Skip to Main Content Skip to Footer Toggle Navigation Menu
The Bell Tower and Weyerhaeuser Hall in the spring. Trees nearby are starting to bud.

Sesquicentennial Grants

Last fall, we asked for your help coming up with ways to help our campus community celebrate Macalester’s sesquicentennial…and you answered! The grant committee was thrilled to receive twenty-seven applications, and we selected seven teams whose projects will celebrate the sesquicentennial—all in their own creative ways. We cannot wait to see these ideas in action, and we’re excited to celebrate with all of you.

A Living History of the Macalester Student Body

Tuesday, February 27, 4:30–7 p.m.
Campus Center Atrium

Celebrate the stories, traditions, and quirks of the Macalester student body of the past 150 years and today! The daytime event will have hands-on activities and mini-history lessons on different Macalester student traditions, events, or silly things that happened on campus. Some examples of events we may include are the history of our mascot, especially in regards to MacQuack, a review of the tenuous history of Kagin dances, and the origins of our painted rock. This event will help celebrate our current traditions, and hopefully inspire some new ones, as well.

Team: Laurie Adamson (CSLE), Diarra Chatman ’27, Mikayla Giehler ’24, Eliora Hansbrook ’25, Emma Kopplin ’24, Reagan Kimzey ’24, Lesley Lavery (Political Science), Mariah Loeffler-Kemp ’24

Macalester’s 150 Year Installation

May 2024 (Commencement)

In Paris, people take photos in front of the Eiffel Tower. In San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge. In Rome, the Colosseum. At Mac, it’s time to build an iconic installation of our own where students, prospective students, alumni, faculty, and staff can take their own souvenir photo. This would be something that is uniquely Mac, and the project will launch at Commencement 2024 in order to get a lot of selfies with a trending hashtag to celebrate 150 years of Mac. Embedded in this icon will be visual symbols that will serve as a powerful testament to Macalester’s rich history and its commitment to values like multiculturalism, equity, and social justice. This installation will be more than just a work of art; it is a vehicle for the Macalester community to reflect on this institution’s history and values. 

Team: Mike Babb ’20 (Athletics), Mady Chen ’24, Sarah Choi ’24, Sylvia Choi ’24, Maddie Collett ’24, Aly Hayashi ’24, Dylan Kilgour ’17 (Athletics), Kody Kobayashi ’24, John Mountain (Career Exploration), Conner Nord (Athletics), Gabriel Ramos ’22 (Athletics), Marshall Roll ’24, Shilad Sen (MSCS), Abe Woldeslassie ’08 (Athletics)

Bands@Mac (working title)

Tentative Timing: June (Reunion) & October (Mac Fest) or December 2024

What do Hüsker Dü, Sounds of Blackness, R.E.M., and Bad Bad Hats all have in common? Their Macalester connections! This project will highlight bands and individual artists who got their start at Macalester, and went on to record something beyond Mac. It celebrates popular music as a thread of the student experience over the years. The result will be a digital mixtape or vinyl LP (pending cost) chronicling the earliest recording in the archives up to the most recent student band—to be released for Reunion 2024. The project will bring together current student and faculty bands for a performance, or even one or more of the artists on the record, for a “record release show.” With music as the common thread that brings us all together all throughout history, this will be a celebration of and for the Macalester community.

Team: Dave Collins ’85 (Library), Molly Friederichs ’26, Geoff Gorham (Philosophy), Nelson Mondale ’25, C.C. Servon ’25, Leah Seidenkranz (Alumni Engagement), Ely Sheinfeld (Archives)

Community Fe(a)st

Tentative Timing: September 2024 (Convocation)

To kick off the 2024-2025 academic calendar during this special sesquicentennial year, pull up a chair with your friends, colleagues, and perfect strangers! Seated along one long, communal table strung throughout campus (or separate tables, if logistically necessary), our community is welcomed to this communal meal—capturing a fantastic visual representation of our community. Academic departments, resource partners, student organizations, and clubs will be invited to create an icon or share a photo that illustrates their role in and history at Macalester. A collage of these visuals will be put on placemats at different seats, celebrating the rich diversity we have among academic and personal interests, and the growth undertaken by our community to get us where we are now. We would also create an online gallery of these illustrations for all to see. The fe(a)st will likely take place after Opening Convocation (instead of the standard boxed lunch picnic) to mark the start of the 150th academic year.

