Willamette University

Alumni Tidbits & Briefs

WU Libs - Winners

Readers of the last issue will remember the WU Libs game we snuck into the Alumni Relations section. 

Here are two of our favorite responses:

Back when I was a student, Willamette was fabulous. The tradition of car running didn’t exist yet, but we still had the Munich Oktoberfest to look forward to each summer.

When Dave Matthews became president, we all went smelly. It was a happy moment in our history. Slowly, campus began to sleep and, before long, the university became what it is Tuesday.

Cheers to our alma mater, the first flower pot in the West.

— Heather Daniels, Graduate School of Education

Back when I was a student, Willamette was Australian. The tradition of book vaccination didn’t exist yet, but we still had Chernobyl to look forward to each fall.

When Archibald became president, we all went Dutch. It was a Flemish moment in our history. Slowly, campus began to train and, before long, the university became what it is Thursday.

Cheers to our alma mater, the first statue in the West.

— Reid Stillman ’05


Call for Submissions: Legacy Alumni Stories

One article that’s been simmering for a while here in Waller has to do with the many families who have sent multiple Bearcats to Willamette: maybe a pair of brothers, a mother and a daughter, or a potpourri of relatives through time. We know that there are many examples.

We call on our readers to write in and tell us about your own Willamette family story so we can compile them into a more robust article in the near future. Email scene@willamette.edu, or write us at Willamette University, The Scene, C/O Tufton Beamish, 900 State Street, Salem, OR 97301.

To get us started, here’s a snippet from Kent McKenzie ’75.

Ten Bearcats, 48 Years

In 1963, I took my first train ride from Davis, Calif., to Salem with my mother and younger sister to visit my oldest brother, Gary, who was the first in our family to be sent off to college. The train ride was a thrill for a Northern California farmer’s son with its automat car and the coin-operated vending machines, but that was only an introduction to this adventure to visit a university.

I was in awe at Willamette; there were red brick buildings with steeples and ivy. The people actually carried umbrellas! I stayed overnight at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house and my sister got to sleep over at Delta Gamma. We both attended a “shotgun serenade” by the Betas (I even got to hold the shotgun) at the DG house, and we saw our big brother pin Clare Griffiths ’64, later to be his wife.

The seeds were sown for a family tradition, and in December 2011, our son, John Ross, earned his BA, marking a 50-year relationship with Willamette University. We were all inspired by a diverse group of mentor-professors who stirred our interests: professors Baker of history, Lovell of history, Gillis of economics, Springer of biology, Chapple of chemistry, Rorman of environmental science, Bigelow of physics, Drew of sociology and Bauer of English. As WU graduates we enjoyed further academic success (three PhDs, one DVM, three MS, one MBA, and one ME degree).

There have been three marriages between graduates and no divorces for any of them. We were members of six different fraternities and sororities. Numerous memories of our days at Willamette come to mind — some like my first visit to campus, and others of college life: sleeping porches, intramurals, Freshman Glee, parent weekends, SAGA Food Service, Mt. PERC, scuba class at the YMCA, streakers, organic chemistry, computer-generated tests and TGIF.

I would like to especially pay tribute to our parents, who supported us financially and personally, as well as the faculty and classmates of Willamette. Kathryn, her parents, and I were there Mother’s Day, May 13, 2012, to see John Ross get his diploma — number 10 in our family tradition.

A Family Tradition


Nick Symmonds

Congratulations, Mr. Symmonds

He ran right to the Olympic final and broke his PR by almost a full second. His time of 1:42:95 would have won him gold at almost any other Games.

Nick, we salute your speed.


Inheritance Squandering

Don't Let Him Squander His Inheritance

There is a proven way to ensure that all or a portion of your children’s inheritance lasts a lifetime. A charitable trust managed by Willamette will assure your children a lifetime of periodic, inflation resistant income. You can create the trust either during your life or through your will. You and your children will benefit from tax savings and your trust ultimately will make an important contribution to Willamette.

Please contact Steve Brier, associate vice president for gift planning, to learn more. Steve is available at 866-204-8102 or sbrier@willamette.edu.