Alumni Weekend Change FAQ

Please review the questions below for answers to frequently asked questions about the schedule change for Willamette University’s annual Alumni Reunion Weekend in 2018. Additional questions may be directed to alumni@willamette.edu.

  1. Is the 2017 Alumni Reunion Weekend being moved to a different date?
  2. What are the dates for the 2018 and 2019 Alumni Reunion Weekend?
  3. Are all alumni welcome to Alumni Reunion Weekend?
  4. Why was Alumni Reunion Weekend moved to a different month?
  5. What about alumni who will find it more difficult to attend in June?
  6. Will we still be able to meet with Willamette students and faculty in June?
  7. Can alumni stay in the residence halls in June?
  8. Will the Distinguished Alumni Awards still be presented at Alumni Weekend?
  9. What about Homecoming?
  10. Will the weather be better in June?
  11. Will FORE Willamette move to June, also?

1. Is the 2017 Alumni Reunion Weekend being moved to a different date?

No, it will take place as planned on Sept. 15-17, 2017. Starting in 2018, the Alumni Reunion Weekend will be held every June, instead of September.


2. What are the dates for the 2018 and 2019 Alumni Reunion Weekend?

The weekend of June 8-10, 2018 celebrates class years ending in 3s and 8s, while June 7-9, 2019 recognizes class years ending in 4s and 9s.


3. Are all alumni welcome to Alumni Reunion Weekend?

Absolutely. All alumni are welcome and encouraged to attend Alumni Reunion Weekend!


4. Why was Alumni Reunion Weekend moved to a different month?

This decision was weighed carefully.

We have been delighted that Alumni Reunion Weekend programming and attendance has grown substantially in recent years. But the event’s success brings some challenges. We are outgrowing space on campus and stretching resources thin, while Salem is running out of suitable and affordable lodging for weekend guests--a key reason that we made the move to a time of the year outside the academic calendar.

Although Alumni Reunion Weekend has been held in September for many years, this adjustment to the schedule offers significant advantages. 

While we’re excited to see you return to Willamette any day of the year, the timing of Alumni Reunion Weekend in September places an undeniable strain on our community and its resources. It’s problematic to hold this multi-day event for 600-800 guests just after the campus-wide events of new student orientation at all three colleges. Alumni Reunion Weekend is also followed in short order by Family Weekend, another large campus event with more than 800 guests.

Our facilities and housekeeping staff are tremendous partners, however, we are placing undue stress on their ability to deliver high-quality services to our students and faculty while also meeting our needs during Alumni Reunion Weekend.

In addition, as classes are not in session during June, Alumni Weekend events will not displace students or faculty from prime locations such as Rogers Music Center. In past years, students and faculty were unable to use some learning spaces for up to a week at a time. The addition of guests restricted student access to learning facilities as well as food services during the weekend. The change in timing enables Willamette to fulfill its responsibility to provide students with an excellent educational experience — while preserving its commitment to improving engagement with alumni.

This move will allow returning alumni to focus on enjoying meaningful interactions with their classmates, as well as celebrating the university’s past, present and future. Additional benefits include:

  • More offerings for attendees, including lectures from notable alumni and faculty, joint student and faculty presentations, and meaningful opportunities to connect with your classmates and your alma mater;
  • New events such as the Saturday Night Experience — featuring casino tables, DJ and dance floor, casual lounge spaces, vintage arcade games, food, beverages and more — that will continue under the Bearcat Tent until midnight;
  • Expanded and improved food service, allowing all classes to hold a reunion dinner on campus instead of having to meet at local restaurants with little connection to Willamette;
  • The ability to stay in a Willamette residence hall — a nostalgic, convenient and affordable lodging option that allows you to gather informally with your friends and classmates, easily get ready for events and visit late into the night;
  • The opportunity to hold the FORE Willamette Golf Tournament in conjunction with Alumni Reunion Weekend, so you can enjoy both events with your classmates.


5. What about alumni who will find it more difficult to attend in June?

Unfortunately, there’s no perfect time to organize an event like Alumni Reunion Weekend. While June is still a busy time for many people, alumni survey data shows that equal numbers of alumni prefer a June or September date. We’ve also heard from numerous alumni who say it’s easier for them and their families if Alumni Reunion Weekend is held at the beginning of summer, rather than in September when many parents are getting their children ready for a new school year.


6. Will we still be able to meet with Willamette students and faculty in June?

Yes. Even though campus isn’t as busy in summer, about 300 students are still around, conducting research or participating in internships or summer jobs. We’ll make sure you have opportunities to interact with current students to find out what life is like at Willamette today.

Plus, as we believe that Willamette should be the intellectual hub for alumni throughout their lives, we plan to work with faculty and alumni to develop some exciting new events, such as lectures and talks during the weekend.  An added benefit is that faculty will have more time to dedicate to their engagement with you.


7. Can alumni stay in the residence halls in June?

Yes. By opening residence halls to alumni during the weekend, we’re able to provide a nostalgic, convenient and affordable lodging option. It will be easier for you to attend and enjoy the on-campus events, such as reunion dinners, receptions and the Saturday Night Experience.

We plan to allocate certain halls to certain class years, so you’ll be surrounded by your friends and classmates. We’ll provide bed linens — just bring your clothes and toiletries, as you would when staying in any hotel.


8. Will the Distinguished Alumni Awards still be presented at Alumni Weekend?

Yes, we’ll still formally celebrate the impressive Bearcats who receive Alumni Awards.


9. What about Homecoming?

Homecoming, an event that has not consistently occurred each year. We will now establish an official annual Homecoming Weekend in October dedicated to celebrating our Bearcats on and off the field, including an annual Hall of Fame ceremony and celebration, football game, family-friendly tailgate and the ability to audit classes.


10. Will the weather be better in June?

Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee it won’t rain in June. This is Oregon, after all. But, weather.com notes that the average temperature for Salem in June is 74 degrees, with average rainfall of 1.55 inches. Whether it’s sunny or rainy, we’re sure you’ll have a wonderful time reconnecting with your friends, classmates and alma mater at Alumni Reunion Weekend.


11. Will FORE Willamette move to June, also?

Yes, FORE Willamette will move to Monday, June 11, 2018 and be paired with Alumni Reunion Weekend. For nearly 45 years, FORE Willamette has been an important university tradition that brings together alumni, parents, coaches, and corporate and community partners to celebrate Bearcat Athletics. The tradition will continue. Additional details will be announced as soon as possible.