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Macalester College
Macalester College seal
Motto Natura et Revelatio Coeli Gemini (Nature and Revelation are twin sisters of heaven)
Established 1874
Type Private liberal arts college
Endowment $546 million (6/30/2009)[1]
President Brian C. Rosenberg, Ph.D.
Faculty 216
Undergraduates 1,865
Location Saint Paul, MN, USA
Campus Urban (residential), 53 acres (214,000 m²)
Colors Blue and Orange
Nickname Mac
Mascot The Scots
Macalester wordmark.png

Coordinates: 44°56′21.07″N 93°10′4.70″W / 44.9391861°N 93.167972°W / 44.9391861; -93.167972

Macalester College is a private, coeducational liberal arts college located in Saint Paul, Minnesota. It was founded in 1874 as a Presbyterian-affiliated but nonsectarian college. Its first class entered September 15, 1885. The college is located on a 53 acre (21.4 ha) campus in a historic residential neighborhood and includes seven academic buildings, ten residences, a library, and a technology center. Notable alumni include Kofi Annan, Walter Mondale, DeWitt Wallace, Alexander Wendt, Ari Emanuel, Peter Berg, Tim O'Brien, Bob Mould and Charles Baxter. Macalester enrolls approximately 1,850 undergraduate students. The school is known for its large international enrollment and has one of the highest percentages of foreign students in the United States.[2]



Weyerhauser Memorial Chapel

Macalester had its beginnings in the mid-to-late 1800s due to the efforts of the Rev. Dr. Edward Duffield Neill, who had founded two schools in Saint Paul and nearby Minneapolis which were named after M.W. Baldwin, a locomotive builder and friend of Neill's. With the intention of turning his Saint Paul Baldwin School into a college, Neill turned to Charles Macalester, a businessman from Philadelphia, for sponsorship. Macalester donated a building near Saint Anthony Falls, and the college was chartered in 1874. The college moved to its present location in 1885 after building an endowment and seeking the help of the Presbyterian Church. The College first admitted women in 1893,[3] and despite being affiliated with a religious institution, remained open to students of other faiths.[4]

Macalester was largely carried through financial hardship and brought to prominence by Dr. James Wallace, father of DeWitt Wallace. Wallace was acting president of the college from 1894 to 1900, president from 1900 to 1906, and professor until just before his death in 1939. After World War II, the college developed a reputation for internationalism under the presidency of Charles Turck (later the namesake of Turck Hall), who recruited overseas and created a more diverse student body.[3] Macalester's positive reputation grew during the 1960s, when it consistently drew many National Merit Scholars, enough to come in at the country's top ten; during this time the college also benefitted heavily from DeWitt Wallace's success with Reader's Digest.[5] Macalester continued to develop into the '90s, building its endowment and adding new facilities and equipment.

Modern Macalester College logo, used on many college documents.

Macalester's reputation has grown within the last 20 years with the addition of newer facilities, such as the DeWitt Wallace Library, among the largest among liberal arts colleges in the United States.[3] The college has also extensively developed its ties to the Twin Cities, with an extensive focus on community service and involvement.[6] Recent years have brought much new development as well as controversy. Many buildings have been extensively renovated and a new athletic facility (The Leonard Center) opened in the fall of 2008. In addition, Macalester has recently created the Institute for Global Citizenship.[7] The Institute and other administrative decisions, however, such as the college's highly charged decision to cease need-blind admissions, have led to some level of student protest and anger on campus.[8]


Macalester's stated mission is to be a preeminent liberal arts college with high standards for scholarship, and with special emphasis on internationalism, multiculturalism, and service to society.[9]

Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center

In the past 10 years, Macalester students have earned honors including Rhodes Scholarships, British Marshall Scholarships, Fulbright Scholarships, Foreign Government Grants, National Science Foundation Fellowships, Truman Scholarships, Watson Fellowships, Mellon Fellowships and Goldwater Scholarships.[citation needed]

Currently Macalester's admittance rate is 39%.[1] It is considered "Most Selective" by the U.S. News & World Report Rankings. For the class of 2012, 5,040 applications resulted in one of the lowest acceptance rates ever for the college.[2]

Macalester is the primary financial contributor and sponsor of the Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth, which was founded in 1967 and has its main facilities in the Lampert Building (which is across from Macalester's North Quad on Snelling Avenue). MITY provides three different gifted education programs during the summer months.[10] Macalester also participates in Project Pericles.

As a member of the Cooperating Libraries in Consortium (CLIC), the Macalester library provides students with academic resources outside of the College's library. Through the consortium, students have access to books, articles, and other media available from liberal arts colleges in the Twin Cities. Students also have access to the University of Minnesota libraries, and can obtain copies of papers and articles therefrom on campus.

Student life

International students represent 90 different countries and comprise 14% of the student body. In 2005, 4% of students were dual citizens or permanent residents of foreign countries. U.S. students, 20% of whom are of color, come from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.[11]

The main campus newspaper is the student-run The Mac Weekly, which has a circulation of up to 1,600 and was established in 1914. Almost all the newspaper staff works on a volunteer basis. The paper publishes 12 or 13 volumes, ranging from 16 to 24 pages, each semester. A satirical section, The Mock Weekly, is added to the last issue of each semester. The paper has published a magazine three times, in April 2006 and March and November 2007.

