Coordinates: 44°56′21.07″N 93°10′4.70″W /
44.9391861°N 93.1679722°W / 44.9391861; -93.1679722 Macalester
College (/məˈkæləstər/) 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
2.4 Academic program
2.5 Study abroad and off-campus
2.6 Academic consortia memberships
3 Tuition and financial aid
4 Student life
4.1 Student body
4.2 Student organizations
4.3 Civic engagement
4.4 LGBTQ community
6.1.1 Residence halls
6.1.2 Specialty housing
6.2 Food services
7 Notable alumni
8 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links
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.
Macalester College logo, used on many college documents.
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
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.[citation
needed] 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
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.
Weyerhaeuser Hall administration building
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
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
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
Forbes rated it 68th out of 660 colleges, universities and
service academies in the U.S.
Washington Monthly ranked Macalester 59th best liberal arts
The Wall Street Journal
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
Macalester was named one of the
Hidden Ivies for providing an
education that rivals that of the
Ivy League based on academics,
admissions process, financial aid, and student experience.
The New York Times
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
In 2011, Princeton Review ranked Macalester third best quality of life
and 7th most LGBT friendly.
The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post ranked Macalester one of the 7 trendiest
The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post ranked Macalester one of the 10 most
In 2007, Princeton Review ranked Macalester "#1 best quality of
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.
Old Main Building at
Macalester College in fall.
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
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
Washington University in St. Louis
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.
Study abroad and off-campus
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
About 60% of Macalester students study abroad before graduation.
Eleven departments require off-campus study for completion of a
Macalester has programs in the Netherlands, South Africa, Germany,
Austria (e.g. at the University of Vienna), Singapore, and France.
Academic consortia memberships
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.
Tuition and financial aid
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
The Princeton Review named Macalester the most gay-friendly college in
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.'"
The Leonard Center athletic and wellness complex
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
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
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
1600 Grand Ave.
Saint Paul, Minnesota
William H. Willcox
NRHP reference #
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.
Dupre Hall, which houses first-year students and sophomores, is
located on the corner of Summit and Snelling Avenues, and was built in
1962. Renovated in 1994, Dupre houses about 260 students 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. In 2012, Doty 1 was designated
the gender-neutral or all-gender floor.
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
a small number of students. It is a quiet and substance-free living
Wallace Hall is the oldest residence hall on campus, built in 1907 and
renovated in 2002. It houses sophomores.
Bigelow Hall houses sophomores
Kirk Hall houses upperclassmen and is located between the Campus
Center and the Leonard Athletic Center. It contains singles, doubles,
and triples. The doubles and triples each consists of a common room
with singles branching off of it.
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.
Summit House: Located across Snelling Avenue from Dupre Hall, the
Summit House offers residence for up to sixteen upperclassmen.
Starting in the Fall 2011 semester, the Summit House operated on a per
semester cycle exclusively for students studying abroad for one half
of the school's year.
Veggie Co-op: Located under the bleachers of the stadium, it houses 20
students who eat vegetarian meals together for most of the week. All
food in the house is vegetarian. Students buy and make food together
for their joined meals.
Cultural House: Located at 37 Macalester Street, residents of the
Cultural House are usually required to work or volunteer for the
Department of Multicultural Life and engage in moving towards a more
diverse, accepting, and open campus environment.
All-gender housing (part of Kirk Hall)
Language Houses: 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
Inter-Faith House: Located in section 8 of Kirk, the Inter-Faith House
is for students wishing to explore faith in their lives and the lives
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
There are many student organizations on campus that focus on
sustainability, including Macalester Conservation and Renewable Energy
Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG),
Mac Bike, Macalester Urban Land and Community Health (MULCH), and
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
Main article: List of
Macalester College people
Kofi Annan, 1961, former UN secretary general and Nobel Peace Prize
Siah Armajani, 1963, sculptor
Charles Baxter, 1969, University of
Minnesota professor, author and
National Book Award winner (The Feast of Love)
Peter Berg, 1983, actor, film director, (Hancock)
Richard P. Binzel, 1980, astronomer and professor of planetary
sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Chank Diesel, 1990, typographer
Ari Emanuel, 1983, talent agent, basis for the character Ari Gold
Danai Gurira, 2001, actress (The Walking Dead, Black Panther) and
Mary Karr, 1974, author New York Times Bestseller (The Liars' Club),
Whiting Award winner, Guggenheim Fellow, Pushcart Awardee
Shawn Lawrence Otto, 1984, screenwriter and film producer (House of
Sand and Fog)
Carl Lumbly, 1973, actor (
Cagney and Lacey and Alias)
Anna Min, 2009, photographer
Walter Mondale, 1950, former vice president of the United States and
U.S. ambassador to Japan (1993–97)
Tim O'Brien, 1968, novelist (The Things They Carried)
Rebecca Otto, 1985,
Minnesota State Auditor; former
DeWitt Wallace, 1911, founder of Reader's Digest, philanthropist
Dave Zirin, 1996, political sportswriter
List of colleges and universities in Minnesota
Higher education in Minnesota
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after all, says
Campus Pride Index". City Pages. Archived from the
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^ a b "MACcares Wind Turbine Projects". Macalester College. Retrieved
July 5, 2009.
^ a b "Macalester Sustainability Tour" (PDF). Macalester College.
Retrieved July 5, 2009.
^ "Sustainability". Macalester College. Retrieved August 13,
Macalester College to be Carbon Neutral by 2025". Macalester
College. September 17, 2009. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
^ Sustainability - Policies Archived July 5, 2013, at the Wayback
^ 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
^  Archived August 30, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
Kilde, Jeanne Halgren. Nature and Revelation: A History of Macalester
College (University of
Minnesota Press, 2010) 400 pp.
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