|Drinking wine or intoxicating
liquors, smoking, card playing, swearing, immorality of any
kind, quarreling, rude and unkind treatment of fellow pupils,
the throwing of stones, disobedience, indolence, and any other
acts or behavior calculated to injure the reputation and peace
of the University or the moral habits of the students, are entirely
In 1834, Jason Lee and his party of missionaries established
a Mission north of Salem to work with the local Indians. They
also set up a school which became known as the Indian Manual
Labor School to teach the Indian children. Within four years
of the Mission's founding, Lee asked for additional help,
and in response to his request, the Great Reinforcement
of 1839 brought 53 more people from New York to work at the
Mission. They arrived on the ship Lausanne and entered into
the community and missionary life of the area.
On January 17, 1842, the missionary community gathered at
the home of Jason Leeto consider establishing a school for
their own children and the children of other settlers. On
February 1, a board of trustees was appointed, a constitution
and bylaws were adopted, and the Oregon Institute was established.
This event marked the founding of Willamette University. The
board of trustees for the new school was comprised of the
Jason Lee, David Leslie, Gustavus Hines, Josiah Parrish, Lewis
Judson, George Abernathy, Alanson Beers, Hamilton Campbell,
and Dr. Ira Babcock.
From these modest beginnings, Willamette University became
the centerpiece of Salem. The University anchored Salems
growth and development, and provided an educational, religious,
and cultural base that drew settlers to the area.
The Oregon Institute
In 1841, the school building that was the Indian Manual
Labor School was moved from the mission site to the grounds
of the Oregon Institute (Willamette University). The three
story frame building was the most imposing structure of its
kind on the Pacific Coast at the time. By 1844, instruction
was stopped at the Indian Manual Labor School. The Oregon
Institute bought the building, and on August 13, 1844, the
Oregon Institute officially opened in the former Indian Manual
Labor School building. It became the Institute's boarding
school for the children of the missionaries and settlers.
Mrs. Chloe Clarke Willson, the first teacher at the Institute,
taught 5 students the first year. The first meeting of the
Oregon-California Conference was held at the Institute in
1849. At the conference, the Institute was officially recognized
as a Methodist school. The following year, the Reverend Francis
S. Hoyt became the president of the Oregon Institute and was
later the first president of Willamette University.
During these early years, the trustees enacted some rules
of conduct for Institute students. They included, Drinking
wine or intoxicating liquors, smoking, card playing, swearing,
immorality of any kind, quarreling, rude and unkind treatment
of fellow pupils, the throwing of stones, disobedience, indolence,
and any other acts or behavior calculated to injure the reputation
and peace of the University or the moral habits of the students,
are entirely prohibited.
Willamette University gets its name
In 1853, the Oregon Territorial Legislature, which held
their sessions in the basement of the University building,
granted a charter to Wallamet University. Wallamet
University eventually became Willamette University
when the current spelling of Willamette was first used in
the University catalog of 1870-71. The first graduate of Willamette
University was Miss Emily J. York. She received the degree
of Mistress of English Literature in 1859.
In 1861, the trustees agreed to let a mill stream be dug
across the campus. This was for the use of the nearby woolen
mill. In 1864 a new college building was started through the
efforts of Reverend Alvan Waller. The bricks for the building
were fired on the University grounds and were made from clay
excavated for the foundation. University Hall, as the new
building was known, was an imposing five-story building. It
was constructed in the shape of a Greek cross that became
a commanding landmark in the sparsely settled Oregon country.
In 1912, University Hall was renamed Waller Hall after Reverend
Alvan Waller. In 1919 the interior of Waller Hall was destroyed
by fire but was rebuilt the next year.
Reverend Joseph Wythe was elected President of Willamette
University in 1865. He was a highly accomplished administrator
and educator who taught mental and moral science in the College
Department, hygiene and microscopy in the Medical Department,
and biblical languages and literature in the Theology Department.
His many virtues did not outweigh his habit of smoking in
public, and the trustees asked Wythe to leave the University
From 1867 to 1890 Willamette University experienced many
changes along with steady growth. The Medical College, the
first professional school in the Northwest, was established
at Willamette in 1867 and started offering classes that year.
In 1872, the original Oregon Institute building burned down.
That same year, the University grew to include an elementary
school, a Commercial Department open to both men and women,
and a Medical Department. 1872 also saw the Music Department
grant its own degrees. The annual enrollment at Willamette
during the 1870s averaged about 280 students, out of
that number, 81 were college students.
