About Founders Day

Founders Day was started in 1938 by Miss Grace Whitridge, both to commemorate the day Rev. Dr. Edward Duffield Neill obtained the charter for Macalester from the Minnesota Legislature on March 5, 1874, and to celebrate the 89th birthday of James Wallace who served as college president for 12 years. The tradition of celebrating Founders Day continued through the early 1970s and was revived again in March 2004. In the early days, the event included a lecture in the gymnasium and birthday cake. The cake was ceremoniously carried into the gymnasium on a special litter borne by four men dressed in kilts as bagpipers the procession.

“The history of Macalester is written with the story of men and women who sacrificed... Great commitment, and great acknowledgement of the need for occasional suffering in order to bring great ideas into reality. We are the beneficiaries of those who have preceded us.”
- Former Macalester President
John B. Davis, Jr. in 1975