A renovated theatre, a Nobel Prize-winning alumnus and recognition as a best-value university were among the highlights of 2010 at Willamette University.
Check out our photo gallery for a glimpse of some of the biggest happenings during the past year.
Recognized as a Best Value
Three rankings this year called Willamette one of the best values in the country: Princeton Review listed it among the best value private colleges, Kiplinger’s named it one of the best value private liberal arts colleges, and PreLaw Magazine recognized the College of Law as one of the best value law schools. Willamette also was named one of 11 up-and-coming national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report for making promising and innovative changes in academics, faculty and student life.
MBA Programs Grow
Willamette’s MBA programs at the Atkinson Graduate School of Management grew significantly this year. The MBA for Professionals program (above) in Portland and Salem reached a milestone of more than 100 graduates in January, and the full-time MBA programs in Salem recruited a second consecutive class of nearly 100 students in August. Both Oregon Business Magazine and the Portland Business Journal listed Willamette’s MBA among the top programs in the region and the largest in Oregon, based on full-time enrollment.
Learning from Experts
The Willamette community heard from two notable people this year through the Atkinson Lecture Series — providing students with opportunities to meet and learn from respected intellectuals. Novelist John Irving (right), author of “The World According to Garp” and “The Cider House Rules,” visited in February. New York Times journalist David Rohde (left) spoke in November about his experiences being kidnapped and held captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Honored for Service
Willamette was one of only six colleges and universities nationwide to receive the Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Presidential Award, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement. Willamette students, faculty and staff volunteer about 149,000 hours annually in communities worldwide.
Playing on the International Pitch
The Willamette Rugby Football Club took its game to international fields during spring break, playing teams in Ireland and Scotland during a weeklong tour — and giving them a global perspective as they explored landmarks, history and cultures. Rugby has existed off and on as a Willamette club sport since the late 1960s. The current team was initiated by students several years ago.
Enhanced Collaborative Research
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded Willamette $710,000 to support scholarship and teaching, including $460,000 to create the Liberal Arts Research Collaborative (LARC), an interdisciplinary collaborative research program for undergraduate students and professors. History Professor Seth Cotlar is the first director of LARC, the newest in Willamette’s host of programs that support undergraduate research.
Honoring the Graduates
In May, Willamette celebrated 713 graduates at four commencement ceremonies. The undergraduate College of Liberal Arts class included 410 graduates (top left); Atkinson Graduate School of Management awarded 69 MBA degrees to early career and career change students (top right); the College of Law awarded 138 JD and LLM degrees (bottom right); and the Graduate School of Education awarded 96 MAT and MEd degrees (bottom left).
A Host of National Scholars
Thirteen students and alumni earned national fellowships for their academic, leadership and service accomplishments — providing them money for research or graduate school. They included Jeff Weber ’10, who won a $250,000 Hertz Fellowship for leaders in the applied sciences and engineering, the nation’s most generous doctoral fellowship. Other awards included three Fulbright Grants, a Truman Scholarship, a Goldwater Scholarship and a Javits Fellowship.
Law Professors Make Transitions
Six College of Law professors are transitioning to new phases in their lives — together they represent 162 years of teaching at the college. Left to right: Richard Hagedorn is moving to part-time status; Leroy Tornquist will move to part-time status in 2011; Ross Runkel retired in 1999 but has returned as a visiting professor since 2005; Kathy Graham is moving to part-time status and relinquishing her associate dean position; and Dean Richardson is moving to part-time status. Not pictured is Sam Jacobson, who is retiring.
Bearcats Excel in Class and Competition
Numerous Willamette athletes were honored this year for their academic talents, including cross country and track and field athlete Chris Platano ’10 (above), who was named Third Team Academic All-America by ESPN The Magazine, and Cameron Mitchell ’10, who was a finalist for the Jostens Trophy, which goes to the top NCAA Division III basketball student-athlete in the country for academics, athletics and community service. Bearcats from five sports also competed in NCAA national championships: men’s and women’s track and field, women’s tennis and men’s and women’s cross country.
MBA Programs Reaccredited
The Atkinson Graduate School of Management’s accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International was reaffirmed. Also, the full-time MBA program’s accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA) was renewed for not-for-profit and public management. The Willamette full-time MBA program is one of only two in the world to hold this dual accreditation.
New Students Join Willamette
In late August, 432 first-year College of Liberal Arts students and 47 transfer students arrived on campus for their five-day Opening Days orientation. The new undergraduate students were among the strongest academically in Willamette’s history. Willamette also welcomed 161 first-year law students, 97 new MBA students, 84 new MAT students and 12 new MEd students.
College of Liberal Arts Welcomes New Dean
Marlene Moore was appointed as the new dean of the College of Liberal Arts. She came to the position after 34 years at the University of Portland. During her first semester, she worked to improve the way the dean’s office works with students, and she continued the college’s work on applying for reaccreditation.
More than 600 Willamette alumni and guests came back to campus in late September for Alumni Weekend — the largest turnout at the event in the past few decades. More than 300 also gathered for 7 Cities, 1 Night, a networking event where alumni met up in cities across the U.S.: Boise, Idaho; Portland, Ore.; Seattle; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; and New York.
New Law Student Lounge
A gift from Rick Wollenberg JD’78 led to an extensive renovation of the ground-level College of Law student lounge. Additions include a coffee shop, fireplace and plenty of comfortable seating for students. The changes transformed the space into a vibrant gathering place that encourages closer interaction between students and their professors.
Alumnus Earns Nobel
The 2010 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences went to Willamette economics graduate Dale Mortensen ’61, the Ida C. Cook Professor of Economics at Northwestern University. He shared the prize with Peter Diamond from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Christopher Pissarides from the London School of Economics. The men pioneered a theory that helps explain why people remain unemployed despite many job vacancies.
Education Grant Addresses Algebra Teaching
Graduate School of Education Professor Steve Rhine won a $742,000 Fund for Improvement of Post-Secondary Education grant from the U.S. Department of Education to create the Algebraic Thinking Project, a consortium with three other universities which aims to restructure the way new teachers learn to help their students understand algebra. The graduate school also earned accreditation this year from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
Renovations Enhance Theatre Building
The renovated playhouse debuted this fall after undergoing a $5.6 million overhaul of the building’s infrastructure, creating labs for theatre combat training, dance, costumes, acting, prosthetics, digital media and set design. The building also features a 54-by-54-foot black box theatre. The new features enhance creativity and experiential learning for students. About $500,000 of the project was paid for by donors as part of the fundraising Campaign for Willamette.
More Recognition for Sustainability
Ford Hall, Willamette’s newest academic building, earned gold certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program — one of the top honors in green building design. Other sustainability honors for Willamette this year included recognition from Sierra magazine as one of the nation’s greenest universities, and Professor Joe Bowersox earning a 2010 Citizenship Award from SOLV, a nonprofit that works to improve Oregon’s environment.
Oregon Professor of the Year
Willamette had its 10th professor since 1990 win Oregon Professor of the Year: Karen McFarlane Holman, associate professor of chemistry. The award honors undergraduate instructors who excel in teaching and positively influence the lives and careers of their students. She is just one example of Willamette professors’ dedication to good teaching and serving as mentors for their students.
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