Willamette University

Tidbits & Briefs

Inauguration Welcomes President Thorsett — Officially


Stephen Thorsett’s Inauguration, Feb. 10, carries on an intricate and interesting ceremonial rite. Aside from officially installing the new Willamette president, inauguration is a time for all kinds of stakeholders, including delegates from more than 60 other colleges and universities, to affirm the interconnectedness of the higher-education enterprise — and President Thorsett’s authority in it.

While inauguration tugs at certain consistent themes, including the union of faculty, the administration and the community, each new president brings his or her flair. In 1998, M. Lee Pelton, the marathoner, held a foot race around the Capitol grounds. This year, President Thorsett (also a runner, for the record) will give a U Think-style lecture for students, and hundreds of Bearcats will proudly wear special cardinal-red t-shirts with their “Intergalactic President” on the front.

Tools of the Trade

Inauguration ceremonies highlight several symbols of the office, and all have their own history and function. Among them:


Presidential regalia differ from what faculty members wear at commencement since they symbolize the president’s authority and office rather than academic credentials. Willamette’s presidential regalia were made this winter in Salem, Va., in preparation for President Thorsett’s inauguration. The body is custom-dyed to match Willamette’s cardinal red, and the arms are appointed with four chevrons rather than the three seen on doctoral robes.


Among the oldest symbols of authority, Willamette’s medallion is made of silver, features the university seal with the motto inscribed and measures four heavy inches in diameter.


Academic maces are modeled after medieval clubs carried by the bodyguards of civil officers. Willamette’s mace, made of black walnut with the seal embossed in bronze on both sides of its head, is used more peacefully at formal ceremonies.

Learn more about inauguration at willamette.edu/inauguration.

Where Did the Willamette Motto Originate?

Eloquent as they were, Willamette’s founders didn’t create the university motto and its Latin equivalent by themselves.

The Latin motto, “Non nobis solum nati sumus,” which translates to “Not unto ourselves alone are we born” (the version the university adopted) or “We are not born for ourselves alone,” comes from a passage of De Officiis by Cicero. Marcus Tullius Cicero was, among other things, a philosopher, a statesman and one of Rome’s great orators.

Not unto ourselves alone are we born.

One translation of the passage in question:

Sed quoniam, ut praeclare scriptum est a Platone, non nobis solum nati sumus ortusque nostri partem patria vindicat, partem amici, atque, ut placet Stoicis, quae in terris gignantur ad usum hominum omnia creari, homines autem hominum causa esse generatos ut ipsi inter se aliis alii prodesse possent, in hoc naturam debemus ducem sequi, communes utilitates in medium afferre mutatione officiorum, dando accipiendo, tum artibus, tum opera, tum facultatibus devincire hominum inter hominess societatem...

But since, as Plato has admirably expressed it, not unto ourselves alone are we born, but our country claims a share of our being, and our friends a share; and since, as the Stoics hold, everything that the earth produces is created for man’s use; and as men, too, are born for the sake of men, that they may be able mutually to help one another; in this direction we ought to follow Nature as our guide, to contribute to the general good by an interchange of acts of kindness, by giving and receiving, and thus by our skill, our industry, and our talents to cement human society more closely together, man to man...

Yes, Honey


The Willamette Store has some sweet new stock: honey made from Willamette bees at Zena Farm. It’s a sign of the times for Willamette agriculture.

“The honey is part of a new brand called Zena’s Bounty,” says Jill Munger of the Willamette Store. “We plan to expand it and lend a commerce angle to what students are doing at the farm — this enables them to look at the whole process, from production to marketing and consumption.”

Zena’s Bounty honey has had one run — or “pull,” as beekeepers say — and Professor Joe Bowersox has been instrumental. A trained beekeeper, he aims to produce two pulls each year, each of which might yield six to eight gallons of pure honey.

The honey is just one product to come from Zena. The farm still sells produce to campus caterer Bon Appetit, and this year the weekly Zena Farm market stand became a familiar sight along the Mill Stream in Jackson Plaza. The university even developed a popular Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, much like many others around the country that provide families with weekly boxes of locally grown veggies.

Zena Farm is tended by Willamette students, faculty and staff; every summer, environmental science majors and others vie for a chance to live on-site and learn the ropes. Together they manage the land, schedule the yield, conduct research and get dirty. “Building fences isn’t something that all of the students are used to,” says Assistant Professor Wendy Petersen Boring ’89, of history. “It’s good curricular experience.”

And so the Willamette agriculture venture continues. If the university gets a cattle ranch, we’ll let you know.

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