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Words from Waller

February 2024

Dear Willamette community,

The New Year is a traditional time of remembrance, of auld acquaintance and auld lang syne. It is a time to gather with friends and family and to remember those we’ve lost but also to share stories of the roads we’ve traveled together, the shared joys and blessings of this life.

For me, the last year had its personal challenges, including the loss of my dad. And I, like many of you, can feel at times overwhelmed by a world torn by war, threatened by climate change, and apparently unable to provide adequate shelter and compassionate care for too many people, including those living on the streets of our cities.

But here at the start of a new year, I can reflect also on a year of accomplishment that we all shared, and be inspired by the collective spirit and resilience of Willamette’s faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Here in this vibrant community we together pursue our mission of preparing graduates to turn knowledge into action, in classrooms and studios, labs and performance spaces, playing fields, and residence hall lounges.

It is a wonderful privilege to work in higher education and to know that we are preparing talented people to take their turn in the ongoing work of bending the arc of the moral universe towards justice. And as we pass the winter solstice, and the days begin to lengthen once again, these quiet weeks between the fall and spring semesters become a time of optimism and hope, and gratitude.

I can’t promise that 2024 will be an easier year, but I can be sure that it will give us new opportunities to do good work together. Thank you for all that you do for Willamette, and for each other. 

Non nobis solum,


Headshot of President Thorsett
Willamette University

Alumni and Parent Engagement