We hope you have penciled in June 5-7 on your 2020 calendar. The Planning Committee has a great weekend planned. Our theme for the weekend, “HOLY COW! 20/20 Vision”, was selected to help us think into how we got to where we are and what we see and hope for our future. To connect in the meantime, we hope you will let us know what you have been up to these last 50 years! The questions below should get you started thinking as you put together something for your classmates. So have at it!
1. What do you want people to know about you?
2. How did Macalester shape your life?
3. What was the most fun you had at Mac?
4. What is something about you that would surprise your Mac Classmates?
Submissions received will be posted online only and updated on a weekly basis. Individual responses will be listed below. Please be sure to edit and review your text before completing the form. If you would like to submit a current photo to be included with your submission, please email the file to email@example.com. Please send the file in JPEG, TIFF or PNG format.
Looking forward to your memories and updates!
Read classmates reflections and memories
When we hit 70 Jim and I decided we should get a bit more ‘plan-full’ about the next decade or two. After retirement we ditched the Saint Paul townhouse for my family property on Ten Mile Lake in northern MN. Jim is a recovering architect and redesigned the cabin to be our year-round home. We called those 9+ years our “lake chapter” … and loved every season! However, the drives to movies, groceries, doctors, concerts all gave us pause. Maybe we needed a place where we could walk to any of these destinations. Jim spent much of his life in CO and the Four Corners….so Santa Fe seemed to fit the bill. Our “Southwest Chapter” is a perfect fit. Smaller town, arts, music, great food, DIVERSITY, day trips, hot springs, and so many interesting people. Our WATER work in northern MN is still part of our daily work long- distance. And, there is plenty of WATER work here…we are just taking our time getting engaged since it can take over one’s life! We’ve got grandkids from 1 year to 23 years….spread from Boston to AZ and CO. Like all grandparents, we are smitten! Our kids seem to be doing well with busy lives/jobs/parenting. Very much looking forward to hearing how friends are doing….and connecting with folks I didn’t know at Mac. :0)
I had so much fun as a resident at Kirk Hall- even though the bootleg “still” in the attic was removed before we arrived! I thrived as a modest member of the football team while striving to find my way in classes and having fun with my buddies from other states and around the world. Our collective contribution to the first Earth Day event on campus still inspires me today as we celebrate modest progress and seek more environmental improvements 50 years later. Macalester gave me a complex dynamic world view compared to my previous innocent limited view of how the world works. Although now retired from an academic medical career in family medicine I am still learning from others with different views. Macalester gave me my first chance at such learning.
Graduating from Macalester was like being put before a great door that opened up so many opportunities for me throughout the years since. The professors I had who brought with them to Mac real life career experiences outside academia had lifelong influences on me. Though career choices at the time of graduation were limited due to my low draft number, I was fortunate to have made some good choices that kept that great door open to me. After a brief attempt at professional football I succumbed to my draft board and entered the USAF. With my college degree the recruiter told me the Air Force would only take me as officer if I volunteered to fly. That profession was never in the cards for me but it sounded better than the Army’s offer. I committed to a 6 year career, that ended 21 years later.
The teamwork I learned from my great coaches along with my athletic experience at Mac contributed immeasurably to my success as an Air Force officer and fighter pilot. I had some of the best assignments the Air Force had to offer. I flew the best fighter aircraft in the world, traveled the planet meeting some great leaders, and was involved in a small way in making US foreign policy decisions. I got to fly with the German Luftwaffe, and see Europe and the world politik through the eyes of my European friends and colleagues. While stationed in Alaska I had my own airplane and flew the Alaskan bush which afforded me the opportunity meet and establish relationships with the Inuit natives. I have been stationed in many wonderful foreign countries where I established many lifelong friends. I give almost total credit to the SWAP program and the perspective I gained through it to have been able to take advantage of and appreciate those opportunities from Vietnam to Desert Storm. I retired from a second flying career with American Airlines and got to experience the tragedy of 9/11 closer than I wanted to.