There are over 100 student clubs and organizations on campus, including the college radio station WMCN, the Macalester Peace and Justice Committee, the Experimental College, Student Labor Action Coalition, African Music Ensemble, Macalester Gaming Society, Macalester Mock Trial, Mac Dems, Mac GOP, Mac Greens, Bad Comedy, Fresh Concepts, The Trads and other a cappella groups, Cheeba, MacBrews, MacBike, the Macalester Outing Club, the Macalester Climbing Club, Macalester Conservation and Renewable Energy Society (MacCARES), Macalester International Organization (MIO), MacPlayers, NARAL Pro-Choice Macalester, Queer Union, Macalester for Justice in Palestine, Macalester Young Artists for Revolutionary Needlework (MacYARN) and Mac Rugby.


Macalester College is a member of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC). The college's team nickname is the Scots. The football team, after many years of poor performance in the MIAC, has competed independently since 2002.[citation needed] The college actually dissolved the football program in 1906, pronouncing, according to the Mac Weekly: "Thoroughly aroused to the evils, real or imaginary, of this game, the public is clamoring for the entire abolition or reform on this 'relic of barbarism.'" After reinstated the Macalester football team found itself in a record 50-game NCAA losing streak that lasted six years during the mid-1970s, attracting national media attention.[citation needed] The losing streak ended on September 5, 1980, with a 17-14 win over Mt. Senario College.[12]

Soccer has always been a popular sport. Both men and women's teams remain competitive, appearing in multiple NCAA playoffs since 1995. The women's team won the NCAA championship in 1998.[citation needed]

The Cross Country Ski Team became a club team in 2004, when skiing was eliminated as an MIAC sanctioned sport. It was the first team to be dismantled since hockey was cut (and turned club) in the 1970s. A women's hockey team formed in 2000 and continues to play at the club level.

Macalester Athletics compete in a new athletic facility, the Leonard Center, which opened in August 2008. The $45 million dollar facility is the largest NCAA Division III athletic facility in the country. The Leonard Center also includes a health and wellness center for the college community. Materials from the former facility were disposed of in environmentally friendly ways, and some materials were incorporated into the new structure.


Old Main, Macalester College
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Old Main
Location: 1600 Grand Ave.
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Architect: William H. Willcox
Architectural style(s): Romanesque
Added to NRHP: August 16, 1977
NRHP Reference#: 77000765


As at many small liberal arts colleges, students at Macalester are required to live on campus for their first two years.

Residence Halls

  • Dupre Hall, which houses first-year students and sophomores, is rumored to be able to withstand a hurricane. The building plans were supposedly bought for a discounted price from a Macalester graduate because they were originally designed for a coastal climate. Dupre is located on the corner of Summit and Snelling Avenues, and was built in 1962. Renovated in 1994, Dupre houses about 260 first-years and sophomores and is Macalester's largest residence hall.
  • Turck Hall was built in 1957 and most recently remodeled in 2004. It houses nearly 180 first-year students.
  • Doty Hall was built in 1964 and is one of two residence halls on campus to feature single-sex floors. Doty also houses only first-year students.
  • Bigelow Hall is on the corner of Grand Avenue and Macalester Street. Built in 1947 and most recently remodeled in 1992, it is connected via tunnels to Wallace, Doty and 30 Macalester Street and features single-sex and co-ed floor arrangements. It is also connected to Turck via a skyway, and houses sophomores.
  • George Draper Dayton Hall (GDD) houses sophomores, juniors and seniors, typically in suites of four to six occupants.
  • 30 Macalester Street is one of the newest residence halls on campus, and is more handicap accessible than other residence halls and houses small amount of students.
  • Wallace Hall is the oldest residence hall on campus, built in 1907 and renovated in 2002. It houses mostly sophomores.
Kirk Hall at Macalester, an upperclass residence hall. This building is also home to the Hebrew House.
  • Kirk Hall houses upperclassmen and is located between the Campus Center and the Leonard Athletic Center.
  • With the opening of the Institute for Global Citizenship, Summit House, which previously housed the International Center, has been converted into a residence hall housing 16 students.
  • There are three cottages on campus.

Specialty housing

  • Veggie Co-op
  • Cultural House
  • Hebrew House (part of Kirk Hall)
  • All-gender housing (part of Kirk Hall)
  • Eco-House
  • Language Houses, where students are expected to speak the language of their particular house as much as possible. Currently there are six Language Houses, focusing on German, Japanese, French, Spanish, Russian, and Mandarin.

All-gender housing

Recently, Macalester has made news by offering limited gender open housing options for juniors and seniors. George Draper Dayton Hall, the Grand-Cambridge Apartments, Kirk Hall, and the six cottages are all gender open. Gender-open housing options still do not provide the opportunity for students of opposite sexes to share a room without a door between. Hence, gender-open housing is only available in suites and cottage type living situations and has not been integrated into the main residence hall buildings. However, this does mean that students of different biological sex still cannot share a room together, without a locking door between them. There is no current concrete administrative plan in place for moving to a gender-open by room living situation. Student-led groups are working to increase these options and make gender-open bathrooms available, particularly for incoming first-year students. As of 2007 no first-year residence halls offer any gender-neutral bathroom options.

