Willamette University

President’s Message

Willamette’s revised mission statement, approved in February by the Board of Trustees, charges the institution, through our rigorous education in the liberal arts and professions, to prepare our graduates to “transform knowledge into action and lead lives of achievement, contribution and meaning.”

And they do.

For 170 years, Willamette has been a place where many generations of promising young people have discovered their passions and found their paths. Whether they become Peace Corps volunteers, Olympic athletes, teachers, United States senators, Nobel Prize laureates, artists, authors, entrepreneurs — or undertake any of a myriad of diverse and worthy pursuits — Willamette alumni are continually changing our world for the better. They are recognized as individuals of excellent character and achievement in their careers, engagement in civic activities, volunteerism in the community and genuine passion for what they do.

Connecting our students’ own passions and interests with the benefits of a liberal education — awakening them to the power of their own potential and empowering them to apply knowledge in ways that create meaning — is the deepest purpose of a Willamette education. I can think of no endeavor more worthy of our time and attention than supporting an institution that has helped launch so many good and useful lives.

This issue of The Scene includes a story about how a recent history project connected current students with Native American alumni, broadening the experiences and perspectives of both, as well as a feature about a new archaeological dig in Orkney where faculty and students will spend the summer unearthing a “Neolithic cathedral.”


Stephen E. Thorsett

Stephen E. Thorsett

“The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible — and achieve it, generation after generation.”
— Pearl S. Buck