Willamette celebrates the class of 2016

by Tina Owen,

  • MBA Ceremony
    Atkinson Graduate School of Management commencement ceremony.
  • MBA Ceremony Frank
    Willamette University lifetime trustee Gerry Frank presents the Glenn L. Jackson Leadership Award to Thomas Imeson.
  • MBA Ceremony After
    Atkinson Graduate School of Management commencement ceremony.
  • Law Ceremony
    College of Law graduates proceed into the commencement tent.
  • Law Ceremony 2
    Commencement speaker Kenneth Peterson L'80 is welcomed by College of Law Dean Curtis Bridgeman.
  • Law Ceremony 3
    College of Law commencement ceremony.
  • CLA 1
    College of Liberal Arts graduates walk past faculty members in the "Corridor of Honor" before entering the commencement tent.
  • CLA 2
    College of Liberal Arts commencement ceremony.
  • Marie Watt
    Marie Watt '90 receives the honorary degree Doctor of Fine Arts.
  • Symeon Symeonides
    College of Law emeritus dean Symeon Symeonides receives the honorary degree Doctor of Laws.
  • Anelise Zimmer
    Senior class speaker Anelise Zimmer '16.
  • CLA Ceremony
    College of Liberal Arts commencement ceremony.
  • CLA Ceremony
    College of Liberal Arts commencement ceremony.
  • CLA Ceremony
    College of Liberal Arts commencement ceremony.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown sent Willamette’s Class of 2016 off into the world with words of admiration and advice.

Giving the address at the College of Liberal Arts commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 15, Brown told graduating students, “I’ve encountered many Willamette students and alumni over the years. During the legislative session, the Capitol is absolutely teeming with Bearcats. [They’re] like moths drawn to the bright light of public service.”

Brown noted her admiration for Willamette’s motto, “Not unto ourselves alone,” saying, “It calls on us to consider the wellbeing of others, to give back and to serve the greater good.” 

She urged the graduating class to make wise use of the precious gifts of education and opportunity they’d received and to “shine a light into dark places, instill hope and build community.”

Families and friends of the graduating students filled the large tent on the Quad with applause as Brown said, “Class of 2016, your world needs you!”

Grey skies and occasional raindrops couldn’t dampen the spirits of members of the Class of 2016, who gathered at the Cone Field House before making the ceremonial procession to the Quad. Glowing with pride and excitement, they took the final step in their journey from Willamette students to alumni.

This year the College of Liberal Arts graduated 366 students, including 359 receiving a Bachelor of Arts and 7 receiving a Bachelor of Music. The Atkinson Graduate School of Management graduated 92 students from the Early Career and Career Change MBA on Sunday and 32 students in January from the MBA for Professionals program.  The College of Law graduated 141 students, with 111 receiving a Doctor of Jurisprudence, 26 receiving a Master of Laws and 4 receiving a Master of Legal Studies.

At the College of Liberal Arts commencement ceremony, President Steve Thorsett also conferred emeriti diplomas upon retiring faculty members Bill Duvall (history) and David McCreery (religious studies) and awarded honorary degrees to Symeon Symeonides, dean emeritus of the College of Law, and artist Marie Watt ‘90.

The College of Law welcomed Kenneth D. Peterson L‘80, chairman and chief executive officer of Columbia Ventures Corporation as its commencement speaker. The Atkinson Graduate School of Management awarded its annual Glenn L. Jackson Leadership Award to Thomas J. Imeson, vice president of public affairs for NW Natural, who also provided the commencement address.