Willamette University (pronounced "Will-AM-It") is a nationally ranked liberal arts college (peer institutions in the Pacific Northwest include Lewis & Clark College, University of Puget Sound, and Whitman College). Willamette believes that its undergraduate liberal arts students benefit from lessons or courses taught by Willamette's law school and Atkinson Graduate School of Management MBA faculty. One of the signature undergraduate programs -- Politics, Policy, Law, and Ethics (PPLE) -- benefits significantly from the involvement of Willamette's law and graduate faculty. Undergraduate and graduate faculty team up to teach many of the data science courses, and Willamette also offers a 4-year B.S./M.S. in Data Science. The Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland will become part of Willamette in 2021-22, and students will be permitted to cross-register for courses. Tokyo International University of America is situated on the Willamette campus, and students in each program are able to take joint courses. With its proximity to the state capitol, students find many opportunities for internships.
The university motto -- "Not unto ourselves alone are we born" -- underpins the institutional philosophy of encouraging students to better the world and be active contributing members of the community as Willamette graduates. Students log more than 70,000 hours of community service through Willamette each year.
Willamette has a very strong and healthy endowment, allowing the institution to weather the pandemic with minimal disruptions. It offers generous financial aid packages -- both in the form of merit and needs-based aid. Willamette prides itself on the diversity of its student body and on its performance on social mobility indices (it touts a large number -- typically 25% of each undergraduate class -- of first-generation students).
The strongest programs include the PPLE major mentioned above, Data Science, Theater, Sustainability & Environmental Science, Japanese (both language and cultural studies), Biology, History, and Economics. In addition to the 4-year BS/MS in Data Science, students may also pursue a 3-2 MBA degree, 3-3 law degree, or a 3-2 engineering program (Columbia, USC, and Washington University are the partner institutions for this program).
Students are enthusiastic about Willamette for many reasons -- not least of which are the strong relationships undergraduates are able to build with faculty members. Classes are small (76% have 20 or fewer students), and faculty are accessible, both for on- and off-campus interaction with students. The student body is friendly and collaborative, and many enjoy the varied outdoor opportunities available in Oregon and near the campus. Willamette owns a 305-acre Forest at Zena situated within a ten minute drive of campus that is often used for recreational activities as well as field studies and other classroom pursuits. Students highly rate Willamette's support services, particularly the free tutoring in all subjects and other academic supports as well as the university's commitment of resources to mental health counseling and resources.