The Let Your Life Speak series provides a window into the life narratives of individuals from the Macalester community and beyond. The stories shared illuminate diverse paths towards living lives of conviction and courage. Speakers recount meaningful life moments that have shaped their individual purpose, perspective and commitments. These events typically happen over the lunch hour, with the exception of Failure Night which is an evening event in March which celebrates stories of failure. 

Past Presentations

March 2017 – A Night of Failure
Our second annual night to celebrate, support, share, and honor times when we have experienced failure. This community event featured many amazing story tellers as well as the band Scouting Report.

March 2017 –  When I Was… Uncomfortable
We rarely talk about why leaving our comfort zone is so pivotal to ultimately becoming comfortable within ourselves and this world.  This month speakers shared stories of discomfort small and large.

February 2017 –  When I Was…. In Love
We pushed the boundaries of the Valentine holiday and explored the work of love in all its sizes and shapes-friends, parents, passions, and ourselves. With speakers Carol Mejía, American Studies Department Coordinator, Grace Guenthner ’17, Ava Bindas ’17 and Kava Garcia Vasquez ’17.

November 2016 – When I Was…Powerless
Karen Saxe, Professor of Math, Statistics, and Computer Science, Minji Kim ’19, and Elena Torry-Schrag, ’17 recounted a time they were powerless and how this experience shaped their life’s meaning, perspective, and commitments.

October 2016 – When I Forgave/Was Forgiven
Jordyn Whitman ’17, Tasneem Issa ’18, and Ailya Vaijid gave a space for stories about forgiviness and the yearning to forgive within a divisive climate.

April 2016 – When I Was…Ambitious
Marcos Ortega, Assistant Professor of Biology, Svitlana Lukhymovych ’16, and Jolena Zabel ’16 recounted a time when they were ambitious and what ambition means to them within a fast-paced world. 

March 2016 – A Night of Failure
Our debut of the first annual night to celebrate, support, share, and honor times when we have experienced failure. This community event aimed to confront societal myths of perfection within Macalester and featured prepared speakers, an open mic, and of course, cake.

February 2016 – When I Was…Alone
Amy Sullivan, Assistant Professor of History, Caleb Easterly ’17, and John Stark ’16 shared a time when they felt alone and how these experiences shaped relationships with themselves and others.

March 2015 – When I…Believed
Rev. Kelly Stone, Chaplain and Asad Zaidi ’15 shared stories illuminating how their beliefs were formed and how these beliefs are now made manifest in their lives.

March 2015 – When I…Gave Up
Joëlle Vitiello, Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies and Samia Habli ’16 told stories about the difficulties of giving up, and how it can in the end provide release and new horizons.

February 2015 – When I Was… Proud
David M. Wheaton, VP for Administration and Finance, and Ronit Zemel ’15 recounted a time when they felt proud and how it shaped their life’s meaning, perspective, and commitments.

October 2014 – When I Was…Two Things
Professor Devavani Chatterjea, Associate Professor, Biology and Daniel Yee ’16 shared stories about how they have negotiated the dynamic of holding two identities or having two seemingly conflicting passions.

September 2014 – When I Was… Healing
Chris MacDonald-Dennis, Dean of Multicultural Life,  Judith Wodzak ’15 and Ian Locke ’17 shared how a time of healing shaped their life’s meaning, perspective, and commitments.

April 2014 – When I Was… Unwavering
Molly Olsen, Professor & Chair, Hispanic Studies and Noah Westreich ’14 and Danny Ross ’15 shared how moments of determination shaped their life’s meaning, perspective, and commitments

March 2014 – When I Was… Different
Marissa Kurtz ’15 and Neil Chugdar, Assistant Professor, English, shared experiences of when they felt like an outsider or out of step with the world around them.

February 2014 – When I Was… Unsettled
Christian Smith ’15 and Sedric McClure, MAX Center Counselor, shared stories related to the discomfort of losing the security of what was once known or believed.

December 2013 – When I Was… Wrong
Jeffrey Garcia ’14 and Jim Hoppe, Dean of Students, shared stories about self-understanding and humility.

October 2013 – When I Was… Afraid
Lucy Andrews ’14 and Lin Aanonsen, Professor of Biology/WGSS, shared stories about bravery.

April 2013
Joan Ostrove, Professor of Psychology, shared reflections on how our truest vocation often lies below our public accomplishments.

October 2012
Fr. Michael Lapsley, Anglican priest and founder of the Institute for the Healing of Memories, kicked off this series reflecting on his journey from freedom fighter to healer.