About Willamette

Non nobis solum nati sumus — Not unto ourselves alone are we born. For 175 years, this motto has guided Willamette University in its mission to provide rigorous education in the liberal arts and professional fields of law and management.

A place to learn and grow

At Willamette, teaching and learning is strengthened by scholarship and service. Prepared and inspired by their time here, our graduates transform knowledge into action, lead lives of achievement, contribution and meaning, and strive to make the world a better place.

Willamette is one of only 40 elite institutions nationwide recognized by the popular “Colleges That Change Lives” guidebook, which noted our outstanding faculty — including 11 of the 27 Oregon Professors of the Year — and vibrant campus life.

Through our unique 50-year relationship with Tokyo International University, we also bring a global perspective to campus and to Salem. Every year, we welcome some 100 Asian students who are eager to share their language and culture. The tradition of Japanese taiko drumming has found a new home at Willamette, where the dramatic performances regularly underscore many campus events and festivities.

Where past and future meet

Willamette University is located in the heart of historic downtown Salem, Oregon, adjacent to the Oregon State Capitol, where many of our students intern with legislators and in government departments.

The architectural character of Willamette’s campus is modeled after the red brick walls and white trimmed windows of our 150-year-old Waller Hall. Buildings are surrounded by majestic trees, parklike green spaces, botanical and Japanese-style gardens, and native wildlife. The picturesque Mill Stream flows through campus.

Each year, members of the incoming class participate in the tradition of floating lighted candles down the stream to symbolize the different paths they’ll take at Willamette.

Another beloved Willamette tradition takes shape in the five sequoias that tower near Waller Hall. Planted in 1942, the Star Trees are said to be the largest trees on any U.S. college or university campus. Walk into the middle of them, look up and you’ll see a star-shaped patch of Oregon sky.

As one of the special events commemorating Willamette’s 175th anniversary, we’re reviving the tradition of lighting the Star Trees for the winter holidays. We’re not simply celebrating our history — we’re looking ahead to a bright future.