Willamette University

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Student Consensus
Scores last updated on January 6, 2024
Percent Admitted
4-year Graduation Rate
Student-to-Faculty Ratio
Average Undergraduate Students Aid
In-State Tuition and Fees
Out-of-State Tuition and Fees
= Average
Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
Carnegie Classification
Baccalaureate Colleges: Arts & Sciences Focus
Religious Affiliation
Not applicable

Oregon’s state capitol is Salem which is home to Willamette University – the oldest university in the western states. Founded in 1842 as Oregon Institute, it was renamed Wallamet University in 1852 and its current spelling was adopted in 1872. Willamette is a private 4-year university set on 80 acres in downtown Salem. The oldest campus building, Waller Hall, dates back to 1867 and is presently used for administrative offices. Salem is a typical state capitol, being the seat of government (as opposed to being the primary business center – Portland, an hour away, serves at Oregon’s economic base) offers more opportunities for political careers than business. In fact, Willamette students earn credit as political interns at the Oregon State Capitol (across the street from campus).

Academic Programs

Willamette University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and offers Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees and Doctorates in 35 majors. The undergraduate school is called the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Law and the Atkinson Graduate School of Management complete the university. Willamette University also offers a dual degree program where students can combine a BA with an MBA or a BA and JD in a compressed time period. Willamette is recognized for its programs in Music, Teacher Education as well as Law; although the largest programs are in Social Sciences (Economics and Political Science). Currently there are no online degree programs available. Willamette’s concise Mission statement says “Willamette University provides rigorous education in the liberal arts and selected professional fields. Teaching and learning, strengthened by scholarship and service, flourish in a vibrant campus community. A Willamette education prepares graduates to transform knowledge into action and lead lives of achievement, contribution and meaning.”

Student Life

Willamette University’s 2,800 students have dozens of clubs and club sports to select from based on interest, affinity or field of study. Students are contracted to live on campus in one of the 11 residence halls for 2 years before they are permitted to live off campus or in the on-campus apartments. The Cardinal and Old Gold Willamette Bearcats participate in NCAA Division III level in 11 sports. Notable in the athletics department’s history is that they played football at the University of Hawaii on December 6, 1941 and many student athletes saw the Pearl Harbor attack from their hotel the next morning. A tradition of incoming freshmen is to light a candle and set it afloat in the Mill Stream that runs through campus (forming a “W” in its path) and watch it float downstream. Students also become familiar with the school’s simple Core Values: “Willamette University is a community: 1. Of collaborative educators committed to rigorous education; 2. That cultivates an authentic engagement with place; 3. That promotes transformation of knowledge into action in ways that lead to lives of achievement, contribution and meaning.” This idea of contribution is captured in the school motto “Non nobis solum nati sumus” or Not unto ourselves alone are we born.

Ready to start your journey?

Ready to start your journey?