This year, alumni and friends around the world mourned the loss and honored the legacy of Jimm Crowder, Macalester’s director of international admissions for 25 years. Crowder, who lived in St. Paul, died Jan. 29. During his 33 years at Macalester, he visited more than 100 countries, worked in international student programs, and had a profound impact on the lives of many international students. When Crowder joined Macalester in 1980, 75 percent of international students had come from only five different countries, but now more than 90 nations are represented in the student body.

After Crowder’s retirement in 2013, he continued for two years as a temporary admissions application reader for the college. “I always felt that I wanted to make a difference in the world,” he told Macalester Today in 2002. “I realized at some point that the best way to do that was to put a world of exceptional people in a position to make a difference.” Crowder is survived by his wife, Jutta, and two children, Max and Anja ’13.

A Macalester scholarship fund is named for Crowder and Steve Colee, another longtime staff member who worked in international admissions. The Jimm Crowder and Steve Colee Endowed Scholarship supports the college’s international students.

“Jimm will always be remembered throughout the world for his kindness and open mindedness—the low-profile subtle force to which Macalester owes, to a large extent, its international reputation, recognition, and success.” –Yiannis Ioannou ’85

“Jimm recruited me from Li Po Chun UWC. I knew almost nothing about Macalester except that Kofi Annan was on the poster, and I was pretty dubious about going to university in the United States at all. But sitting down with Jimm was like sitting down with an old friend. Jimm’s warmth and thoughtful answers to my questions played a big part in my decision to apply to Mac. That was the first step on a wonderful adventure for which I am so grateful.” –Stephanie Raill Jayanandhan ’06

“Jimm moved with this restlessness in those clogs. That restlessness I now understand was really Jimm’s energy and drive to transform Macalester into a truly international space. I believe very few among us can comprehend what an incredible mission he was on. When I ended up on probation in my first semester, a not-so-uncommon symptom of transition angst, I thought I let down one person more than anyone—and that was Jimm. He took it well, and said something like, ‘It will all work out.’ If I could tell Jimm one thing, it would be this: it all worked out, Jimm, and I didn’t let you down.” –Mihir Desai ’90

“Over the years I found that Jimm could look at you in a way that made you wish to be the person he already saw in you. I think that this is perhaps the real reason so many of us committed to spending four years of our lives at this small liberal arts college in Minnesota: because we wanted to become the kind of person that Jimm Crowder already saw in us.” –Gerbrand Hoogvliet ’11

April 22 2020

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