Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

President Pelton honored for raising awareness of cultural heritage

Willamette President M. Lee Pelton recently received the Heritage Education Award from the Willamette Heritage Center at The Mill in honor of his and the university’s work in raising awareness of the diversity of Salem’s culture and history.

The honor is part of the 19th Annual Heritage Awards, which recognize leaders and organizations that have contributed significantly to the community’s heritage. The Willamette Heritage Center home of the local Marion County Historical Society and Mission Mill Museum.

The award recognizes numerous accomplishments for Pelton at Willamette, including the initiation of Willamette’s significant celebration of Martin Luther King Jr., support for the growth of the university’s annual Social Powwow, forging a partnership with the Salem Multicultural Institute, and honoring World War II Japanese internees who were students of Willamette.

His other activities have included strengthening the capacity of the university’s historical archives in Hatfield Library, and showing unwavering support for the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, which features a significant collection of Oregon Native American artifacts.

Pelton also partnered with other community leaders and employers to find ways to foster economic growth and vitality in downtown Salem; established four Centers for Excellence at Willamette that support research and outreach in cultural heritage-related issues; and supported the university’s emphasis on service, with Willamette students volunteering more than 60,000 hours annually in the Salem community.