In 1874 the Reverend Edward Neil, having relocated to Minnesota two years earlier to do missionary work, decided that the area would benefit from the presence of a private college. Neil had previously served as the first superintendant of public education and the first chancellor of the University of Minnesota. With the help of Philadelphia businessman Charles Macalester’s donations and the Presbyterian Church, Macalester College opened its doors in 1885 with five professors, six freshmen, and fifty two preparatory students.
Macalester’s reputation for internationalism was developed under the presidency of Charles Turck (1939-1958), who actively recruited students from overseas and worked to foster a diverse student body.
With seven academic buildings, ten residence halls, five language houses, a library, and a tech center, Macalester’s St. Paul campus is cozy.
With Macalester’s endowment rising, the university is renewing its commitment to upgrading its facilities. A new campus center was opened in 2001, and a new athletic facility, the Leonard Center, opened in 2008. Also in the works is an Institute for Global Citizenship.
Located in one of Minnesota’s Twin Cities, Macalester students often refer to St. Paul’s Grand Avenue area as the “Mac Bubble.” The nearby restaurants, galleries, and other hot spots often keep students within a six-block radius of their campus, and some find that the winter chill further inhibits their meanderings. Still, motivated students will venture out into St. Paul and Minneapolis, and many Twin Cities attractions are only a ten- or fifteen-minute drive from campus.
The Rock, a campus landmark that has been moved around and painted by students since 1908, is now a mainstay on the quad.
It is said that students who have just lost their on-campus virginity ring the bell outside of the Weyerhaeuser building. It’s not uncommon to hear cheers emanating from the dorms after the ringing of the bell.
The school sometimes holds Midnight Breakfast before exam week, at which faculty and staff serve breakfast food to students. Much to the chagrin of the administration, streaking has also been known to accompany students’ servings of nighttime pancakes.
Kofi Annan (1961) was Secretary General of the United Nations and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient.
Peter Berg (1984) is an actor and director of both the film and TV series Friday Night Lights.
Walter Mondale (1951) was the 42nd vice-president of the US.
Yuko Nii (1965) is a noted Japanese-American artist.
Tim O’Brien (1968) is the author of of The Things They Carried.
Macalester isn’t as sports-crazy as some other colleges. The Scots compete in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Conference and are an NCAA Division III school. Students do seem to rally around the men’s and women’s soccer teams, and you can often find a bunch of people cheering on their friends at matches, but most sports get minimal attention from the general student body. Intramural offerings range from ultimate Frisbee to dodgeball, and there are many casual athletes on campus who participate.
Macalester's football team used to hold the record for the longest losing streak in division III, but so far this season they've already won a few games and are hoping to pick up their first winning season in years.
The Princeton Review named Macalester the #1 school for acceptance of the gay community.
American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald grew up on Summit Avenue, right by the Macalester campus.
The university sports a 22-member bagpipe band complete with kilts.
Macalester requires its students to live on campus for the first two years of their academic careers. There are eight residence halls on campus:
-Dupre Hall, a freshman and sophomore dorm, was built in 1962. Housing around 260 students, this is Macalester’s largest dorm.
-Turck Hall houses 180 first-year students.
-Doty Hall, a freshman dorm, is one of two residence halls on campus to have single-sex floors.
-Bigelow Hall was built in 1947 and features single-sex and co-ed apartments.
-GDD Hall is a dorm composed of four- to six-person suites. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors typically -live here.
-30 Macalester St. is one of the newer dorms on campus, and is handicap accessible.
-Wallace Hall, built in 1907, is Macalester’s oldest dorm.
-Kirk Hall houses upperclassmen. It is divided into nine co-ed and single-sex sections.
There are also specialty housing options at Macalester:
-Veggie (Vegetarian) Co-op
-Hebrew House (part of Kirk Hall)
-All-Gender Housing (part of Kirk Hall)
-Language Houses: German, Japanese, Russian, French, and Spanish