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Willamette University expands its footprint in Portland’s Pearl District to support growth in its graduate and professional programs

by University Communications,

Willamette University’s top-ranked graduate programs in business management and data and computer science will relocate from downtown to Portland’s vibrant Pearl District in the Natural Capital Center at 721 NW 9th Ave. Beginning Fall 2024, Portland-based working professionals seeking a Masters in Business Administration, a Masters in Data Science or a Masters in Computer Science will find a new home for innovation and collaboration within the Ecotrust building, which is located two blocks from Willamette’s premier art and design school, Pacific Northwest College of Art, 511 NW Broadway, offering exciting opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration.

The Ecotrust building, renowned for its sustainability-focused design and commitment to community engagement, will now serve as a nexus for Willamette University's Portland-based graduate and professional programs. Approximately 60 graduate students from Willamette’s School of Computing & Information Sciences and Atkinson Graduate School of Management will use the space for their evening classes. PNCA students will also use the space during the day for some of its liberal arts classes to help support the recent growth in its undergraduate student population. Willamette’s College of Law also plans to use the space to expand access to its immigration clinic while supporting the inaugural launch of its Immigrant Justice Scholars program

Classroom in Ecotrust building

In addition to classrooms, the 9,100 square foot space includes collaboration and event spaces and has access to nearby parking and dining options.

“We are thrilled that the growth in our graduate programs has prompted us to seek new space. We are even more excited that our new space will be located close to PNCA because of the opportunities for connections between art and design and data and computer science,” said Jameson Watts, dean of Willamette’s School of Computing & Information Sciences.

Willamette University’s first “Portland Center,” which expanded from the university’s main campus in Salem, opened in 2004 in approximately 5,800 square feet in the Brewery Blocks at 1120 NW Couch across from Powell’s Books. It later moved to locations in the Pearl District and downtown Portland.

Willamette has been a part of Portland for 20 years, and we are thrilled to be expanding our footprint with this collaborative space that enables us to continue to grow our programs in the area,” said Willamette University President Steve Thorsett. “Willamette’s expansion into the Pearl District, which has long been a hub of creative innovation for the region, is not just about physical growth — it represents a strategic investment in our students and Portland. By attracting top talent and educating the next generation of leaders equipped to drive positive change in a rapidly evolving world, Willamette is committed to playing a pivotal role in helping shape this dynamic city's future.


Photo credit: Renderings courtesy of DESIGN+BUILD.

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