Willamette University, 1842-2012
In the story of how campus architecture evolved in the nation, and in microcosm at Willamette University specifically, we see a rich reflection of our society and of education in general. We see how the building of a campus not only re-flects the educational aims and culture of a period, but also impacts the future educational missions of an institution. From the wood-framed Oregon Institute through the creation of the LEED Gold Certified Ford Hall, the captivating details behind the formation of today’s beautiful campus show how intricately the physical plant is intertwined with the work, the institutional mission, the finances, and the individuals who shaped the progress of the University.
While there is plenty to satisfy those with an architectural bent, there is much here for the general reader as well. Generations of people come to life, people from whom we are separated not only by time, but by “the times.” And yet, in their humanity and deep commitment, we can catch glimpses of who we are today. Willamette University literally inhabits the visions of those who came before. We also see that in a very real way, the challenges, disappointments, and triumphs of people who no longer walk these grounds are built into the Willamette physical plant. Once one has been through this journey, the reader will never look at the built environment of Willamette, or of any campus, in the same way again.
Born in Pendleton, William F. Willingham is a historian and author of several books and scholarly articles. His 2005 history of Long Creek is titled Starting Over: Building Community on the Eastern Oregon Frontier. He has also written widely in the fields of water resources development and architectural history.
Read more about this author