Western Oregon University opened the doors to its new Salem campus in the Vick building, at 525 Trade St, after a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, Sept. 20.
The ceremony included remarks from Chuck Bennett (mayor of Salem), Jay Kenton (WOU’s interim president), Rex Fuller (former WOU president), Logan Jackson (Associated Students of Western Oregon University president), Emily Knaus (WOU:Salem alum), and Cori Frauendiener (WOU alum).
“This Western Oregon Salem campus is so important,” Jackson said at the event. “Not only are we providing hybrid courses to provide students with more flexibility in COVID safety, but this campus will give opportunities to those who are unable to attend classes during the day by offering evening courses. It also gives those who may have taken a break from college a chance to hop back in with the easier path to degree completion, create less of a commute to those who are already located in the area, and also give opportunities to earn certificates and master’s degrees geared towards their careers.”
WOU began its expansion to Salem in early 2019 with classes and programs for working adults in the Willamette Education Service District building in south Salem. WOU:Salem now features two programs only offered on the Salem campus: a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Liberal Studies. Both of these programs offer hybrid courses to support working adults in completing degrees. WOU:Salem also offers courses for a master’s in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling and undergraduate courses in psychology, criminal justice, and business. As programming is established, the Vick Building’s six technology-enhanced classrooms and two seminar rooms will be positioned to serve upwards of 500 Salem-based students.
Downtown Salem will serve as a great location for WOU:Salem with its convenient public transportation. As the central and historical sector of Oregon’s second-largest city, WOU is well-suited to deliver transformative education and personalized service to the area. Currently, WOU is the only Oregon public university offering a significant face-to-face component in Salem.
Knaus was one of the first two graduates in WOU’s Organizational Leadership master’s program. “My office is walking distance from this campus,” she said at the ceremony. “I am so happy for all the students who live in this area and will have the opportunity to enjoy this campus. My master’s program has helped me immensely. I’ve learned valuable skills that have helped me propel my career.”
Bennett spoke of the benefits to having a public university’s presence in the state capitol. “It offers a substantial new option for students in the Salem-Keizer School District, as well as at Chemeketa, to go into a four-year program here at home. And be able to complete it while staying really rooted in their local community, which i think is tremendously important,” he said.
The WOU:Salem campus is open to the public beginning Monday, Sept. 27 from 1 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
(Caption for photograph at the top: Former WOU President Rex Fuller cutting a ribbon held by Associated Students of Western Oregon University President Logan Jackson (left) and Emily Knaus, WOU alum (right). Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett, WOU alum Cori Frauendiener, and WOU Interim President Jay Kenton are also pictured, left to right.)
Watch the ribbon cutting ceremony here: