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Notable Alumni

Successful Macalester alumni are found everywhere, from politics to public health, technology to theology, entertainment to environment.

With the education and experiences they gain here, Macalester alumni have excelled in every imaginable field, and the best news is that they are known for their willingness to advise and show you the ropes.

From the MacConnect trips to Washington, D.C., New York, and the Bay Area, to informal one-on-one meetings, alumni are generous in sharing their expertise with students.

  • Academics

    • William P. Gerberding ’51, President Emeritus, University of Washington
    • David C. Hodge ’70, President, Miami University of Ohio
    • Fred Swaniker ’99, founder African Leadership Academy, twice honored by President Obama

  • Actors, directors, playwrights

    • Peter Berg ’84, director, actor, producer Friday Night Lights, Hancock
    • Danai Gurira ’01, actor, (zombie-killer Michonne in The Walking Dead) and author of the Tony-Award-winning play Eclipsed
    • Seth Lind ’01, director, comedian, and Director of Operations of the podcast This American Life.
    • Carl Lumbly ’73, actor, starred in the show Alias, guest starred in shows such as LA Law and ER
    • Shawn Lawrence Otto ’81, author, filmmaker, and screenwriter and co-producer of the movie House of Sand and Fog.

  • Artists, architects, musicians

    • Kerry Alexander ’12, cofounder of indie pop band Bad Bad Hats
    • Siah Armajani ’63, Iranian-born American sculptor, designed the 1996 Olympic Torch for the summer games
    • Duane Hanson ’46, American sculptor best known for his photorealistic human figures
    • Gary Hines ’74, founder of Grammy Award-winning Sounds of Blackness
    • Chris Hoge ’12, cofounder of indie pop band Bad Bad Hats
    • M.anifest (Kwame Tsikata ’05), Grammy Award-winning songwriter and rapper.
    • Joan Mondale ’52, skilled potter and advocate of the arts, earning her the nickname “Joan of Art.” The wife of Walter Mondale ’50, she showcased American art at the Vice Presidential Mansion and the American Embassy in Japan.
    • Bob Mould ’82, musician, member of Hüsker Dü and Sugar
    • Stephen Paulus ’71, composer, co-founder American Composers Forum
    • Lisa Sanditz ’95, painter, Guggenheim Fellow, profiled in Smithsonian magazine. The New York Times called her landscapes “immensely appealing.”
    • Flip Schulke ’54, photographer of Martin Luther King, Mohammed Ali, Fidel Castro & others
    • Will Sheff ’98, singer and guitarist of indie band Okkervil River
    • Amanda Warner ’01, half of electronic music duo MNDR

  • Business, finance, development

    • Omar Ansari ’92, founder Surly Brewing Company
    • Denitza Batchvarova ’06, vice president of strategy and business ventures for Zuffa, a company promoting mixed martial arts
    • Ari Emanuel ’83, CEO, William Morris Endeavor, talent and media agency
    • Christina French Houghton ’06, a co-founder of Guy French, which designs and sells tailored jackets. The New York Times called it “Where Hepburn Might Shop.”
    • Kate Ryan Reiling ’00, creator of Morphology, Time Magazine’s  #2 Toy of the Year, and Entrepreneur in Residence at Macalester.
    • Mihailo Temali ’76, founder Neighborhood Development Center, trains inner-city, low- income entrepreneurs to open and run their own businesses
    • DeWitt Wallace ’11, founder, Reader’s Digest magazine

  • Law, government and politics

    • Paul H. Anderson ’65, (retired) Minnesota Supreme Court justice
    • Kofi Annan ’61, Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997–2006), 2001 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
    • Sharon Sayles Belton ’73, Mayor of Minneapolis (1994–2001); attorney. The first African American and first female mayor in the 140-year history of the city of Minneapolis.
    • Tonderai Chikuhwa ’96, Senior Adviser to the UN’s Under-Secretary-General ~ Sexual Violence in Conflict
    • Michael Davis ’69, former Chief U.S. District Judge, now senior judge. First black federal judge in Minnesota
    • Matt Entenza ’83, Minnesota State Representative (1995-2006), Minnesota House Minority Leader (2003-2006), Founder Minnesota 2020
    • B. Todd Jones ’79, former Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, now Chief Disciplinary Officer of the National Football League
    • Harriet Lansing ’67, Minnesota Court of Appeals (retired). The first female to serve as City Attorney of a major city (St. Paul, 1976-1978); one of six original appointees to the Minnesota Court of Appeals when it was formed in 1983.
    • Carlos Mariani ’79, Minnesota House member since 1991, Chair of the K-12 Education Policy and Oversight Committee (2007–2010)
    • Scott McCallum ’72, Governor of Wisconsin (2001–2003)
    • Walter Mondale ’50, Vice President of the U.S. (1977–1981), U.S. Senator (1964–1976), U.S. Ambassador to Japan (1993-1996)
    • Rebecca Otto ’85, Minnesota State Auditor
    • Christopher O. Ward ’76, former Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey when 9/11 Memorial was created

  • Religion and theology

    • Kristine Holmgren ’75, Presbyterian pastor and author of God Girl, an autobiographical book about being among the first women admitted to Princeton Theological Seminary.
    • James B. Nelson ’51, UCC minister who taught in the U.S. and at Oxford and Cambridge, ground-breaking writing on sexuality and advocacy for LGBT people
    • Paul Raushenbush ’86 , founding editor HuffPost Religion, former associate dean of religious life at Princeton

  • Science, medicine, public health, health care, environment

    • Stanley Berry ’75, researcher, teacher, practitioner in high-risk pregnancies
    • Edie Bragg-Harmon ’66 longtime activist for the California desert environment, particularly Indian lands threatened by toxic gold mining
    • Louisa Chapman ’75, medical epidemiologist, Captain U.S. Public Health Service, addressed hantavirus, smallpox, anthrax, West Nile and Hurricane Katrina issues
    • Holly Elwood ’90, The Washington Post named her “the green electronics lady” for making IT products more environmentally preferable
    • Christy Haynes ’98 chemistry professor; one of Popular Science magazine’s “Brilliant 10” young scientists
    • Paul Huttner ’85, chief meteorologist for Minnesota Public Radio
    • Lisa Peterson ’81, scientist and leader of the Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Program, University of Minnesota’s Masonic Cancer Center.
    • Lois Quam ’83, Executive Director of the Global Health Initiative, U.S. Department of State, under Hillary Rodham Clinton

  • Social justice, philanthropy

    • Gabrielle Funaro Strong ’86, executive director of Ain Dah Yung, serving American Indian students. She is Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota.
    • Jeff Halper ’68 Israeli Committee against House Demolitions (ICAHD), whose aim is to fight destruction of Palestinian homes on the West Bank and Gaza Strip
    • Gloria Perez ’88, president and CEO of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, which invests in innovation to drive gender and racial equity in Minnesota
    • Nat Sloane ’75, one of Christian Science Monitor’s “Eight Innovative Philanthropists.” His company advises and raises money for UK charities.
    • Joan Swanson Velasquez ’63, founder of Mano a Mano, which collects and sends surplus medical supplies to Bolivia and builds clinics there

  • Technology, new media

    • JJ Allaire ’91, co-founder of ColdFusion and Onfolio; Windows Live Writer (acquired by Microsoft), developing a web-based interface to R technical computing environment
    • Jeremy Allaire ’93, co-founder of ColdFusion, helped create Flash at Macromedia, CEO of Brightcove online video platform
    • Alain Chuard ’99 and Victoria Ransom ’99, co-creators of Wildfire, acquired by Google for $450 million
    • Rebecca Van Dyck ‘91, head of Global Consumer & Brand Marketing at Facebook

  • Writers and journalists

    • Gary Arndt ‘91 – Travel photographer and writer
    • Charles Baxter ’69, author and National Book Award Winner for The Feast of Love
    • Mary Karr ’76, bestselling author, The Liars’ Club
    • Alex Lemon ’00, poet, writer and creative writing professor at Texas Christian University
    • Tim O’Brien ’68, bestselling author, The Things They Carried and Going After Cacciato
    • Stephen Smith ’82, American RadioWorks, winner broadcast journalism’s most prestigious honor, the Gold Baton, for “Massacre at Cuska: Anatomy of a War Crime”
    • Dave Zirin ’96, sports writer and author of What’s My Name, Fool?