Willamette University Sends Off Class of 2009

Willamette University will celebrate the class of 2009 in four commencement ceremonies Sunday, May 17.

The College of Liberal Arts will award 434 bachelor's degrees in a ceremony that begins at 3 p.m. on the Quad. Award-winning journalist and political commentator Juan Williams will speak, and honorary degrees will also be presented to singer/composer Bernice Johnson Reagon and author Timothy Egan. Graduates originate from 29 states, with 39 percent coming from Oregon, and women make up 55 percent of the class. The most popular majors are economics, psychology, politics, English and biology.

The Willamette College of Law will award 132 JD and 2 LLM degrees in a ceremony at 11:30 a.m. on the Quad. The commencement speaker will be Oregon Supreme Court Justice Virginia Linder, a 1980 Willamette law alumna. The graduates represent 67 undergraduate institutions, and 62 percent are men. Seven percent have interned at legislative, congressional or state offices, and they speak a combined 16 foreign languages.

The Atkinson Graduate School of Management will award 76 MBA degrees in a ceremony at 9 a.m. in Hudson Hall in the Mary Stuart Rogers Music Center. Vyomesh (VJ) Joshi, executive vice president of the Imaging and Printing Group at Hewlett Packard, will deliver the commencement address. About 31 percent of the graduates are international students, originating from 10 countries. The class includes 36 women and 40 men.

The School of Education will award 81 MAT degrees. Michael Geisen, a Prineville, Ore., science teacher who was named 2008 National Teacher of the Year, will speak at the graduation ceremony at 11 a.m. in Smith Auditorium.

For more information contact Michelle Maynard at (503) 370-6031 or visit