Coordinates: Macalester College (//) is a private, coeducational liberal arts college located in Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States. Founded in 1874, Macalester is exclusively an undergraduate four-year institution and enrolled 2,146 students in the fall of 2017 from 50 U.S. states and 93 countries. It is currently a Forbes Top 100 College, and a Forbes Top 50 School for International Students. In 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked Macalester as 26th best liberal arts college in the United States, 16th for undergraduate teaching at a national liberal arts college, and 21st for best value at a national liberal arts college.
Macalester College was founded in 1874 by Rev. Dr. Edward Duffield Neill, who served as a chaplain in the Civil War and held positions in three U.S. presidential administrations. After journeying to the Minnesota Territory in 1849 to do missionary work, he founded two churches and served as the state’s first superintendent of public education and first chancellor of the University of Minnesota. He planned a college that would be Presbyterian-affiliated but nonsectarian, making it inclusive by the standards of his day.
Charles Macalester, a prominent businessman and philanthropist from Philadelphia, made the establishing gift by donating the Winslow House, a noted summer hotel in Minneapolis. With additional funding from the Presbyterian Church and from the new College’s trustees, Macalester opened in 1885 with five professors, six freshmen, and 52 preparatory students.
In 1887, a classical scholar named James Wallace joined the faculty and quickly established himself as a fine and demanding teacher. He earned a national reputation for scholarship when he published two Greek textbooks that were widely used across the country. In spite of academic success, James Wallace’s early years at Macalester were financially difficult. Gradually, his efforts built up a group of donors whose support, together with tuition from a growing student body, put the college on steady footing. By the time he rejoined the faculty in 1906, Wallace had enabled the college to pay off its debt, maintain a balanced budget, and begin to establish an endowment to offer some protection against hard times. In the 1940s and 1950s President Charles J. Turck gave new emphasis to the College’s internationalism by recruiting foreign students, creating overseas study opportunities, and hiring faculty from diverse backgrounds. The College engaged in a period of advancement throughout the 1960s, made possible by DeWitt and Lila Wallace, founders of Reader’s Digest and benefactors of Macalester. Under the leadership of President Harvey M. Rice, the College strengthened the academic credentials of its faculty, enhanced academic programming, attracting more students to the small liberal arts college. A major building campaign resulted in a fine arts center and new science facilities.
During this time, Macalester committed itself to a liberal arts curriculum.
The 1990s were another period of advancement for Macalester. In 1991, the College’s endowment became significantly larger than it had been. The College increased the number of faculty positions, adding more broadly diverse perspectives to the educational program. The improved student-faculty ratio also made possible more flexible and personalized teaching approaches, including significant enhancement of faculty-student collaborative research and writing.
Through a comprehensive campus improvement program, academic and residential buildings on campus was renovated, as were the athletic facilities. Renovation of the science facilities, which merged two buildings into the Olin-Rice Science Center, was completed in 1997. George Draper Dayton residence hall opened in 1998, the Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center in 2001, and the renovated Kagin Commons student services building in 2002. A comprehensive fund-raising campaign completed in 2000 raised $55.3 million to help support some of those building projects as well as scholarship funds, student-faculty research stipends, academic programs, and annual operations.
Macalester’s Institute for Global Citizenship, created in 2005, serves as a catalyst for strengthening programs by which students connect academic study with off-campus applications through internships and service-learning opportunities both in the United States and abroad.
In fall 2008 Macalester publicly launched a $150 million campaign, raising funds for scholarships, faculty support, program enhancement, operating support, and new facilities. In 2009, construction was completed on Markim Hall, a new home for the Institute for Global Citizenship. Plans called for the building to qualify for Platinum certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system, a building rating system devised by the U.S. Green Building Council that evaluates the sustainability and environmental impact of structures across the nation. In fall 2012, Macalester opened its renovated and expanded Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center.
|Liberal arts colleges|
|U.S. News & World Report||23|
In its 2016 edition, U.S. News & World Report ranked Macalester as tied for the 23rd best liberal arts college in the United States, and the same report ranked Macalester tied for 6th for undergraduate teaching and 19th for best value at a national liberal arts college.
In 2016, Forbes rated it 68th out of 660 colleges, universities and service academies in the U.S.
In 2016, Washington Monthly ranked Macalester 59th best liberal arts college.
The Wall Street Journal ranked Macalester as the 38th best "feeder school" out of all national colleges and universities based on the number of students the school sends to the 15 most prestigious grad programs.
In 2006, The New York Times included Macalester in its profile of 20 colleges and universities "established or rising scholarship" which are fast becoming viable alternatives to Ivy League institutions.
In 2013, Princeton Review ranked Macalester #3 best athletic facilities, #8 easiest campus to get around, #16 most politically active students, and #17 most LGBT friendly
In 2013, Lumosity ranked Macalester as the 18th smartest college in the country.
In 2011, Princeton Review ranked Macalester third best quality of life and 7th most LGBT friendly.
In 2010, The Huffington Post ranked Macalester one of the 10 most intellectual colleges.