The Willamette Collegian began publishing in 1875, and in
1880, the Musical Institute was established in the original
Lausanne Hall. Lausanne Hall was the former home of Mrs. Chloe
Clarke Willson, the first teacher at the Oregon Institute.
The Womens College was also established in Lausanne
Hall in 1880. At its inception, it was stated that the Womens
College was ,a modification, but in no sense a surrender
of co-education. 1880 also saw the Medical Department
leave University Hall and establish itself in Portland.
By 1883 the College of Law was established on campus, and
in 1888 the Universitys wooden fences were all pulled
down because they were no longer needed to protect the campus
from the nearby grazing cows.
In 1891 many changes affected the campus. The new chancellor
of Willamette, Charles Stratton, class of 69, left the
University in January. He became president of the new, rival
Methodist university in Portland. President Van Scoy soon
followed Charles Stratton to the new university in June, 1891.
Van Scoy became the rival schools new dean. Many other
students and faculty, including the entire College of Theology,
also joined them in Portland.
The College of Medicine returned to Salem in 1895, after
a crisis over clinical privileges at its Portland hospital.
Medical classes met in University Hall and other rooms around
town. In the same year, Willamette saw both a new gymnasium
and a paid coach on campus thanks to the generosity of a $250
University Fund with Subscriptions from many individuals.
The school colors, cardinal red and gold were chosen. In 1896
the College of Pharmacy closed and by 1899, Willamette University
and its failed rival, Portland University reunited in Salem.
That fall, they came together under the time-honored
name of Willamette University.
The first Wallulah was published in 1903, and in 1906
the Medical College moved into a new building on the northwest
corner of the campus. In succeeding years the building would
house the Willamette Academy, the Science Department, the
College of Music and the Art Department. Through a gift from
the Honorable A. E. Eaton, Eaton Hall was completed in 1909.
The Freshman Glee began this year when they challenged other
classes to a song competition, and the Kimball School of Theology
By 1913, the College of Medicine closed at Willamette and
merged with the University of Oregon College of Medicine.
Six years later, in 1916, after 72 years, the last class of
the Oregon Institute (Willamette Academy) graduated. The Institute
was no longer needed because public high schools had been
established in Salem. A fire in 1921 destroyed the original
wooden gymnasium, but in 1923, a new, large brick gymnasium
was built to replace the old building. In 1927, Willamette
received accreditation from the Association of American Universities,
and in 1930, the Kimball School of Theology closed its doors.
Dancing gets a break
In 1935, dancing was permitted on a limited basis, and
by 1938-39, the University was allowing student dances to
be held on campus. The 1936 class completed a four-year sweep
of top Glee honors and was the first Willamette class to do
so. In 1938, the new library building was completed and University
House was moved to campus where it served as the presidents
home until 1955. In 1939, the College of Law moved into its
new home, the old Salem post office, now called Gatke Hall.
In 1941, Willamettes football team was in Hawaii when
Pearl Harbor was bombed. They had played the University of
Hawaii just the day before the attack. When the team returned
home, they helped out on a ship that was bringing the wounded
to the mainland for hospitalization. The same year, Reverend
Carl Knopf was elected president of Willamette. Later the
following spring, he resigned in a public relations crisis
over his alleged conduct at a selective service registration.
Insight into Willamettes early social scene can
be found in "Fussers Guide". It is a unique
campus directory that has a completely novel history all its
own. The originality of the Guide reflects Willamettes
unique place in the history of Salem; While most colleges
and universities publish campus phone directories, few have
as unusual name as Willamettes.
During the 1920s, men used to keep the names and addresses
of women in little black books. These names were exchanged
within a small group of men known as fussers because
of their dress and fastidious tastes. Eventually one of the
fussers, Jason L. Geidenburg, compiled and published a comprehensive
book of names and addresses. Willamette Universitys
first student directory was called Fussers Guide in
honor of these resourceful men. The "Fussers Guide"
has changed drastically since its inception. It no longer
publishes a social calendar or athletic schedules. The directory
isnt separated into mens and womens sections
(or Bearcat Belles and Bearcat Beaus
as in the 1949-50 and 1950-51 editions or as The Lovelies
of W. U. and Handsome Lads of W. U. in
the 1948-49 edition). Some editions in the past incorporated
the student handbook, and several werent called the
Fussers Guide at all.
