I was very pleased to learn not long ago that, for the first time, Willamette would be included in the select group of schools chosen by the highly esteemed college selection guide, “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges.”
Pleased, yes. But not surprised. For me, a 40-year member of the extended Willamette family, the Willamette educational experience has always offered life-changing experiences characterized by a strong sense of community, our motto-inspired service ethic, and, of course, our outstanding faculty and staff dedicated to student success. To wit: Members of the College of Liberal Arts faculty have been named Carnegie and CASE Oregon Professor of the Year 11 times since the program’s inception 25 years ago — more than twice as often as any other Oregon college or university, public or private. But third-hand compliments are always my favorite, so I enjoyed reading why “Colleges That Change Lives” gave Willamette a coveted spot in its Top 40 list. Here’s just one tidbit:
“As students benefit and grow, they begin to think about their own powers to do good in the world...Students take community service seriously, and they talk a lot about their own responsibilities in light of the world’s challenges. Most of them want to develop a meaningful philosophy of life. A senior explains, “We are concerned about living the best life we can. That goes beyond finding the best jobs we can.”
It is gratifying to know that, while we quietly and competently go about the important business of preparing students to transform knowledge into action and achieve their goals, the noble values upon which the university was founded continue to distinguish Willamette regionally and nationally as one of the best places to begin the pursuit of a meaningful life.
In a myriad of fields and professions, in communities both local and global, our alumni lead, create, discover, solve, contribute, teach, heal and connect. This issue of The Scene explores a few of their stories. Enjoy.
Stephen E. Thorsett