St. Paul, Minn. – Macalester is holding its first-ever 24-hour Macathon, the college’s first-ever “hackathon,” beginning 4:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 8, ending at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9.  Online: macathon

A hackawhat?
Hackathons are contests held in tech companies and associations where brilliant people compete to improve, break, build, and create new systems.

Mac is more than tech
At Macalester, the version goes beyond technology. Macathon is about putting liberal arts education into action to invent a new product or service (website, interactive application or mobile app) that solves a real-world and relevant problem or is just flat-out cool.

What will happen
During a 24-hour period, 4:30 p.m. Fri., Feb. 8, through (approx.) 4:30 p.m. Sat., Feb. 9, nine teams of Macalester students will compete for cash prizes and the opportunity for feedback from successful alumni entrepreneurs, technologists, and investors. The winning team will receive $1,000 and detailed feedback, tips and next steps for making their idea a reality. Second and third-place prizes of $750 and $500, respectively, will also be awarded.

The Judges
Macalester alumni judges are entrepreneurs, technologists, and investors:

Josh Aas ’05, Engineering Manager, Mozilla Corporation
At Mozilla, he leads their networking performance and security group.

Mark Abbott ’96, CIO, Atomic Data
Abbott is Chief Information Officer at Atomic Data, a Minneapolis-based IT company with data centers all over the world.  

Steve Arnold ’72, Co-Founder and Venture Partner, Polaris Ventures
Prior to founding Polaris as a venture capital firm in 1996, Arnold had senior executive positions at Microsoft, LucasArts, LucasFilm and Continuum (now Corbis) Corporation. With George Lucas, Arnold is a co-founder of the George Lucas Education Foundation.

Peter Pascale ’94, Director, Product Strategy and Architecture, Pearson VUE
With over a decade of experience in the corporate software world, Pascale is an expert on agile software development, with specialties in Java and mobile apps.

David Sielaff ’90, Principal Software Engineer, Microsoft Corporation
Key software engineer on program analysis software used on critical Microsoft projects, including Windows, Office, Xbox and SQL.

Steve Wiggins ’78, Managing Partner, Essex Woodlands Health Ventures
Wiggins has over 30 years of venture capital, hedge fund and operating experience in the healthcare space.

Per von Zelowitz ’94, Co-Founder; Chief Executive Officer, +n(PlusN) LLC
A current Macalester trustee, von Zelowitz has over a decade of experience as a venture investor in digital media, communications, enterprise software and consumer software and service spaces. His new company, +n (PlusN) is currently developing carrier aggregation software for mobile data network operators. He is the chief event judge, and his initial concept generated the Macathon.

Trustee Per von Zelowitz ’94 was interviewed on KSTP-TV about the Macathon. Link to interview

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 2,035 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement. Learn more at

  9 Macalester student teams
  Macalester’s first-ever Macathon, a 24-hour “hackathon
  Fri., Feb.8 – Sat., Feb. 9, 24 hours, beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Olin-Rice Science Cente
Best time to go: 
Sat., at 3 p.m. when the participating teams present to the judges. Winners announced at 6 p.m.
Contact:  Barbara K. Laskin, Macalester media relations, 651-696-6451

February 6 2013

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