Star Trees and the 100th Anniversary
In 1942, the Willamette Centennial was celebrated, commemorating
the 100th anniversary of the founding of the University. President
Knopf planted five giant sequoia trees, the , as part of the
centennial celebration. These trees would become the Temple
of the Centuries, or "Star Trees" as they
are known today. A year later, in 1943, a College Navy Training
Program (V-12) was established on campus. It was housed in
Lausanne Hall and trained medical personnel and deck officers
from July 1943 through November 1945. A heavy program of physical
conditioning included an obstacle course that was reputed
to be one of the toughest in the West.
The 1940's, 50's and 60's saw the establishment of more national
sororities and fraternities on campus. In 1944, chapters of
Alpha Chi Omega and Pi Beta Phi sororities were organized,
and in 1945-46 chapters of Delta Gamma and Chi Omega sororities
also joined their sister sororities on campus. 1947 brought
chapters of Beta Theta Pi, Phi Delta Theta and Sigma Chi fraternities
to the University, and the local Phi Alpha fraternity established
a chapter with Sigma Alpha Epsilon. In 1955, a chapter of
the national senior mens honorary, Omicron Delta Kappa
was established on campus. In 1957, the Mortar Board, a senior
womens honorary, was brought to Willamette, and in 1960-61,
chapters of Delta Tau Delta and Kappa Sigma fraternities were
The campus grows
In 1950, McCulloch Stadium was built on a 10 acre tract
of land on Bushs Pasture that had been acquired in 1946.
In 1955, three new buildings, the Charles P. and Fannie Kay
Bishop Memorial Health Center, the G. Herbert Smith Auditorium,
and the Doney Residence Hall for women were all added to the
campus grounds. 1960-61 saw the addition of the Lucy Anna
Lee and Emily J. York Residence Halls for women, and the James
T. Mathews and Lewis F. Belknap Residence Halls for men. In
1967, two more new buildings, the Truman Wesley Collins Legal
Center, and the William S. Walton Hall were opened, and in
1970, the George Putnam University Center was dedicated.
Willamette University has always been a leader among small
colleges and universities. Through the years Willamette has
been the recipient of many awards, honors, and accolades that
have established her reputation as an outstanding institution
of higher learning. Willamettes College of Law was admitted
as a member of the Association of American Law Schools in
1946. In 1948, Willamette was rated among the outstanding
small colleges in the United States by Good Housekeeping.
The same year, the school paper, the Collegian received the
prestigious Pace Makers award after an unprecedented sixteenth
consecutive All-American designation. In 1949, Lowell Thomas
originated a national broadcast on CBS from Waller Hall. The
following year, the Mutual Broadcasting System featured the
Willamette A Capella Choir on a coast- to- coast broadcast,
and the Semester in Washington program began in
the College of Liberal Arts.
More student achievements
In 1955, for the fourth time in five years, the Willamette
forensic squad was invited to participate in the National
Invitational Debate Tournament. 1956 saw the establishment
of the Atkinson Lecture Series, and in 1958 The United States
Steel Corporation, in cooperation with the American Alumni
Council, selected Willamette as national award winner for
the best record of improved alumni support among coeducational
colleges. In 1959, the College of Laws Moot Court team
won the national championship. 1962 saw a team from Willamette
appear on the General Electric College Bowl, and
in 1965 Willamette entered into a sister college relationship
with the International College of Commerce and Economics,
now known as Tokyo International University.
Mark O. Hatfield Library
In 1980, an $18 million fund raising drive was begun. Several
major academic buildings were renovated, campus grounds were
improved and the Mark O. Hatfield Library was built thanks
to the money that was raised.
In 1983 Willamette was selected by a U. S. News & World
Report poll of college and university presidents as the best
small comprehensive university in the West. By 1985, a sister-university
relationship was entered into with Xiamen University in Fujian
Province of the Peoples Republic of China, and with
Kookmin University in Seoul, Korea. Another new sister university
agreement was signed in 1987 with Simferopol State University
in what is now the Ukraine. The exchange program began in
1989. In 1990, for the fourth consecutive year, Willamette
enrolled more National Merit Scholars in its entering undergraduate
class than any other private school in the Northwest.
The first three days in February, 1991, saw 24 birthday parties
held across the country and overseas to celebrate the 149th
anniversary of the founding of Willamette University.
