It has been quite a year. At 1600 Grand we witnessed alumni, students, and faculty making good on their Macalester education. The last 365 days have brought joy and opportunities to this small college, which always aims to make a difference in the world.  As you review the stories most read and liked by readers in 2016, we believe you’ll see that Mac has once again made you proud.  

24 Hours

That’s how long it took a group of Mac students to create an original piece of music and a video during Macalester’s first Funkathon competition. The song, written by the group Kingdom Roots, was later performed as an opening act for Sounds of Blackness at the Mall of America. That same weekend, other students took part in Macathon, a 24-hour innovation and creativity contest.


Sharon Sayles Belton ’73, the first African American and first woman to serve as mayor of Minneapolis, was named by the Pioneer Press as one of the 16 trailblazing black Minnesotans you should know more about.


Macalester’s long history of global citizenship was recognized by The Princeton Review, which put the college at #2 on its list of 25 Best Schools for Making an Impact. The college’s Civic Engagement Center helps students identify community partners to work with and learn from as they seek to make a difference.

Global Citizenship Awards

These three students didn’t wait for graduation to make an impact on immigration, climate change, public health, and other global concerns.

Dinosaur discoveries

An exciting paper by paleontologist Kristi Curry Rogers and co-authors Megan Whitney ’13, Michael D’Emic, and Brian Bagley shed considerable light on the life and growth of the massive, long-necked Rapetosaurus.  

A chorus of Purple Rain

Musician and Sounds of Blackness founder Gary Hines ’74 took a moment during his Commencement speech to lead the audience in a chorus of “Purple Rain,” by the late musician Prince. Hines was joined on stage by actor and playwright Danai Gurira ’01, who offered insights and advice to Macalester’s 127th graduating class. (Incidentally, earlier in the year Gurira was nominated for a Tony Award for her play Eclipse.)

Brad Pitt

Actor Brad Pitt read a passage from Professor Marlon James’s novel A Brief History of Seven Killings for the New York Times Magazine. James, now Mac’s writer-in-residence, is the first Jamaican writer to receive the prestigious Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2015 for that novel.

Who’s the lead character in Game of Thrones?

Mathematician and professor Andrew Beveridge knows the answer to that question and now so does the rest of the world. Jie Shan ’14 and Beveridge collaborated on an article that appeared in Math Horizons, a magazine of the Mathematical Association of America. Their conclusion: Tyrion. Their article quickly spread across the Internet, first at Quartz, quickly followed by stories at Popular Science, The Huffington Post, Good Morning America, National Public Radio, the AV Club, Entertainment Weekly, the UK’s The Telegraph, and hundreds of other tech and entertainment media outlets.

Who are the new students?

Meet the Class of 2020, an extraordinarily talented group drawn from across the U.S. and the world. More than two-thirds of this year’s accepted students come from the top 10 percent of their high school classes.

Locker room talk

There was considerable discussion this fall about what this entails. Macalester’s football team made it clear what happens in their locker room by creating a progressive video about sexual assault that was shared widely on social media. The video was also played during half-time at one of their games.

Paw therapy

Finals season at Macalester wouldn’t be complete without a furry cuddle from dogs out on Bateman Plaza. Despite temperatures dipping below 10 degrees, students came out to relieve some stress with the canine companions of staff and faculty.

December 29 2016

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