When Macalester selected twenty-three Strategic Planning Champions last fall to help lead the Imagine, Macalester planning process, the goal was to build an inclusive process that brought in as many perspectives from members of our community as possible. In every town hall, listening session, and one-on-one conversation, Champions brought the energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to engage the college’s constituencies. But there’s one thing they couldn’t bring to their work: their own agenda.

“That’s a charge we were given from day one,” says Strategic Planning Champions chair Niloy Ray ’99, who also serves on the college’s Alumni Board. “We weren’t selected to make choices on the basis of what we alone want. Instead, we really had to stand for the voices that weren’t in the room. That’s been the greatest appreciation that I have for my fellow Champions. Every time they channeled those voices, I was thankful, and proud of the process.”

Since October, the Champions have helped lead more than thirty listening sessions, attended events, held small-group and one-on-one conversations, and reviewed survey responses and emails that have generated more than 2,500 pieces of raw data shared by Mac community members, local and global. The Champions reviewed, summarized, and discussed all of the input, then met with the college’s senior leadership for a two-day retreat this spring to develop the key themes.

Through all of the conversations he’s had this year, Ray has a renewed appreciation for the Mac community of lifelong learners. “I’ve gotten a really strong sense of just how vibrant, engaged, smart, opinionated, and caring Mac people are,” Ray says. “For me, the vision of what Macalester is and why people come here has just been reinforced.”

Strategic Planning Champions


Barbara Phillips ’71
Charnelle Etti ’15
Daymond Dean ’91
Erin Miller ’05
Niloy Ray ’99
Suveer Daswani ’18


Dennis Cao
Duchess Harris
Ernesto Capello
Sonia Mehta


Meredith Harper
Bonham P’24
Rohan Preston P’25


Gabriella Gillespie ’17
Jennifer Jacobsen
Margaret Smith
Tamatha Perlman


Anna Sène ’24
Bobbie Pennington ’24
Carter Rutherford ’23
Gia Montgomery ’24
Rebecca Gentry ’23
Rola Cao ’25
Sami Banat ’24

July 18 2022

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