Since retiring 14 years ago I have divided my time between living summers in northern Minnesota and winters in Florida. I was able to pursue my love of sailing and writing. I have sailed the Caribbean, written and published two books; the first: “Hello America: A International Debate On The Events Leading To The War In Iraq” on the emotions leading up to the second Gulf War in collaboration with several European colleagues, and the second: “Footprints: A Practical Approach To Active Environmentalism” addressing the concerns of climate change and the environment. As a result of this book I will be teaching a course as an adjunct instructor on Climate Change/Environmentalism at Gulf Coast State College in the fall. I have enjoyed a positive relationship with Macalester since I retired having participated in the mentor program with the football team and as a founding member of the MacMods, the Macalester Alumni of Moderation whose goal, among others, is to bring diversity of viewpoint to the Macalester curriculum and community. The activism I learned as a 60s student at Macalester has served me well in this regard. With my supportive wife through all this, we have raised 5 very successful children and take great pride in our 5 grandchildren.
Macalester was the perfect school for a small-town Minnesota boy wanting to no longer be a small-town Minnesota boy. It combined the advantages of living in a major metropolitan area with small class-size and the opportunity to get to know the faculty on a personal basis. Major influences on me were Walt Mink in the Psych Department and Eddie Hill in Biology. Walt instilled in me a passion for neuroscience, which led me to my current career as a neuropathologist. I studied in the MD/PhD program at Washington University in St. Louis and did my residency and fellowship training there as well. I spent about 10 years on the faculty of Washington U and Southern Illinois University Medical School before moving back home to Minnesota thirty years ago, where I have been on the faculty of the U of M Medical School Twin Cities Campus. I have been involved in diagnostic neuropathology, research, student and resident teaching, and occasionally make forays over to Macalester to teach a lab in one of the Neuroscience courses with Liz Jansen.
One of the social benefits of going to Mac was being in the Twin Cities and taking part in the folk and blues music scene around town, including No Exit Coffeehouse in the old student union, but also the West Bank and other local college venues. I moved off campus after my freshman year, so I probably had fewer social contacts among the student body, but friends that I made in that first year and later still are among my most cherished.
Retirement hovers on the horizon, likely occurring this autumn, but I plan to stay on part-time as an Emeritus Professor. Over the past 15 years I have been performing music in the local coffeehouse scene both with my wife, Betsy, and more recently with a good friend, keyboardist Randy Amborn, under the billing of “Old Guys Play the Blues”. Last May we played at a blues festival in Brownsville, Tennessee and are going back again this year. One of the people playing at the festival last year was Howie Stith (Poor Howard), who went to Mac before going into the service, and was back from Germany and living in the Macalester area during our senior year. His picture is in the 1970 yearbook (mine isn’t, so go figure). I had not seen Howie in 49 years, so we had a lot of fun recalling the old days. I am hoping that retirement will give me more time to work on my guitar playing and perhaps do more performing.
Here comes the commercial message:
I have been a fairly steady financial contributor to Macalester over the years. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Mac on scholarship and I would like to pay it forward to current and future Macalester students. I recently have established a Wallace Society endowment fund in my estate plan to provide scholarship support to students studying neuroscience at Mac.
Retirement life is a blast – full of family, travel and friends!! It’s always great fun seeing Mac classmates. I’m looking forward to our 50th Reunion weekend in June!
Macalester has been a central part of my life ever since I left the east coast to attend Mac, sight unseen in 1966. I had never been west of West Virginia or south of North Carolina, let alone overseas, when I graduated from high school. Traveling around the country to visit colleges was a huge expense back then and I relied on an older friend who was at Macalester and a great presentation from an admissions officer.
Little did I know I would later marry a future admissions officer, Alison Seale, who I came to know in the early 70s as the Alumni Admissions rep in the Washington, D.C. area! We have been together since marrying at the old Alumni House on the Mac campus in 1974 and have two great kids and three young grandchildren, who are at opposite ends of the country—Bozeman and Boston!
I was the first student manager of the new Mac Alumni House during my junior and senior years, and traveled to speak to Alumni groups around the country. I also helped organize the groups of students and faculty who went into the local community after Kent State and we had shut down the campus. In later years, I volunteered for various Alumni duties, was on the Alumni Board, served as President of the Alumni Association, was on the Board of Trustees for 18 years and am now Chair of the Trustees Emerita/Emeritus group.
I do joke that I am like a bad penny….I keep coming back!