Food services

Food services on campus are provided by Bon Appétit, a national company. The cafeteria, located in the Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center, is named "Café Mac." There are three meal plans for students who live on campus (except those in theme houses or co-ops). The standard option (and the mandatory one for new students) is 19 all-you-can-eat meals per week. For the same price, 10 or 14 meal plans are available that offer additional flexible "dining dollars" for a la cart meals. Cafe Mac offers vegan options at all stations. For those students who live off-campus, there is a 75 meals per semester plan available for Café Mac.


Macalester is a signatory to the Talloires Declaration and the American College and University President's Climate Commitment, the latter obligating the college to work toward carbon neutrality.[13] In April 2003, Macalester was able to install a 10kw Urban Wind Turbine on-campus thanks to that year's senior class gift donating the installation cost and Xcel Energy donating the tower and turbine.[14] The student organization MacCARES is currently developing a proposal for Macalester to invest in a Utility-Scale Wind Turbine in the range of 2MW.[14] Other projects include the Eco-House, a student residence with a range of green features and research opportunities; a rain garden which prevents storm water from running-off into ground water, a bike share program, and a veggie co-op.[13] Recently, the Class of 2008 designated its senior class gift to a Sustainability Fund to support initiatives to improve environemntal sustainability on campus and in the greater community.[13]

In the 2009 College Sustainability Report Card published by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, Macalester earned an overall grade of "B+".[15] Only 15 schools earned a higher grade.[16] In the 2010 College Sustainability Report Card, published by the same group, the school received an overall grade of "A-", the top grade received by any institution across the nation.[17] In addition, the college declared a goal in September 2009 to become carbon neutral by 2025 and Zero-Waste by 2020.[18]

Also in 2009, the school opened Markim Hall, a LEED Platinum building that houses the school's Institute for Global Citizenship.[19] The building uses 45% less water and 75% less energy than a typical building in Minnesota. Macalester is currently planning on remodeling its Music, Theater, and Art buildings and is designing them to Minnesota B3 Guidelines.

Awards and recognition

  • Ranked 16th (as of 2005) in the nation by Washington Monthly College Guide, based on criteria that "should be engines of social mobility, they should produce the academic minds and scientific research that advance knowledge and drive economic growth, and they should inculcate and encourage an ethic of service."[20]
  • Named "America's Hottest Liberal Arts College" by the 2006 Kaplan/Newsweek "How to Get into College" Guide. According to the magazine, America's Hottest Colleges "have one attribute in common: they're creating buzz among students, school officials and longtime observers of the admissions process...each reflects a place that is preparing students well for a complex world."[21]
  • At a fall 2005 school assembly, Macalester President Brian C. Rosenberg summarized these rankings and honors by saying Macalester students are "cheap smart hotties with a conscience." The phrase now appears on t-shirts worn by a number of students.
  • In 2007, Princeton Review rated the college "#1 best quality of life" and "#1 gay community accepted."[22]
  • Macalester won the National Cross Examination Debate Association Debate Tournament in 1986 and 1987.
  • Macalester College ranked 25 for Liberal Arts Colleges in U.S. News and World Report College Rankings 2009.[23]
  • Macalester was named a top 100 college for LGBT students by the Advocate in 2006

Notable alumni and faculty

Weyerhauser Hall (college offices)

Some of the notable alumni and faculty of Macalester college include architect Cass Gilbert, political figures Kofi Annan and Walter Mondale, businessman and philanthropist DeWitt Wallace, writers Tim O'Brien, Walter Kirn (transferred to Princeton University after his first year) and Wang Ping, musicians Bob Mould and Will Sheff, Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut president and 2010 candidate for Connecticut governor Juan A. Figueroa, sculptor Anthony Caponi, talent agent Ari Emanuel, and actors Peter Berg and Carl Lumbly. Among the past and present faculty have been people such as Hubert Humphrey, Jack Weatherford, and George Latimer.


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved March 15, 2010. 
  2. ^ Shelman, Jeff (March 6, 2008), "Macalester seeks to attract more foreign students", Star Tribune
  3. ^ a b c About Macalester: Macalester's History
  4. ^ Macalester College Catalog: College Seal
  5. ^ Time Magazine: Meritorious Macalester
  6. ^ U of Minnesota PFF Mentoring
  7. ^ Institute for Global Citizenship
  8. ^ The Mac Weekly: Do We Really Want to Abandon Need-Blind Admissions?
  9. ^ Macalester College Mission Statement
  10. ^ About MITY
  11. ^ Students Macalester College
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b c "Macalester Sustainability Tour". Macalester College. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  14. ^ a b "MACcares Wind Turbine Projects". Macalester College. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Washington Monthly Rankings
  21. ^ Kaplan and Newsweek: How to Get into College
  22. ^ Princeton Review: Macalester College: Rankings
  23. ^

External links


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