David Lanegran ’63

2014 Distinguished Citizen

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With four sisters among the family members enrolled at Macalester before David Lanegran ’63 even arrived, the Lanegran family had already established deep ties to the college. He went on to carve out his own unique legacy when he returned in 1969 to begin a teaching career that spans 45 years so far. His work’s influence stretches from Macalester to the international geographic education community.

As Macalester’s John S. Holl Chair of Geography and an expert on urban development and planning, Lanegran teaches human and urban geography courses. In recognition of his teaching, he has won Macalester's Jefferson Award and the Burlington-Northern Award for Teaching Excellence. In 1977, Educational Change magazine named him one of the nation’s 10 outstanding geography teachers. His publications include a series of books and reports that helped revitalize several Twin Cities neighborhoods and commercial streets including Grand Avenue, Summit Hill, St. Anthony Park, and the Lakes District.

Lanegran’s service record is just as extensive. He has served on campus and alumni committees, receiving Macalester’s Alumni Service Award in 2008. Locally, his interest in Twin Cities history and historic preservation drew him to civic work such as leading the effort to restore St. Paul’s Landmark Center. He has championed geographic education from the elementary grades through college, including leadership that shaped the Advanced Placement Human Geography test. A National Council for Geographic Education past president and Association of American Geographers past national councilor, Lanegran was honored with each organization’s highest award in 2008 and 2010, respectively.

At Macalester, the thriving geography department may be what speaks best to his legacy. “Dave Lanegran has played a vital role in helping to build and sustain one of the greatest liberal arts college geography departments in the country,” says current department chair Bill Moseley. “His devotion to literally thousands of students who have gone on to careers in public service, the private sector, and academia is, in a word, astounding.”