Sesquicentennial Founders Day Weekend
The next year, 1992, a special Sesquicentennial Founders
Day Weekend was held. It was filled with special events that
included the issuing of a commemorative U.S. postal card featuring
Waller Hall, and the dedication Mark Sponenburgh's bronze
sculpture, Town and Gown. The refurbished Victory Bell was
rung 150 times to commemorate the anniversary. Later in the
year, on September 10, the Truman Wesley Collins Legal Center
was re-dedicated. United States Supreme Court Justice, Sandra
Day OConnor was the keynote speaker.
Atkinson Graduate School of Management
In 1995, The Atkinson Graduate School of Management earned
accreditation from both the American Association of Schools
of Business and the National Association of Schools of Public
Affairs and Administration. Its integrated Master of Management
is the first and only program with this dual accreditation.
The Kilkenny Family Lecture Hall and Technology Lab were dedicated
October 12th at the Atkinson School. More innovation was initiated
at the Atkinson Graduate School of Management in 1999. A new
core curriculum, PaCE (Private, Public and Community Enterprise)
was started which involved students in creating business enterprises
that would give their profits and volunteer hours to a Salem
area community service organization.
In 2000, Willamette was named a 2000 Truman Foundation Honor
Institution for its exemplary participation in the Truman
Scholarship program. Thus far, only 38 colleges and universities
have been selected for this honor.
Willamette Sports History
Throughout Willamettes history, sports have been an
important part of University life. In 1963, the Bearcat golf
team , led by All-American, Bob Woodle, placed seventh at
the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Tournament,
and in 1968 Willamettes football team, coached by Ted
Ogdahl and led by All-American Calvin Lee, was ranked third
in the nation by NAIA after finishing an undefeated regular
season. 1987 the mens track team won its seventh straight,
and ninth out of tenth, Northwest Conference championship.
The track team was coached by Charles Bowles. In 1991, Willamette
inaugurated its Athletic Hall of Fame. It inducted 16 people
the first year. In 1993, the mens basketball team won
the NAIA Division 2 National Championship, and Coach Gordie
James was named the NAIA Division 2 Coach of the Year. The
Bearcat football team once again had a great season in 1997,
when they advanced to the NAIA national championships, finally
losing 14-7 to Findlay (Ohio).
The center of many of Willamettes sporting triumphs,
McCulloch Stadium, was re-dedicated in 1993 after a major
renovation, made possible by a gift from Bill Long, 59.
At the ceremony, the new field was dedicated as Ted Ogdahl
Field, honoring the former Willamette coach. The stadiums
locker room was dedicated to Jeff Knox 69, who played
offensive guard for Willamette from 1965 to 1968. Knox died
of cancer in 1972. In 1994, Willamettes athletic program
won the Northwest Conference All-Sports award for the 1993-94
school year. It marked the first time the Bearcats had won
the trophy since it was started in 1985-86.
In 1997, Elizabeth Heaston, 99, made history, when
she became the first woman to play in a collegiate football
game. She kicked two extra points in a 27-0 win over Linfield
College. In 1999, for the first time in the Universitys
history, national track and field championships were won by
a Willamette woman and man. Beth Fitzgerald won the 800 meters,
and Jimmy Watts took the decathlon. They are both graduates
of the class of 99, and in 2000, alumnus Andrew Hermann
93, set an American race-walking record on his way to
a berth in the 2000 Olympic Games.
In December, 1997, the first lighting of the Star Trees,
planted in 1942 as part of Willamettes centennial celebration,
became a new campus tradition. The annual tree lighting event
symbolizes the partnership of the University with the community
Through the years Willamette has been lead by many fine presidents.
In 1997, Jerry E. Hudson became president emeritus. He retired
in July, 1997 after serving 17 years as president of Willamette
University. Bryan Johnston followed Jerry Hudson, serving
as interim president for the 1997-98 academic year. In 1999,
President M. Lee Pelton was inaugurated on February 19th,
capping a week of academic and celebratory events. He became
Willamettes 22nd president.
First University in the West
In 2000, Willamette introduced a new logo and slogan,
First University in the West. It is most appropriate
that Willamette University looks to her past to carry her
forward into a new century of growth and continued excellence.
Compiled and written by Susan Gibby
Location of Research/City: Willamette University, Salem
Faxed information on the history of Willamette August 2000
Owning Agency: Willamette University