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Welcome to Willard Residential College!

We are so excited to meet our new Woos!

A message from your Faculty Chair:

A message from Faculty Chair Dr. Morson:


Dear Incoming Willard Residents:


As the Faculty Chair of Willard Residential College, I am delighted to welcome you to Northwestern’s oldest and liveliest residential college. You are joining an exceptional group of Northwestern students, a vibrant community, and a rich tradition you will love and remember long after you graduate!


Willard students are famous for having real spirit.  Despite the formidable challenges of inspiring a community via zoom, Willard students set an example for others to follow.   They always do!


For years and years, the students of Willard have valued thinking for oneself.   They discuss everything from college life to great philosophical or political problems with enthusiasm and respect for each other’s opinions.  We differ, and we love it. Willard features a cohesive community, and your own unique interests and active participation will prove essential to shaping the programmatic direction this year. We have no mold into which you must fit and no set of beliefs to which you must conform. Many ways exist for you to become involved, and you are encouraged to exercise creativity.  “Creativity” is the Willard watchword!


And creativity has been on display throughout the pandemic when Willard adapted to new conditions. With amazing dedication, our student leaders showed that Willard spirit is no less real when virtual. And Willard faculty fellows still “showed up” for events with students. Nothing wilts Willard!


Just over four years ago, Willard moved into new, renovated facilities. The new building is truly amazing, the best on campus. It facilitates the building of community and sheer fun. And now we can use it once again!  You will love it!


We don’t know yet what move-in day will be like, but we do know that members of the Executive Board and the Community Assistant team will be here to welcome you and help you settle in.   Along with Associate Chair Christine Helmer and Assistant Chair Matthew Zellner, I will host a reception for your parents – either virtually or in the Willard First Floor Lounge (WFFL), also known as the “Waffle.” Later we will greet you in the same real or virtual space. We are all looking forward to meeting you!


Christine Helmer is Professor of Religious Studies and German in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. Committed to building a community at Willard, she is open to discovering the unique perspectives we all bring into conversation as we learn how to be scholars and persons together.  Her teaching and research has to do with the formation of the modern West, particularly the legacy of German thought, and how theology can be an intellectual practice in the study of religion. She is also interested in sports and classical music, and is eager to talk with you about things that matter to you. 


Matt Zellner is a speech-language pathologist and a Ph.D. student in Communication Sciences and Disorders studying how to help young children with autism communicate more effectively. He serves as the point person for helping us coordinate day-to-day programmatic and administrative matters for faculty-student activities. He is always available to help Willard residents with issues big or small–whether it be helping with your homework or figuring out what classes to take. You can usually find him in his Willard office in the WFFL or at any Willard event that has food.


Every fall I offer the gigantic Russian 210-2, Introduction to Russian Literature, in which we read the two greatest novels ever written, Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov and Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. A special aspect of this class is an extra informal discussion group for Willard students. Our faculty fellows offer seminars at Willard from time to time as well. I sincerely hope that you will consider taking these classes and make the effort to get to know our faculty at our many events as well as over lunch at our dining hall. This is what the residential college experience is all about!


Gary Saul Morson

Lawrence B. Dumas Professor of the Arts and Humanities, Faculty Chair of Willard RC

Welcome Incoming Students

A message from your Exec Board:

Hello Class of 2026!


    Welcome to Willard Residential College! We are so excited to have you living here next year! As a residential college, we host events almost daily that help boost connection between students and faculty alike. These events are also the perfect opportunity to build relationships with your peers; this is how we personally found some of our closest friends. We also hope you get the chance to meet and get to know us all, as Willard Exec is so excited to meet you all! If you’d like to learn more about our Board, check out the Executive Board here. We are going to make your time at Willard the best ever, and we are excited to turn Willard from your dorm to your home!

    Willard is also the only non-thematic residential college, meaning you’ll find a variety of people living here. We host a diverse class of people, ranging from theater kids, film majors, pre-med students, to a surprising number of engineers (including our President!) We are located in the south quads, and we’re home to about 240 students, making us the largest residential college; we are excited to foster a big community!

    One of the best things about Willard is that every resident contributes to our community in unique and amazing ways. Whether it’s giving firesides, attending events with our faculty fellows, presenting niche powerpoints, playing for our intramural sports teams, going to book clubs, going on a midnight Fran’s run, eating food at Munchies, attending a watch or listening party, or hanging out in the WFFL, there are so many different ways for you to get involved. Don’t forget our annual tradition of Willard Formal in Chicago! If you want more information on these fun events, check out the Willard events and traditions page!

    If you want to learn more about Willard or start connecting with some of your fellow Woos, you can check out the rest of our website and follow us on Instagram @willardrescollege! We cannot wait to meet all of you on move-in day and welcome you into your new home. Enjoy the rest of your summer, and we’ll see you soon!


‘Sko Woos

Willard Exec 2022-2023

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