Team: Abby Dos Santos ’01 (Alumni Board), Sophie Futchko ’25, Duchess Harris (American Studies), Masa Holocsi ’24, Rola Cao ’25, Tamoanchan Lucero (Alumni Engagement), Diane Saber ’78 (Alumni Board), Emma Runchey Smalley ’26, Erin Updike (Alumni Engagement)

Ordway County Fair: Making and sharing memories at Macalester’s other campus

Tentative Timing: September 2024

Celebrate 150 at Macalester’s “other campus”! The Ordway County Fair will be hosted at our field station, which plays several important roles in the college’s 150 year history as well as present and future contributions to learning, community, and growth for us all. Fair “booths” may include: a station hosted by the college archivists at which Macalester community members can record their Macalester and Ordway memories digitally and physically; a display related to the history, and prehistory, of Ordway; interpretive hikes focused on ecology, birding, and human impacts; hands-on beekeeping and animal husbandry stations; basic outdoor skills; art activities and scavenger hunts; a petting zoo run by folks from Dodge Nature Center; and food and drink provided by professional vendors. Simply being outdoors in a natural setting fosters reflection, openness to learning, and joy like nothing else can—the best way to celebrate old memories while making new ones.

Team: Mike Anderson (Biology), Sarah Boyer (Biology), Julia Brandfonbrener ’25, Jerald Dosch (Biology and Environmental Studies), Mary Dybvig ’14, John Esh (Archives), Lindsey Gould ’25, Summer Hills-Bonczyk ’05 (Art and Art History), Xavier Haro-Carrion (Geography), Mary Heskel (Biology), Don Oberdorfer ’91, Ben Pritchard ’23, Erin Rupp ’04, Kurt Rusterholz ’70, Eli Schue ’24, Ely Sheinfeld (Archives), Emma Squires ’24, Burke Strickland ’69, Emma Torzs (English), Sam Vanspriell ’24, Megan Vossler (Art and Art History), Chris Wells (Environmental Studies), Daniel Whitman ’24

Macalester’s 150th Anni-fir-sary: Arboricultural beautification and educational inventory of Macalester Campus’ stunning standing stems

Tentative Timing: October 2024

Who is better suited to tell the story of Macalester at 150 years than the living, breathing beings that have been here all along—our trees! Let’s mark the sesquicentennial with the creation of a comprehensive campus tree inventory, the development of a historical research exposition about the Mac-Groveland urban forest, and the planting of 15 new trees. Each tree has a story to tell, and interactive signage will be placed by key trees throughout campus to share a snapshot of what was happening in the world and on campus while these trees were planted. A culminating sustainability event will bring the Macalester community together for local and sustainable food, a guided tour to showcase the findings from the tree inventory, and a spotlight on additional sustainability initiatives at Mac (e.g., MacBike, the Free Swap, the gardens, etc.). Emphasizing the outdoor spaces at Mac, a key feature of the Comprehensive Campus Plan, this project allows us to educate about the urban canopy that Macalester has cultivated and protected over the past 150 years and talk about how we can be stewards of these greenspaces into the next 150 years.

Team: Megan Butler (Sustainability Office), Michael Frazier (Facilities), Alayna Johnson ’25, Anna Jensen ’25, Lukas Lock-Scamp ’25, Aidan Reynolds ’25, Maya Saidel ’25, Chris Wells (Environmental Studies)

Reshaping History: Macalester’s Journey Towards Social Justice and Inclusion

Tentative Timing: November 2024

Understanding the college’s 150 years of equity efforts and recognizing those who came before us is a crucial aspect of the Macalester educational journey. This project celebrates Macalester’s commitment to multiculturalism, diversity, and social justice. It offers a fresh perspective on the college’s history by highlighting and celebrating the experiences and contributions of historically marginalized individuals and groups, and unveiling the rich history of activism and organizing within Macalester. Central to this celebration is an interactive exhibition which will feature an extensive collection of artifacts, documents, photographs, and personal narratives that reflect the struggles and triumphs of various communities within Macalester. Alongside this interactive exhibition, there will be a celebration at the Cultural House to highlight its historical importance in advancing equity at Macalester.

Team: Hana Dinku (Lealtad-Suzuki Center for Social Justice), Gonzalo Guzman (Educational Studies), Yamali Rodas Figueroa ’27, Jane He ’27, Karla Martinez ’27

Black and white photo of an early Sounds of Blackness performance. Singers stand on risers with a pianist and guitarist to the side.
Mac at 150

Sounds of Blackness

1969: Black Voices, a musical ensemble, is founded by Russell Knighton ’72. It is later renamed Sounds of Blackness. Led by Gary Hines ’74, the ensemble goes on to win three Grammy Awards and still performs around the world today.