Willamette University Graduates Largest Class in School History

The largest class in the school's 162-year history will graduate from Willamette University in Salem Sunday, May 16.

The College of Liberal Arts will award degrees to 434 undergraduates. Representing 27 states and four countries, more than half of the Class of 2004 are non-Oregon residents. In keeping with national trends, women students outnumber the men 60 to 40 percent, and the most popular degrees, also the case last year, are economics, biology and English.

The Willamette College of Law will award 116 JD and two LLM degrees to a class that represents 87 undergraduate colleges and universities and 19 states. The law Class of 2004 is 46 percent women.

The Atkinson Graduate School of Management will award 52 degrees to a class evenly divided between men and women and who represent 10 states and eight countries. Almost half the graduates are non-Oregon residents.

The School of Education will award 70 degrees to a class that is 74 percent women and 86 percent Oregon residents.

Willamette University will recognize four prominent individuals with honorary degrees.

LeVar Burton, who will also serve as commencement speaker at the College of Liberal Arts ceremony, has won 18 Emmy Awards for Reading Rainbow, a PBS children's literacy program he has hosted since 1983.

Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. is a prolific writer and educator whose focus is African- American literature.

Ann Rule, a former student at Willamette, is regarded by many as the foremost true crime writer in America.

Willamette Trustee William Webber, early Tektronix vice president, has a long and distinguished philanthropic history with the University.

Willamette University graduate school commencement speakers are:

  • Greg Merten, long-time executive at Hewlett Packard, Atkinson Graduate School;
  • U.S. House of Representative Jay Inslee JD'76, College of Law; and,
  • Alumna Drea Ferguson, School of Education.

The main commencement activities are:

  • Atkinson Graduate School of Management commencement, 9 a.m., Hudson Hall;
  • College of Law commencement, 11:30 a.m., Quad; and
  • College of Liberal Arts and School of Education commencement, 3:30 p.m., Quad

For more information, please visit our Commencement Web Site.