I was always interested in government and politics and after going to graduate school at the University of Southern California in International Relations, I returned to Washington, D.C. I worked for Senator Frank Church on the Intelligence Committee that he chaired in the mid-1970s, investigating assassination plots against foreign leaders, illegal surveillance of Americans involved in anti-war protests and civil rights, and CIA/NSA actions. I later worked in his office, on his campaign for President and managed his campaign for reelection. After Democrats got wiped out in 1980 I headed up a group called Democrats for the 80s, founded by Pamela and Averell Harriman (I now refer to it as Dems in THEIR 80s)!
After that I started a non-profit that still exists, the Center for Responsive Politics/Open Secrets, and also put together a political consulting business to do media work and strategy for Democratic candidates and progressive groups. The Center’s success was due to a wonderful succession of Executive Directors and Board members who took the idea and ran with it—-making me more convinced than ever that campaign finance reform is critical to a functioning democracy, if we can ever make it happen.
Over more than 30 years the consulting firm, with a group of great partners and associates, has worked in over 300 campaigns, from President to Mayor. I had the chance to be a spokesperson on news channels before it seemed to degenerate into Gladiator TV. But it has been a great run and though I, like many, need daily therapy to deal with the decay of democracy I remain an optimist and do believe, as John Kennedy used to say, “politics is a noble profession.”
I enjoy sitting on a number of non-profit humanitarian boards, keep working at a slower pace and try to travel as much as possible to visit the kids and enjoy the world. There is plenty to do and more causes to battle, more to learn and more friends to make. And I thank Macalester for the path it put me on so many years ago.
I remember feeling so lucky to finally get into a dorm our freshman year. Due to the housing shortage I was on a waiting list for a few weeks. Finally I got word that I would move into Turck Hall. While it was great news for me, it might have been received differently by the junior who was stuck with me after her roommate decided not to return to school. I loved the two years I spent at Turck. Having a curfew didn’t seem so awful because we entertained each other after hours. There were pranks to be pulled and hours of bridge to play. (When we pushed the boundaries, we only got a mild talking to from our “house mother”.) It was a chance to get to know older and wiser upper classwomen while also having loads of fun with classmates.
I suppose all colleges and universities change us, but Macalester REALLY changed me. Part of it was the times; Vietnam looming; profound social change swirling around us; extraordinary courses, guest speakers that provoked, teach-ins, all night conversations about what the hell we were going to do with our lives. After our sophomore year I travelled to India for six and a half months, organized by Bruce McEwen at the International House. Nothing was ever the same!
When I came back I was adopted by David McCurdy in the anthropology department and never looked back. I’d begun taking photography seriously and still try to bring ethnography and photography together in books and films.
In the spring of ’70 as you remember there was the first draft lottery. We were all freaking out. I got lucky and tasted freedom. No joy, but relief. I moved to Boston when we graduated (or, I should say, “left” Macalester, because after the Kent State killings the campus shut down and it took months to complete the final course requirements). I wanted to start from scratch in a place I’d never been. Two boxes of books, the Nikon I’d bought in India and $127.
Eventually became a graduate student in the sociology program at Brandeis and was blessed with incredible professors who nurtured my strange sociology. I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation on railroad tramps, an ethnography by immersion. It eventually became a book, Good Company. I’m very sad that the man who inspired this study, Prof. Jim Spradley (the second anthropology prof at Macalester) died of cancer just as the book was being published. Jim had steered me through this experience, both the fieldwork and the writing, and he gave me heart when things looked bleak.
I taught sociology at SUNY Potsdam for 16 years; began a family there. We lived in a 19th c farmhouse, back to the land hippies. In many ways it was a great life. In that era I also began teaching part time in Amsterdam and Bologna, and eventually left the North Country to teach at USF in Tampa (ugh!!!) and for 20 great years at Duquesne U in Pittsburgh, where my son Colter became a fine jazz musician.
I’ve written several books that integrate photography and narrative/ethnographic writing. My favorite is Working Knowledge, about Willie, a mechanic in northern New York. Yes, I shared the royalties. I also wrote about dairy farmers, the sociology of food in Bologna, fascist semiotics in Rome, Hong Kong lifestyle migrants and several text-booky projects. I also made two documentary films, both co-directed, and several books are co-authored. With a smalI number of friends I helped establish what is now known as “visual sociology.” I have several projects underway and hope to continue writing and photographing until I can’t anymore. There is a list on a WIKI page if anyone is interested.
