29th Lū’au

The event shared Polynesian music, food and traditions with the Willamette community.

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Willamette announces commencement speakers, honorary degree recipients

Former governor, community leaders to speak at graduation ceremony

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J. Connor Maloney BA ’17, MBA ’18

Internship steers BA/MBA grad to auto industry

A semester at Daimler Trucking helped J. Connor Maloney BA/MBA ’18 define his career path.

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Willamette Chamber Choir

Traditional Malay dance, bird song animates choir performance

Willamette Chamber Choir performed at regional conference for 18th time.

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A violinist sings at Wulapalooza

Wulapalooza rocks Brown Field

Students celebrated the 20th annual Wulapalooza — Willamette University’s annual earth, art and music festival — on April 14.

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Students in two lines face the audience singing in "Wings of Fire"

‘Wings of Fire’ makes world premiere at Willamette

Director Susan Coromel and composer Austin Green discuss the evolution and staging of the musical based on a tragic fire that shaped workers’ rights in the U.S.

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Digital rendering of new meeting rooms in McCulloch Stadium, chairs around tables and whiteboard

Athletics facilities renovated and improved

A number of Willamette University’s athletic facilities are undergoing renovation and construction projects.

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2018–19 Tuition for the College of Liberal Arts

Tuition increase is projected to place Willamette in the middle of its Northwest 5 peer institutions and in line with similar private colleges and universities nationally.

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Blitz the Bearcat with the Willamette motto "Not unto ourselves alone are we born."

Two more rounds of Bearcat Days this week and next

The program follows last month’s successful admitted-student event.

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Students pack boxes as part of Willamette’s Global Day of Service

Service blooms in Willamette community

Bearcats volunteer at nonprofits across the country on Willamette’s Global Day of Service.

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A performer with a lacy white blanket draped over their head and body

A snail’s life

Unconventional, multimedia Dempsey Lecture chronicles the environmental plight of Taiwan’s golden treasure snail.

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Blitz the Bearcat with the Willamette motto "Not unto ourselves alone are we born."

Willamette to welcome Bearcat Days visitors

Please join us in welcoming approximately 500 guests to campus for Bearcat Days on March 15–16, April 5–6 and 12–13.

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Colby Takeda

Colby R. Takeda ’11

In 2015, Colby Takeda became one of the nation’s youngest administrators when he opened The Plaza at Waikiki, an assisted living community in Honolulu.

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Professor Ricardo De Mambro Santos speaks to three students about an exhibit in Hatfield library

Nine faculty receive tenure, promotion

President Steve Thorsett and the Board of Trustees recognize faculty members’ teaching excellence, scholarly or creative accomplishment, and university and community service.

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Exercise Science seniors at ACSM Conference

ExSci seniors present at ACSM conference

The Northwest American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) conference was held in Bend, Oregon.

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Willamette ranked in top 10 for Peace Corps volunteers

The only Oregon school in the top 10 colleges with fewer than 5,000 undergraduates, Willamette has 13 Bearcats serving around the world.

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3-point challenge logo

Women’s basketball is in fifth place nationally for cancer fundraiser

The only Division III school in the top 10, Willamette can win a huge cash bonus by getting the most new pledges the week of Feb. 18.

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Andre E. Johnson

MLK celebration inspires the Willamette community to take action

Events included Into the Streets community service projects, a book club and a lecture.

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Delta Gamma house

Delta Gamma members vote unanimously to vacate chapter house

The sorority will relinquish the lease to their house at the end of the academic year.

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Updates to online Financial Aid Self Service tool

Students will be able to view and accept awards online through the new system.

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Associate Professor Jonathan Cole teaches the art of stage combat to Will Bremer ’18 (left) and William Forkin ’19.

Tools of my trade — stage combat

Enter Associate Professor Jonathan Cole’s stage combat classroom.

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ASP student receives certificate at closing ceremony.

Farewell to the 29th class of the American Studies Program

Students celebrate their many accomplishments before heading back to Japan.

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Assistant Professor Cindy Koenig Richards

Civic Communication and Media program receives national recognition

Willamette’s CCM major prepares students to make influential, ethical contributions to civic life.

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Blitz the Bearcat with a laptop

Portal to replace website gateway pages

Over winter break, WITS will retire the Willamette website’s gateway pages for students, faculty and staff.

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coffee

Next Cookies and Conversation planned for Tuesday

Afternoon casual conversation with university leadership open to all students.

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Clean energy, legislation and language

Willamette’s faculty colloquium tackles climate change at the ballot.

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Masha Gessen speaking to Willamette students

Masha Gessen asks, ‘Is democracy in danger?’

The fall 2017 Atkinson Lecture speaker finds autocratic parallels between recent political developments in Russia and America.

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Wallace Long conducting

Choir alumni celebrate their community of music

Former Willamette singers return to campus for a special reunion and a remarkable professor.

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Kosti Efstathiou

Kostantinos Efstathiou hits the ground running

Willamette’s new campus rec director talks about his past and future plans for the university

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Tynan Gable 17’

Tynan Gable ’17 recognized for Hatfield Library Research Award

Tynan Gable ’17 was commended by the adjudication committee for the Mark O. Hatfield Library Research Award based on work from an EXSCI 248 class.

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Bird walk

Up with the lark for Willamette walks

Willamette students, faculty learn about birds and identify species.

