Whatever direction they’re heading, Macalester students are equipped with courage, an empathetic, global perspective, and 21st-century skills.

What’s your Macalester moment?

When we launched The Macalester Moment campaign publicly in October 2018, we asked the whole Macalester community, including current students, to reflect on their own moments of self-discovery and to help make moments possible for future generations by supporting the campaign.

Autumn DeLong ’20 is one of those students. She arrived at Macalester from rural Iowa four years ago, with plans to major in political science and work on immigration reform.

“My first semester, I was taking a class in the Religious Studies Department with Jim Laine and it felt like I was suddenly home,” she says. “It allowed me to open the door and have this huge space to explore the way religion had been presented to me before.”

DeLong eventually decided to double-major in religious studies and international studies and continued pursuing her interests in immigration policy, law, and human rights—just using different academic lenses.

The highly successful Macalester Moment campaign for access and excellence concluded on May 31. Co-chaired by Annette Mortinson Whaley ’75 and Michael Huber ’90, the campaign raised more than $126 million in endowed funds, planned gifts to support future student and faculty needs, and Macalester Fund current-use support, far exceeding our goal of $100 million.

The campaign focused on four pillars tied to the college’s strategic plan: financial aid to provide access to students regardless of their family’s resources; faculty and academic support, including more opportunities for student/faculty research and support for endowed professorships; enriched and expanded programming in Career Exploration and Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and a new theater and dance building; and the Macalester Fund, to ensure annual support for every department and every student, creating meaningful and wide-ranging experiences.

DeLong’s college experience was enhanced by all four pillars. Financial aid helped bring her to Macalester. Support from endowed scholarships, including the Roetzel Family Summer Fellowship in Religious Studies and the Mary Frances Johnstone Kagin Memorial Endowed Scholarship, helped her pursue research opportunities with Professor Laine and Professor James von Geldern.

Macalester faculty members are the type of teachers who “walk alongside you” during research and help students discover and trust their own thinking, says DeLong. She’s pursuing graduate studies at Union Theological Seminary in New York City remotely this fall. She says her experiences at Mac have made her feel really prepared for grad school.

It’s probably too early to say what DeLong herself will recall as her own pivotal moment at Macalester. More likely, for her and other students, it’s a collection of moments in and out of the classroom, as distinctive as each person. Her research experiences. Studying abroad in Peru. Four years of choir which she describes as a “rock that’s bound all of us together.” A January MacConnect trip to Washington, D.C., through Career Exploration that explored careers in human rights. Even remote learning and a remote graduation ceremony during the pandemic this past spring. “Macalester really taught me to appreciate the ups and the downs,” she says. “And I think that’s actually something that made the pandemic easier in a lot of ways.”

The generous and extraordinary support of The Macalester Moment campaign from the entire community of alumni, faculty, staff, parents, students, and others has transformed the college. It’s provided us real-time flexibility to pivot quickly to new ways of teaching and learning in a global crisis, and provided a living map to the future that will inspire Macalester students for years to come while allowing President Suzanne Rivera to build on its vision.

“Every time I think about leaving this place I get more excited for the students who are going to come after me, who will get the opportunities to have some of the experiences I’ve had,” says DeLong. “It’s been such a privilege to be here, and I’m grateful for it every day.”

The Macalester Moment

A Campaign for Access and Excellence

The campaign raised more than $126 million in endowed funds, planned gifts to support future student and faculty needs, and Macalester Fund current-use support.

Campaign Foundation

  • Community-wide support from alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents, and others
  • Active and engaged campus volunteers helped raise visibility and dollars: The faculty and staff campaign committee helped increase the number of annual faculty and staff donors by 30 percent over the campaign’s course, while the efforts of student Class Agents increased student giving by 1,241 percent.
  • Expanded the college’s volunteer base to 1,300 volunteers
  • New Alumni Board working groups started moving the needle in athletics, diversity, and career connections.
  • Doubled planned gifts to the college, with great support from several 50th Reunion classes. Thanks, Golden Scots!

Take a stroll around Macalester to see the many ways your campaign support has shaped, reconfigured, and revitalized the student experience at our college.

View the graphic in PDF form by clicking the below map of Macalester or this link.

Graphic of a map

Keep scrolling to read the graphic in text form.

Campaign Pillars

Financial Aid

$40 million raised to preserve our commitment to meeting 100 percent of the demonstrated financial need for every admitted student.

