Parent Engagement

The Office of Alumni and Parent Engagement offers a way for parents and families to be involved in the life of the university through events and volunteer opportunities.

A special invitation is extended to parents and families to participate in the Bearcat Explorers travel program, and to attend many regional events sponsored by the Alumni Association. Parents are also encouraged to participate in the Willamette community in other ways whether attending campus events, cheering on the Bearcats home or away, opening up your professional networks to help students and alumni, participating on Willamette Switchboard, and more!

Introductory Resources

New to Willamette? We have the resources to answer all of your burning questions. Simply go through this short checklist to introduce and inform yourself, as well as your student, with life on campus.

  1. Provide your contact information so the University knows how to reach you.
  2. Check out our New Parents FAQs for answers to some common inquiries.
  3. Peruse the University Contacts list to find out what department to connect concerning your needs.
  4. Flip through the Parent Handbook to get familiar with the school.
  5. Visit Career Services to help your student find the right path.
  6. Learn more about the Willamette experience from each other on the WU Parents Facebook Group (for enrolled parents only).

Get Involved!

Whether posting a job or internship, assisting at a networking event, or helping with regional programming, volunteers are always welcome and appreciated. Here are some specific ways you can help, along with who to contact about volunteer opportunities:

  • Career Development - To share career advice, internships and job opportunities, contact Devin Bales at
  • Fundraising - To help WU reach its fundraising goals, contact BJ McHugh at
  • Admission and Recruitment - To represent Willamette at college fairs in your home town, host events for prospective students, or call parents of admitted students, contact Sue Corner '90 at

Willamette Switchboard

Know of a great internship opportunity? Want to share career advice? Have tips for soon-to-be grads? Then get connected to Switchboard!

Switchboard is a simple social network that lets you ask for what you need and offer what you have within a trusted community. This new tool is just for Willamette students, alumni, parents, faculty and staff. Watch this 90-second video to learn more.

The key to its success is participation, so here’s what you can do:

  • Create a login at - it takes about 30 seconds.
  • Start using it right away so that students who are posting “asks” have people who are responding to them.
  • Don’t be shy in responding to “asks.” Give what you have – advice, counsel, leads, information, encouragement. If you don’t have an answer, you may know of someone who does.
  • Make some “offers,” like: I have advice about my industry/experience/etc. I know a company that is hiring. I am willing to talk about job search strategies or pursuing grad school.

Switchboard demonstrates the value of the Willamette network and fosters a culture of giving back. We all have something to offer! It’s a way for us to leverage our network in an authentic and meaningful way.