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coffee

Cookies and Conversation planned for Tuesday

All Willamette students invited to join university leaders for this monthly event.

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SCRP participants in front of Ford Hall

A summer of science turns students on to research

During this Willamette program, students make breakthroughs while working side-by-side with professors.

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Jane Austen with earbuds

Grace Goudy Distinguished Artist Series: Jane Austen’s Songbook

Piano, vocal performance highlights 19th century songs

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Parents greet student at Family Weekend

Happy families

Student-run Family Weekend earns kudos for its organization and events.

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Network password update needed

Mandatory password change for everyone

Members of the university community must change their Willamette network passwords by Oct. 17.

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Sparks Athletic Center

Willamette plans for future capital improvement projects

The university will direct funding to athletic projects, followed by continued enhancements to residential spaces.

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Alumni Weekend ’17

Alumni Weekend reunites and reconnects

The campus community worked together to create a memorable, meaningful weekend for alumni.

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Wendy Red Star

Hallie Ford honors 25 years of contemporary American Indian art

Art museum has long history with Crow’s Shadow Institute of Arts.

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Activities expo students having fun

Students sign up for a variety of clubs and groups

Activities and Resources Expo featured more than 100 opportunities for student involvement.

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alumni weekend Blitz and alumna smile

Alumni Weekend will bring Bearcat grads back to campus

Events for alumni to reconnect and reunite with classmates kick off on Friday.

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Willamette welcomes incoming students

Undergraduate, graduate students represent dozens of states and several foreign countries.

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Opening Days leaders performance

Opening Days gives the class of 2021 a proper Willamette welcome

New students move in, explore campus and prepare for life as a Bearcat.

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faculty awards 2017 Willamette university

2017 Faculty Awards announced

Seven outstanding faculty members honored at Opening Convocation.

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Marie Watt artist at work

Sewing new and old tales into familiar fabrics

In her latest work, acclaimed Native American artist Marie Watt ’90 explores the symbiotic relationships between humans and the natural world.

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Waller Hall at Willamette University

Fundraising brought in $17.785M for 2016–17

Gifts recognize the university’s past and future impact, will enhance the student experience.

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Mandy Devereux

New developments in student career services

The summer brings changes in the Office of Career Development.

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Willamette University Commencement

A historic commencement

Willamette’s three colleges celebrate their students’ achievements.

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Alika Masei ’17

A passion for social justice

Alika Masei ’17 has dedicated his college career to creating a better place for all students.

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SARAs

SARAs celebrate a decade of service

Sexual Assault Response Allies provide victims of sexual assault the option of speaking confidentially and anonymously to a fellow student.

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Lauren Sharkey

Putting her heart and soul into law

Lauren Sharkey ’15, JD’17, the second graduate of Willamette College of Law’s 3+3 program, hopes to use the law to improve people’s lives.

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Willamette University

“An orchestra at your fingertips”

Zach Duell ’18, the university’s sole organ student this semester, explains why the Bishop Family Organ is so grand.

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Willamette Singers

Willamette Singers win Best Undergraduate Large Vocal Jazz Ensemble

The group wins Best Undergraduate Large Vocal Jazz Ensemble

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Lee

The search for historical truth: Jason Lee and Willamette commemorations

Grace Pochis ’17 examines the influences that shaped how the history of the university and Jason Lee has been told.

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Mapes

From the Marines to an MBA

Herschel Mapes ’16, MBA ’17 finds a refreshing challenge after choosing a nontraditional path.

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The DiEllos

Developing “curious minds”

Estate gifts of $6.8 million will support generations of Willamette students.

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Willamette sets 2017–18 tuition and fees

CLA tuition increase is a historic low for the university.

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Willamette University

Final round of Bearcat Days this week

Help Admissions welcome admitted students to campus Thursday and Friday.

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Manfull and Weiss with trophy

Willamette team’s success leaves nothing to debate

The Debate Union heads to national tournament this week.

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Blitz welcomes a student

Second round of Bearcat Days this week

The program follows last month’s successful admitted-student event.

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Baxter Complex

New housing changes help first-year students find common ground

First-Year Commons will include Terra, Belknap, Cascadia and Matthews halls and Baxter Complex.

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David Griffith

Chemistry professor secures $325K National Science Foundation grant

David Griffith and senior research students study estrogen in aquatic environments.

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Spring break reminders

Here are a few things for students to know concerning housing, food and transportation.

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Six faculty granted tenure for 2017–18 academic year

The university recognized Anna Cox, Brandi Row Lazzarini, Roy Pérez, Abigail Susik, Karen Sandrik and Kawika Pierson for their teaching, scholarship and service.

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Day of Service

Bearcats unite for Day of Service

In Salem and across the country, members of the Willamette country joined together to do good.

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Blitz the Bearcat

Willamette welcomes Bearcat Days visitors

Events for admitted students kick off Thursday and Friday.

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American Studies Program students at PDX

American Studies Program students join the community

Last week, Willamette University welcomed 119 ASP students to campus.

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Lear's Daughters rehearsal

In “Lear’s Daughters,” female voices take stage.

Feminist prequel to famous Shakespeare play imagines sisters before “King Lear.”

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Swen newsfeed

In 3-2 engineering program, Donald Swen ’18 discovers challenge and success

Through Willamette’s joint degree program, Donald Swen ’18 heads abroad, works with robots and finds shorter path to advanced engineering degree.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates