Economic Impact

Salem is home

Our Community

For more than 160 years, Willamette University has called Salem home while quietly going about the important business of educating bright young minds and cultivating the next generation of thinkers, creators and leaders.

As Oregon’s state capital and home to beautiful parks and a historic downtown, Salem gives the University community the opportunity to enjoy a high quality of life. In turn, Willamette enriches the community with cultural, educational and entertainment opportunities and with abundant volunteerism and community service. 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 futures of Salem and of Willamette University are inextricably linked. This information highlights a few aspects of this important community partnership.

Contributing to the Salem community in three primary areas:

  1. the economic impact of Willamette as an employer on the area economy;
  2. how much Willamette adds to Salem's quality of life through educational, cultural, recreational and entertainment opportunities; and
  3. how much Willamette students, faculty and staff contribute to our quality of life through philanthropy, service and volunteerism.

$200 million per year *

Willamette University’s contribution to the local economy


Economic contributions each year:

  • $34.5 million in PAYROLL to more than 500 employees residing in Marion and Polk counties
  • $21 million in LOCAL SPENDING by the university itself, plus its faculty, staff and students. This includes about $3 million in local spending by an estimated 15,000 campus visitors each year. **

* Source: Salem Economic Development Corporation (SEDCOR) and Willamette’s Office of Institutional Research.

** This number refers to spending by alumni and family members attending four annual events: Commencement, Parent & Family Weekend, Reunion Weekend and new student orientation. It does not include local spending by the approximately 80,000 who attend nearly 1,500 events, such as lectures, performances, exhibitions, meetings, athletic events, conferences, camps and other activities taking place on the Willamette campus every year.