Willamette welcomes the class of 2015

Opening Days

Families took advantage of Thursday’s balmy morning and cloudless sky as they explored Willamette University during the start of Opening Days. Cardinal and gold balloons speckled campus while President Stephen Thorsett warmly welcomed arriving families.

The Panhellenic Council raised money for Greek scholarships by selling donated dorm supplies, and the council’s tent in Jackson Plaza was a popular stop along the way to the Putnam University Center. The dean of Campus Life talked to parents while students picked up orientation packets, keys and student identification.

Blitz the Bearcat brought smiles to excited students and families in the bustling university center. “Yay!” exclaimed a first-year student as she hugged Blitz, who then high-fived student-athletes before settling down to take photographs with waiting parents.  

“Just think, before you know it, it will be you,” said one parent to a first-year student's younger sister.   

After new students checked-in, student-athletes and volunteers were on hand to help move new arrivals into the residence halls or answer questions about the community, campus life or College Colloquium.

Many of the class of 2015 have been on campus and in the community since Aug. 20, helping others by participating in one of the university’s service programs. About 150 of the 623 incoming students spent much of the week in Jump Start, living the university motto, “Not unto ourselves alone are we born.”  

Incoming class

Of the 8,175 who applied from 2,125 high schools to attend Willamette, this year’s incoming class is geographically and culturally diverse, including students from 28 states and 17 countries. About one in four of the incoming class identify themselves as multicultural.

More facts about the new class:

  • 35 are valedictorians.
  • Median SAT score is 1830, and the median ACT score is 28.
  • Median high school grade point average is 3.66, with a median class rank of 87%.
  • First-generation students comprise 18% of the enrolling class.
  • Of the first-year students, 23% come from traditionally under-represented groups – matching the highest in Willamette’s history.

Willamette University’s three graduate schools of education, law and management also welcomed more than 300 new students for the 2011-12 academic year.