I have always loved teaching and consider it a great privilege. I retired from Duquesne four years ago but have taught part time at St. Thomas since returning to Minnesota (and the house I grew up in) in April, 2017, 47 years after heading east in my battered Corvair for Boston.
Macalester was tough for me in the beginning. I was a middling student. Like so many of us I admired Chuck Green in Political Science (and others in that great department) but it was clear I didn’t really fit in. I’d begun to take art classes and used to kid that I was going to illustrate law books. Had David White (a great philosophy prof) and Chuck Green not sent my India papers to McCurdy I’d never have found my way. It’s amazing, looking back. They were looking out for me.
I’ve tried to teach as these great profs taught me; direct, sympathetic, positive. I believe in sociology almost as a religion. The mundane repairs of a bricoleur mechanic, the culture inside a boxcar, the power dynamics around food in an Italian family, international migration as a lifestyle, and in the symbols of fascist power still adorning the Roman cityscapes. Sociology is everywhere and helps me find my way through the dizzying and dismaying times we live in now. Thank you Macalester, for all the things you are.
Having lived in the Twin Cities for the whole 50 years, I’m grateful for the lifelong Mac friends and the memories they’ve helped create. It’s been fun to be near the campus for arts and other special events. Still, Mac helped inspire the longing to travel and the grit to make it happen. A worldly school is inspiring in many ways.
Macalester, and Yahya Armajani, got me started on an extensive life abroad, leading to nearly two decades in the Middle East. I spent 9 months in Lebanon, two years in Egypt, 13 years in Kuwait and 9 months, 8 days, and 3 hours in Saudi Arabia (not my favorite experience).
Macalester gave me the ability to learn in almost any environment and a lively inquisitive intellect.
When I moved back to the US I found it difficult getting a job since all of my work experience was overseas and potential US employers couldn’t be bothered contacting previous foreign employers. I did find part time work in sleazy motels (to start), took a midcareer position in the US foreign service, and ended up living in metro DC where I have been for the past 30 years.
I was an Alumni Board member for about two years in the 1990s.
I have been returned for almost 6 years and have enjoyed it very much. I have more time to travel and do what I want to do. I tell working people the major rewards of retirement are no alarm clock and no driving in rush hour traffic.
Macalester is a big contributing factor in my success in life which lead to my being able to retire. Maybe it gave me the open mind that lead me to listen when people said “Social Security is not enough. You must invest some of your own money. ” Of course, the tax advantage of 401ks, 403bs, and IRAs help a lot.
I am deeply indebted to Macalester which launched me on a fascinating and successful vocation and avocation of internationalism. My life has been intertwined with Mac throughout.
As a student I participated in the SWAP (Student Work Abroad Program) in Utrecht, The Netherlands with the added opportunity to explore much of Western Europe by car and motorcycle with two classmates and life-long friends, Lee Pierce and Eric Wheeler. As an undergraduate I become an intern with the World Press Institute (WPI), then based at Mac.
These extraordinary experiences led to a career in non-profit, for-profit and government international exchange. I went on to positions as program director and executive director of the WPI and executive director of The Travelers Society and the Japan America Society of Minnesota. I also founded and was president of Global Access International Associates (GAIA) consulting with domestic and foreign non- and for-profit entities. I culminated my career as international marketing manager for Asia and Europe with Explore Minnesota, the state’s tourism agency.
As important, was meeting my wife Pat Armstrong (Class of 1971), a parent support professional, and starting a wonderful family with two successful children; Andrew, an award winning film-maker and cinema entrepreneur, and Nina, a child development specialist, parent coach and business woman.
Macalester instilled in me an insatiable quest to actively learn about other cultures through experiential travel. As a result I have worked in, traveled to and explored nearly 80 countries by plane, train and automobile – as well as glider plane, motorcycle, and on skis, Segways and foot. I continue to investigate my own country through travel camping by RV and motorcycle. In retirement I have been a volunteer travel staff member of WPI, annually leading the 10 journalist Fellows on political, economic and cultural introductions to Washington DC, New York, Miami, Atlanta, San Francisco, Seattle and Austin, TX.
I have innumerable friendships from my Mac days that are as strong today as they were in May of 1970.