  • New endowed scholarship for first-generation students
  • New endowed scholarship for international students
  • New endowed scholarship for faculty/student collaborative research
  • New endowed scholarship for students actively involved in the Department of Multicultural Life

Program Support

$20 million raised to build the new theater and dance building and provide endowed support for Career Exploration and Entrepreneurship and Innovation programs.

  • Expanded dance and theater studios, updated tech, bird-friendly windows, a flexible theater space, 11 flexible classrooms, and a skyway linking the arts to the sciences in Olin-Rice
    • Inside Scoop: Inaugural production Letters|Home, a devised dance-theater performance, celebrated the ways humans relate to “home.” Performances followed by community talk-backs with local leaders about Native lands, the Rondo neighborhood in St. Paul, gay bars, and homelessness
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation becomes a permanent, sustainable program, with plenty of room to grow.
    • Inside Scoop: Team Mac-Attack won the 2019 Macathon (a 24-hour startup and hackathon mash-up) with “Period,” a period subscription box that is customizable, organic, sustainable, and gender-neutral to reach a new demographic of people who menstruate. Team: Emelie Beattie ’21, Isabel Meyer-Mueller ’21, Georgia Kazemi ’21, Kate Bond ’21, Clare Stafford ’21.
  • Endowment of Entrepreneurship and Innovation director position
  • MacNest provides internships for students to work closely with founders of Twin Cities startups.
    • Inside Scoop: This summer, MacNester Precious Dlamini ’21 (Manzini, Kingdom of Eswatini) worked remotely for Bim Bam Boo, a company that makes tree-free bamboo TP.
  • Live It Fund provides funding to students who identify an opportunity or problem and propose an innovative solution.
    • Student Voices: “The [Live It Fund] has given me a new perspective on entrepreneurship in that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a business model. It can be more like sharing skills people to people.” –Malini Basu ’21 (Kolkata, India)”
  • New this summer, paid remote internships through Mac Project Corps match student teams with local companies and orgs that need new perspectives on a problem or idea.
  • Reimagined and expanded, the Career Exploration program meets the needs of today’s students with robust programming that starts during a student’s first year.
  • Endowment of Career Exploration dean position
  • Endowment of paid internships so students of all backgrounds can take part in these opportunities
    • Student Voices: “Every employee that I’ve met at the Minnesota Department of Health has offered to meet privately and discuss what they do as well as bring up collaboration opportunities for me. Interns are valued and quickly involved in work that matters.” –Jack Fong Gougoutas ’20 (San Francisco)

Faculty and Academic Support

$20 million raised to help attract and retain diverse and distinguished scholars, expand course offerings and student/faculty research opportunities, and support new endowed professorships.

  • 30+ new classes added to Macalester each year
  • Rachel Grasnek ’20 worked with biology faculty to research heavy metal pollution in plants and soil in South Africa.
  • Karinna Gerhardt ’20 worked with political science faculty to research alt-right extremism.
  • Abe Asher ’20 worked with religious studies faculty to research religious Zionism and religious violence in 21st-century Israel.
  • Liam McMahon ’20 worked with history faculty to research The Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The Macalester Fund

Supports every student, every faculty and staff member, every department at Macalester. Achieved a single-year record of $5 million and raised a total of $19.7 million during the campaign. Macalester Fund gifts go to work immediately to provide things like:

  • Flexibility to support remote student learning and programming for every department
  • Supplemental financial aid support for students whose needs have increased with the pandemic or who are facing unanticipated expenses
  • Funds that strengthen the student experience, from leadership programs to community-building initiatives

Big Questions

1) Some of the topics that Macalester students are digging into, in and out of the classroom; 2) a series of campaign events featuring conversations with faculty and staff at locations around the country, and in London. View previous Big Questions videos and register for upcoming virtual events.

  • “Can social media be used for good?”
  • “Have algorithms made the world better or worse?”
  • “Will the rivers run dry?”
  • “Can embracing the arts reconnect our common humanity?”
  • “How do we create a stage that helps audiences imagine a world guided by social equity?”
  • “How do race and class intersect with the #MeToo movement?”
  • “Does activism belong in athletics?”
  • “Does who we elect really matter?”
  • “How will we sustainably feed nine billion people in 2050?”
  • “What are the trickle-down effects of economic nationalism?”
  • “Is democracy worth saving?”
  • “Should the Supreme Court be the most important issue in any presidential election?”
  • “Do the humanities matter?”
  • “Is it possible to write a story without being political?”
  • “Why isn’t inclusion enough?”
  • “What does the rise of entrepreneurship and career development on campus say about the future of the liberal arts?”

By Julie Hessler ’85 / Illustrations by Tom Woolley

October 21 2020

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