Online Extra: Tablet Transcription
Today, May 31, 1942, we, students, teachers, and friends of Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, plant five sequoia trees in token of the long life of our school. This life began among a group of missionaries who sailed on the ship Lausanne from New York to Oregon in 1839. During their long voyage around Cape Horn, via the Sandwich Islands, to the mouth of the Columbia River, these men and women planned to build a school of higher learning in the new land. After they had made homes for themselves, they met on February 1, 1942 [sic] to establish a college for their children and for later generations.
A building was acquired on the grounds where we now plant these trees, and the school was opened as the Oregon Institute. Later it was chartered by the Oregon Territorial Legislature. It was then called Walamet, but it early became known as Willamette University.
During the century Willamette has nurtured more than 20,000 students. These men and women have impressed their ideals upon many communities, notably in the Pacific Northwest. Proudly Willamette claims these children as her own and shows its own life through their works.
Today we plant the sequoia, a tree of very long life, in honor of the century our school has lived, and as a symbol of the longer future into which the course of Willamette is surely directed.
As we meet here to face that future we are citizens of the United States of America. Thus we are dedicated to the task of our country as one of the Allied Nations (the United States, the British Empire, China, Russia, and many other smaller nations) in a struggle for supremacy over the Axis Nations (Germany, Italy and Japan). This conflict involves the entire world both physically and spiritually. Many men contend with teach other on land and sea and in the air. We deplore this warfare; but we share its burdens that the allied Nations may preserve the freedoms which our school has taught throughout its history—freedoms of speech, of educational practice, of political action, of religious belief.
Each sequoia planted here we regard as a tree of liberty. We act in faith that freedom of the human mind and spirit will be achieved for all men. We pray that longer than these aspiring trees shall grow and stand, Willamette University will mount with steadiness and grace into the light of its high destiny of service to mankind.
Quotations from the Bible:
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Quotations from William Shakespeare the poet:
Hamlet, Act II, Scene II:
“What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculties! in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action, how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals!Merchant of Venice, Act IV, Scene I:
“The quality of mercy is not strain’d;
It droppeth, as the gentle rain from heaven,
Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless’d;
It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes:
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown:
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above his sceptred sway,
It is enthronged in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthy power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice.
As You Like It, Act II, Scene I:
Sweet are the uses of adversity;
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Find tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.