In 2007, Princeton Review ranked Macalester "#1 best quality of life".
Macalester won the National Cross Examination Debate Association Debate Tournament in 1986 and 1987.
For the Class of 2021, Macalester received 5,901 applications and accepted 39% of applicants. Macalester is considered "Most Selective" by the U.S. News & World Report Rankings. Of those admitted, the median SAT scores are 700 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and 700 for Math; the median ACT score is 32, making Macalester College students highly competitive in terms of test scores. Over three-quarters of admitted students are in the top 10% of their high school class.
Macalester has 184 full-time faculty, 93% of whom have a doctorate or the highest degree in their field. Twenty-seven percent of faculty are international or U.S. citizens of color. Macalester has a student-faculty ratio of 10:1 and an average class size of 17.
Macalester's stated mission is to be a preeminent liberal arts college with high standards for scholarship with an emphasis on internationalism, multiculturalism, and service to society. Macalester offers over 800 courses from 31 academic departments which offer 37 majors and 63 areas of study. Students are also able to design their own interdisciplinary major. Courses are available in the physical sciences, humanities, mathematics and computer sciences, arts, social sciences, foreign languages, classics, several interdisciplinary fields, and pre-professional programs. Pre-professional programs includes pre-law, pre-medical, a cooperative architecture program, and a cooperative engineering program. The most popular majors are economics, political science, psychology, mathematics, and biology.
Under an agreement with Washington University’s School of Architecture in St. Louis, students may complete three years at Macalester before transferring to Washington University for a senior year of accelerated architectural study, leading to a B.A. from Macalester. Three years of graduate study at Washington University then leads to a Master’s in architecture.
An arrangement between Macalester and both the University of Minnesota and Washington University in St. Louis makes it possible for a student to earn a B.A. degree from Macalester and a B.S. degree in engineering or applied science from either university in five years.
The academic calendar at Macalester is divided into a 14-week fall semester (September to December) and a 14-week spring semester (January to May). All courses are offered for semester credit. Most courses are offered for four semester credits, but the amount of credit may vary.
During January, Macalester students may earn up to two semester credits in independent projects, internships, or Macalester-sponsored off-campus courses. Additionally, Macalester students may earn up to eight semester credits in independent study during the summer through independent projects or internships.
Macalester College has a long tradition of providing opportunities for students to build an international and intercultural perspective into their college education through international or domestic off-campus study. Students may propose participation from among an ample array of overseas and domestic programs relevant to Macalester’s liberal arts curriculum.
Macalester is a member of the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities (ACTC), a consortium of five liberal arts colleges in Saint Paul and Minneapolis formed to develop cooperative programs and offer cross-registration to their students. Other members include University of St. Thomas, Augsburg University, Hamline University, and St. Catherine University. In addition to over 800 courses available on campus, Macalester students have access to all courses offered through the consortium without paying additional tuition. ACTC provides free busing between the campuses to all students.
Macalester also has an agreement with the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) whereby students may take one course per term at that college, provided that Macalester has approved the course.
Despite the high cost of attendance, Macalester is one of only 70 colleges nationally that meets the full financial need of admitted students. Macalester's comprehensive tuition, room, and board fee for the 2017-2018 academic year is $64,136.
In the fall of 2017, 70% of admitted first-year students received financial aid, with an average financial aid package of $45,680. 90% of the packages are composed of grants and loan-free packages. Over half of U.S. students at Macalester receive merit scholarships ranging from $8,000 to $80,000.
Macalester is known for its high international enrollment for its institutional type as a percentage of its student body. As of fall 2017, international students constitute over 25% of the student body. Its 2,146 students come from 50 U.S. states, DC, Puerto Rico, the Mariana Islands and over 97 countries. 33% of the U.S. student body are students of color. Macalester's student body is 40% male and 60% female.
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 12 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, Mac Anime, Macalester Mock Trial, Mac Dems, Mac GOP, Mac Greens, Bad Comedy, Fresh Concepts, The Macalester Review: A Political Magazine, The Hegemonocle Humor Magazine, The Trads and other a cappella groups, Cheeba, MacBrews, MacSlackers, MacBike, the Macalester Outing Club, the Macalester Climbing Club, Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG), Macalester Conservation and Renewable Energy Society (MacCARES), Macalester International Organization (MIO), MacPlayers, NARAL Macalester Activists for Choice, Queer Union, Macalester Young Artists for Revolutionary Needlework (MacYARN), Macalester Quiz Bowl, Mac Rugby, Medicinal Melodies, the Physics and Astronomy Club, and the Macalester Ultimate Frisbee Teams (Blue Monkeys and Purse Snatchers).
Macalester is one of only 360 institutions that has been awarded the prestigious Carnegie Community Engagement Classification for excellence in civic engagement. Civic engagement is a core component of the Macalester education and is included in its mission statement. The college actively encourages student dialogue by bringing in speakers, hosting an International Roundtable to bring distinguished international scholars to discuss emerging global issues, and hosting collective meetings such as Women of Color.
