Willamette's History

On April 9, 1948, the people of Bethel, Clear Lake, Danebo and Irving voted to consolidate and build a junior-senior high school. Malabon became part of our school district on August 27, 1948.

Bond elections were held and approved on May 11, 1948, and October 20, 1948. The money from these bond sales was used to purchase land and build and equip a junior-senior high school for 400 pupils.

On May 17, 1948, the school board, composed of George M. Petersen, chairman; Harold B; Jensen, and Marvin Hendrickson, purchased a 50-acre tract as the site for the unnamed high school which they hoped to have operating in the fall of 1949. The contract for constructing the new school was awarded to Waale-Camplan Company on March 2, 1949.


The colors maroon and white were chosen by pupils of School District 52 on April 16, 1949. The students also selected the following as possible names for the new school: General George Patton, McLoughlin, Bidmac and Willamette. By student request, the winning name had to receive at least 66 per cent of the total vote. On April 22, 1949, three hundred eleven ballots were cast by School District 52 students who were attending eight different schools. The name selected is the present name – “Willamette.”

The new Willamette High School was partially completed on September 19, 1949. The dreams and wishes of many came to reality when the pupils started to school on September 26, 1949. Through the combined efforts and co-operation of pupils and patrons, the impossible became possible and a school was constructed for the present and future young people of School District 52.

students dressed in cap and gowns for graduation throwing their hats in the air

Our Mission

Willamette’s mission is to inspire all students academically and prepare them for success as high school graduates and career professionals who will continue their education as life-long learners.

To achieve this mission, we emphasize the importance of attendance and being engaged in our community, both in the classroom and in school-sponsored activities.

Willamette High School Science Hall


Willamette is a local leader in providing advanced coursework including Physics, AP Human Geography, IB Sports, Exercise, and Health Science, IB Chemistry, IB Calculus and Precalculus, IB English, IB History, IB Psychology, IB Spanish, IB German, IB Theory of Knowledge, and IB Theatre, Writing, Computer Science, IB Theatre, and Math.

In addition to advanced course work, Willamette also offers robust Career and Technical Education programs, including Business Management, Computer Science Design, Culinary Arts, Metals and Woods, Manufacturing & Construction, Digital Arts, Fine Arts, Early Childhood Education, Hospitality and Tourism, Health Sciences, Industry and Engineering, Human Behavior, Performing Arts and Multimedia Arts.

Wil-Hi has adopted proficiency-based instruction and assessment, where all learning expectations are clearly and consistently communicated with students and families. Willamette also provides intervention classes in Math, Reading, and Writing.

a group of students singing, accompanied by students playing instruments


Beyond the classroom, students take part in more than 35 clubs, 18 varsity sports, and award winning music and fine arts programs.

At Willamette High School, we strive to support all students on a journey of personal growth and collective success!

Chris Kilcullen Memorial Garden

Eugene Police officer Chris Kilcullen was killed in the line of duty on April 22, 2011. Chris was a 1986 graduate of Willamette High School and a long-time friend, supporter, and protector of the community. Leadership students at Willamette chose to honor Chris by completely transforming the school’s Senior Courtyard into a garden that’s become an oasis in the middle of campus. Members of the Kilcullen family joined dozens of volunteers, friends, students and school supporters for the ribbon-cutting ceremony dedicating the garden in July 2012.

Today the Kilcullen Memorial Garden features a beautiful curved path, welcoming benches, and flourishing plants. The project was a community effort with significant donations of time, products, money, equipment and volunteer effort.

Donations are still being accepted to help with the ongoing maintenance and care of the garden.
Contributions by check can be made payable to “Willamette High School” with “Chris Kilcullen Memorial Garden” written in the note.

Please mail donations to: Willamette High School, c/o Deliene Miller, 1801 Echo Hollow Road, Eugene, OR 97402.

Contributors to the project include:

Michael Weir (Landscape Design)
Terry Thorn of Delta Landscaping (Landscape Work)
WHS Leadership Class (Initial Concept, Fundraising, Volunteers)
Willamette Pride (Community Outreach, Volunteers, Donation Solicitation)
Brooke Cottle
Margaret Hansen
Peter Burrows (WHS Principal)
Willamette Graystone (Pavers)
John Deere Landscaping (Sprinkler Parts, Flagstone)
Pappy’s Pizzeria, Inc.
Wildish (Gravel)
Knife River (Concrete)
Belfor (General Contractor, Donation Solicitation)
Eugene Excavation and Plumbing (Excavation)
Eugene Airport Rotary Club (Pavers)
Class of 2011
Parents of the Class of 2011
Class of 1960
Class of 1953
Class of 1951
Joni & Jacques De Saint Phalle
Joann & Roger Schliep
Marie Bennett-Setchko
James Zechmeister
Marjorie Jensen
Michael Duggan
Wayne Allen
many additional donors and contributors.

School building illustration

Willamette Improvements

Thanks to the 2012 Bethel bond measure that passed with a 73% Yes vote, numerous updates and improvements have taken place at Willamette. Most notably is our Science and front office complex, the new face of our school. Other enhancements have brought new carpet, windows, roofs, lighting, clock system, boiler, phone system, fire alarm panel, door locks, security cameras and fencing, computers and document cameras, textbooks, and a press box.

There have been notable improvements to the Industry and Engineering facility, girls locker room, school weight room, cafeteria, parking lot, College & Career Center, softball field, auditorium seating, lighting and audio, kitchen, and school restrooms.

We are very grateful for the community’s support of the education of Bethel children.

The video on the left is a time lapse of the construction of our Science and front office complex, which opened with a ribbon-cutting on September 1, 2015.