Our Stories

Artise BurtonArtise Burton

Artise Burton: It's your life. Lead it.

Artise Burton, a 2004 sociology graduate from Tacoma, Wash., knows what a difference Willamette can make. When he arrived on campus, he dreamed of shaking things up as CEO of a Fortune 500 company. But his goals changed when he began volunteering at a local elementary school down the street. Working there as a tutor, he became a role model for two African-American youngsters who looked to him for hope. It didn't take long for him to discover that the classroom was where he belonged - as a teacher.

"It was because of my volunteer work at Willamette - and because of the education I received - that I realized my true calling was to be a teacher," says Burton. "I want to help students the way I was helped when I was growing up. I want to be a steppingstone for children, and the experiences I had at Willamette motivated me to do that."

Now he's enrolled in our Master of Arts in Teaching program, which will prepare him for his immediate goal of instructing grade school children. But eventually, Burton is eyeing a potential career as a principal - a position he never would have considered before finding his focus at Willamette.

"Willamette gives you the opportunity to try new things and explore avenues you never thought you would," says Burton. "There are so many experiences that Willamette has for you, whether it's studying abroad, internships at the Capitol or community service. The chances you have to be a leader are extreme. The atmosphere engages you."

Regardless of how you choose to define success, Willamette will put you in a position to do something remarkable with your life - and we think that's what college is all about.