Macalester links academic learning to community involvement. In 2011-2012, 16 departments offered 59 courses with civic engagement components. Each year approximately 200 students complete internships, 65% of which are in the non-profit sector, schools, government, or the arts. Macalester also allows students to earn their work-study financial aid award while working at a local non-profit or elementary school.
50% of Macalester students volunteer every semester. 94% are active volunteers in the Twin Cities urban community while at Macalester. Many student organizations encourage active civic engagement, including MPIRG, Maction, Queer Union (QU), Macalester Habitat for Humanity, and more.
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. MITY provides two different gifted education programs during the summer months and one on weekends during the academic year. Macalester also participates in Project Pericles, a commitment to further encourage civic engagement at the college. In 2000, Macalester signed the Talloires Declaration, making a commitment to environmental sustainability, as well as a sweatshop pledge, making a commitment to fair-labor practices in the purchase of college apparel.
Macalester is widely recognized as one of the most LGBTQ-friendly colleges in the nation. The Campus Pride Index awarded Macalester a full five out of five stars for LGBTQ-friendly campuses. In 2007, The Princeton Review named Macalester the most gay-friendly college in the nation.
For people whose gender expression is not always recognized, Macalester has started an initiative to ensure access to single-stall and all-gender bathrooms across campus. Macalester also offers all-gender housing on campus.
Macalester has a student-powered Gender and Sexuality Resource Center that aims to build a culture of resistance against all forms of oppression. There are also many active LGBTQ student organizations and groups on campus including Queer Union, Allies Project Training, and the Macalester Out and Proud Community.
The athletic teams of Macalester College are nicknamed the Scots. Macalester is a member of the NCAA Division III Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) in all sports except football. The Scots' football team set an NCAA Division III record by losing 50 straight games from 1974 to 1980. In 1977, Macalester set a Division III record by allowing 59.1 points per game. The losing streak ended in dramatic fashion: Kicker Bob Kaye put a 23-yarder through the uprights with 11 seconds remaining in an early September 1980 contest as the Scots beat Mount Senario College. The Scots left the MIAC after the 2001 season and competed as an independent until 2014, when they joined the Midwest Conference. Under head coach Tony Jennison, Macalester won the Midwest Conference title, the Scots' first conference football title since 1947. Macalester also won nine games in 2014, the most ever in a Scots' single season in their 121 years of intercollegiate football. Previously, 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.'"
Soccer has always been a popular sport at the college. 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. The 2010 men's team won the MIAC regular-season championship and both the men and women's teams received at-large bids for the 2010 NCAA Division III tournament. Both teams are well-supported by students, parents and alumni. One of Macalester sports fans' most (in)famous cheers – "Drink Blood, Smoke Crack, Worship Satan, Go Mac!" – was cited as one of "7 Memorable Sports Chants" by Mental Floss.
The Cross Country Ski team became a club team in 2004, when skiing was eliminated as an MIAC sanctioned sport. 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 facility encompasses 175,000 square feet. The Leonard Center includes a 200-meter track, a natatorium, a fitness center, several multipurpose rooms, and 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.
Every year in early May, Macalester hosts the Al Storm Games, a fun competition between various athletes at Macalester consisting of various events such as a Hunger Games simulation.
Old Main, Macalester College
|Location||1600 Grand Ave.
Saint Paul, Minnesota
|Architect||William H. Willcox|
|Architectural style||Romanesque Revival|
|NRHP reference #||77000765|
|Added to NRHP||August 16, 1977|
As at many small liberal arts colleges, students at Macalester are required to live on campus for their first two years. Limited all-gender housing options have been implemented by the college at select housing options starting in 2012.
Food services on campus are provided by Bon Appétit, a national company. The cafeteria, located in the Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center, is called Café Mac. Three different meal plans are available for students who live on campus. All freshmen are required to have the highest meal plan offered.
In the 2011 College Sustainability Report Card published by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, Macalester received an overall grade of "A−", earning it the recognition as an "Overall Campus Sustainability Leader". In 2011, The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) awarded Macalester College a Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) Silver Rating in recognition of its sustainability achievements.
There are many student organizations on campus that focus on sustainability, including Macalester Conservation and Renewable Energy Society (MacCARES), Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG), Mac Bike, Macalester Urban Land and Community Health (MULCH), and Outing Club.
In April 2003, Macalester was able to install a 10 kW 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. The student organization MacCARES is currently developing a proposal for Macalester to invest in a Utility-Scale Wind Turbine in the range of 2MW. 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. Recently, the Class of 2008 designated its senior class gift to a Sustainability Fund to support initiatives to improve environmental sustainability on campus and in the greater community. On January 1, 2013, Macalester started on campus composting.
Macalester declared a goal in September 2009 to become carbon neutral by 2025 and Zero-Waste by 2020. The school 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. On April 18, 2012, President Brian Rosenberg signed the “Commitment to Sustainable Practices of Higher Education Institutions on the Occasion of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development”.
In 2009, the school opened Markim Hall, a LEED Platinum building that houses the school's Institute for Global Citizenship. 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.
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