One of 40 Colleges That Change Lives

“Willamette is a rising star — a place that does its work well and has momentum to claim its rightful spot among the few colleges in this country that prioritize undergraduate education.”
— Colleges That Change Lives

Willamette is a university where engaged, enterprising, independent thinkers learn how to turn their knowledge into action. But don’t just take our word for it.

The popular guide, “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges,” recognizes Willamette for hands-on academic experiences that cultivate critical thinking and creativity; professors dedicated to mentorship; and lively, diverse opportunities for fun and personal growth.

Click here to find out how Willamette changes lives.

Here are a few of the many ways that Willamette enriches students’ lives.

Distinctly Willamette Academics & Professors Campus Life Our Motto

Distinctly Willamette
Willamette is “a place where you will grow, if you take advantage of the university’s abundant offerings and active community.”
— Colleges That Change Lives

Distinctly Willamette

  • Long tradition of educating leaders: Founded in 1842, Willamette has produced government, business and cultural leaders for nearly 175 years.
  • Across the street from the state capitol: No other Oregon university offers such direct access to state government — a boon for students seeking internships or those interested in politics.
  • Learning opportunities at Zena Forest: How many other liberal arts universities can say they own a forest? Ours provides numerous ways to tie the local landscape to academic exploration.
  • Co-located with Tokyo International University of America: Make friends with the Pacific Rim students who live in our campus community every year — or head to Japan to study.
  • Dual degree programs: Interested in a law degree or an MBA? The dual degree programs with our grad schools allow you to earn both your bachelor's and master's in less time.
Academics & Professors
Willamette students “happily skip the prestige mill in exchange for honest mentorship, a rich array of hands-on experiences, and liberal learning that cultivates critical thinking and values.”
— Colleges That Change Lives

Academics & Professors

  • Professors who are dedicated mentors: Ten Willamette professors have been named Oregon Professor of the Year since 1990 — a record unmatched by any other school in the state.
  • Small classes emphasize participatory learning: With our 10:1 student to faculty ratio, you won't be lost in a large lecture hall. Our professors encourage discussions and engaged learning.
  • Abundant hands-on projects: We provide numerous ways to collaborate with professors on research or embark on your own projects. Or join the 68% of students who complete internships.
  • Well-balanced liberal arts education: You'll take a wide array of courses that will broaden your knowledge while helping you hone your critical thinking skills and creativity.
  • Focus on global learning: Our students think of the world as their campus — 56% earn study abroad credit and many also travel for research and internships.
Campus Life
“The happiest [students] say they took on leadership opportunities early — an easy option, given the wide range of student activities on campus.”
— Colleges That Change Lives

Campus Life

  • More than 100 clubs and organizations: Our wide array of clubs rivals that of much larger schools. If you still can't find one that suits you, we'll help you start your own.
  • Widespread participation: 95% of our students participate in campus clubs and activities, and they join an average of three organizations.
  • Zealous about sports: One in four Willamette students compete in varsity athletics, and the majority participates in intramurals each year. Club sports are also widely popular.
  • Pacific Northwest's natural playground: Skiing, camping, white-water rafting, hiking, snowboarding — enjoy these on your own or through organized trips in our Outdoor Program.
  • Vibrant arts community: Willamette has 16 music ensembles and performing arts clubs, four major theatre productions annually, its own art museum, and multiple arts and music festivals.
Our Motto
Willamette’s motto, “Not unto ourselves alone are we born,” is “a guiding principle, not a marketing mantra.” It influences students “to think about their own powers to do good in the world.”
— Colleges That Change Lives

Our Motto

  • Enterprising student body: Our students frequently start projects to benefit the community — including the Bistro coffee shop, the Bike Shop, Wulapalooza and Zena Farm.
  • Dedication to sustainability: Willamette's meaningful efforts to address sustainability have been recognized by Sierra magazine and the National Wildlife Federation.
  • Serious about service: Our undergraduates dedicate 44,000 hours a year to volunteering, whether it's on campus, in surrounding Salem or in communities nationwide.
  • Serving after graduation: Willamette consistently ranks among the top 20 small schools for number of Peace Corps volunteers. AmeriCorps and Teach For America are also popular.
  • Lifelong engagement: Our graduates live the motto for the rest of their lives, whether they're launching companies and nonprofits or devoting themselves to public service.