Important Dates and Information

Related Pages

Campus Map


Office of Student Affairs
Macalester College

What follows is an overview of Commencement related events that will occur in the coming months.  Each of these items will be advertised in a variety of ways closer to the relevant date.

Speaker for Commencement Address

Partners in Health cofounder Paul Farmer will deliver this year’s commencement speech. Farmer, a physician and medical anthropologist, is regarded as an expert in global public health. The selection of Farmer aligns with the college’s increased focus on public health issues. This year’s MacReads book was Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains, which tells the story of Farmer’s health work worldwide. In addition, Farmer was the featured speaker at convocation four years ago, when the graduating seniors were first-years.

A committee of students, faculty and staff met two years ago to consider potential commencement speakers and Farmer was among the speakers suggested.

Selection of Speaker for Commencement Address

Questions are often asked about how the Commencement speaker is chosen. A list of potential speakers is developed from nominations from the Senior class and a nominating committee. The final selection rests with the College President. Generally, speakers are selected because their work or activities embody Macalester’s core values; they have a record of outstanding achievement or they have a special attachment to the College.

Senior Class Gift

Macalester’s annual senior Class Gift Campaign is led by a committee of students supported by staff in Macalester’s Annual Fund Office. The campaign is a longstanding tradition and encourages all seniors to give a gift to begin a lifetime of giving back in celebration of their graduation.   

Caps and Gowns and Graduation Announcements

95% of graduating seniors choose to order a cap and gown for commencement. It’s easy, not too expensive, and if you take care of it ON TIME, it will keep parents, etc. from having a fit!  Cap and gown ordering will take place online at The cost is $24. The website is live now and orders may be placed through April 4. There will also be an opportunity for students to order caps and gowns on April 4 on the lower level of the Campus Center.

Standardized non-personalized graduation announcements are available at the Highlander: The Shop at Macalester. If you wish to purchase personalized announcements, they can be ordered online at  If your gown is not returned, your credit card will be charged $115.

Rehearsal and Class Photo

A photo of the entire graduating class will be taken at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 15. This is followed by commencement rehearsal. Free downloads of the Class Photo are available at commencement time.

Senior Week Activities

Senior Week ’14 will take place May 12-17, 2014.  This culminating week for the Class of ’14 is planned by and for Macalester students. Please contact Allison Greenlee, Senior Week adviser, at if you have questions.

Commencement Location

There is room, either on The Lawn or in the Leonard Center Field House, for all family members and friends of graduates to attend the ceremony. Rain or shine, tickets are not necessary for attendance at the Commencement ceremony. 

Reservation forms for other scheduled events will be available on the web in March. A mailing will be sent out prior to that time with registration information.

Directions and Parking

Macalester College is located at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Snelling Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota. View directions to campus for details or call 651-696-6006 to hear an announcement.

GPS driving directions to parking: Use the following address for GPS driving directions which will bring you directly to available parking located near 130 Macalester Street, St. Paul, Minnesota. There is no charge to park in Macalester's lots or on the streets close to campus. View the parking map (PDF) and accessibility map (PDF) for details.

Commencement Photos and DVDs

Photographs are taken of the individual graduates receiving their diplomas. Soon after Commencement you will be contacted by the official photographer, Grad Images, 1-800-424-3686, for an opportunity to order. DVDs of the graduation ceremony will be available for purchase from an official videographer.
DVD order form

Live Streaming of Commencement

The Commencement ceremony itself will be streamed live from 1:30 p.m. CST to 3:45 p.m. on the Macalester web page at


Handicap parking is available on campus. There will be signs posted and volunteers available to shuttle those who need it between the lots and the Commencement site. The College does not provide wheelchairs or walkers for guests. If you are in need of handicap seating for Commencement, please contact Pat Traynor at or 651-696-6220. You are limited to two tickets per family for special seating. A sign language interpreter is available for anyone needing this service.

Information and Assistance

If you need additional information or assistance concerning Commencement 2014, please contact the Office of Student Affairs at 651-696-6220. Staff members Pat Traynor and Laurie Hamre will be happy to assist you. You may also reach them via email: and