Skip to main content

A Message from the President

Welcome to the 2023-24 academic year

September 1, 2023

Dear Willamette Community,

Although we astronomers don't celebrate the arrival of autumn until the equinox three weeks from now, the changing weather reminds us that meteorological autumn begins this week. But the surest sign that fall is here at Willamette University is the reawakening of the university with the voices of 2,600 students, including more than 1,000 who are new to our Salem and Portland campuses. Welcome, all! We are so happy that you’re here.

Willamette does not sleep through the summer months. Year-round academic programs saw students engaging in collaborative summer research or pursuing MBAs and the MS in Data Science; hybrid programs welcomed summer cohorts to the Pacific Northwest College of Art; residence halls in Salem were filled with summer conference goers; and high school students who will soon be the first in their families to attend college attended Willamette Academy's summer intensive program. The Hallie Ford Museum of Art welcomed visitors, the Hatfield Library hosted researchers. And, facilities and WITS staff have raced to complete maintenance and infrastructure projects, including the first phase of the largest energy efficiency project in our history, replacing the boiler systems that serve the whole central Salem campus.

But even with all this work and activity, summer has sense of quiet that is happily interrupted each year with the return of thousands who have been away: students and faculty to classrooms, artists to studios, athletes to playing fields. This year, with residential housing in both Salem and Portland at capacity for the first time since before the pandemic, our campuses feel more awake and alive than they have in years.

Last fall and this fall have welcomed the two largest incoming classes across the university that Willamette has ever seen. The new School of Computing and Information Sciences continues to grow rapidly and will recruit this year for our first MS in Computer Science students. Friends and alumni made $27 million in new gifts and commitments, mostly for student and faculty support, setting a new giving record. And in addition to our new students, we welcome our largest group of new faculty members to Willamette in years. We should all be proud of what has been accomplished and of all that is taking place at Willamette.

In this, the fall semester of Willamette's 182nd year, all five of our schools and colleges continue to fulfill our vital mission of preparing students to turn knowledge into action. As the leaves start to turn, and the natural world begins to prepare for winter, there is no more optimistic place than a university campus, where we are already thinking of spring and the potential of our students to one day change the world.

Thank you to all the faculty and staff for your dedication to our students, and thank you to all our students for the energy and enthusiasm you bring to our campuses.

Welcome to the 2023-24 academic year!

Non nobis solum,

Willamette University

Office of the President

Salem Campus

Waller Hall, 5th Floor
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.