Cultural Opportunities

As one of the area’s major employers, Willamette is also an important player in the local economy and, as such, contributes leadership, support and resources to worthy community initiatives. The University offers hundreds of free or low-cost entertainment, educational and cultural events each year.

Educational & Cultural Events

  • The Atkinson Lecture Series hosts national and international speakers of the highest caliber.
  • Retired residents are invited to return to school with the Institute for Continued Learning, which provides low-cost courses, access to professors and access to the Hatfield Library.
  • The Hallie Ford Museum of Art is the region’s only art museum, attracting about 24,000 visitors each year. Museum talks, lectures and admission on Tuesdays are free, and local teachers are trained to use the museum’s permanent collection within their curricula.
  • Thanks to a long-standing and mutually beneficial partnership, the Oregon Symphony Association in Salem has chosen Willamette University as its permanent home for local performances.
  • Willamette offers season after season of excellent student theatre productions, as well as about 60 concerts each year. Nearly half the concerts are free.
  • The university holds hundreds of free or low-cost entertainment, educational and cultural events, including forums, readings and lectures. Numerous student-run programs, such as the annual social Pow-Wow, Lu’au, Africa Day, Wulapalooza music festival and Martin Luther King Jr. events celebrate our community’s diverse cultures.

Local and Athletic Events

Special Programs

  • Willamette Academy is an intensive academic program that helps local, ethnically diverse teenagers prepare for college, at no cost to them or their families.
  • Tokyo International University of America (TIUA) brings 100 to 150 Japanese students to live and study in Salem each year, contributing to Willamette’s reputation as one of the most diverse undergraduate institutions in Oregon. TIUA also sponsors Japanese cultural programs for local children during the summer.


  • Willamette University supports our community through sponsorship of local events, including the Salem Art Fair, World Beat Festival, Clay Ball, Oregon Symphony in Salem, the Crystal Apple Awards, Academic All-Stars, Salem Chamber Orchestra and many more.

Library / Bookstore / Food Services

  • The Mark O. Hatfield Library and the College of Law Library provide academic resources for the public.
  • The Willamette Bookstore allows customers to special-order books.
  • The campus food service, Bon Appetit, has a strong reputation for low-cost, fresh food and for its support of local farmers and ranchers. Many people who work downtown eat meals at Goudy Commons, and a new Japanese-themed dining hall at Tokyo International University of America is attracting the public as well.