Vice President of Student Affairs Laurie Hamre announced on Monday she will be retiring from Macalester at the end of this academic year.
Hamre has worked at Macalester for 23 years, serving in her current position as Vice President since 2000. Before that, Hamre served as Associate Dean of Students for three years and then as Dean of Students for five. She first arrived at Macalester from St. Olaf University.
One of Hamre’s main focuses during her first few years at Macalester was strengthening the on-campus community and creating programs for students on campus. This was difficult at the time, since not much on-campus community existed then, Hamre said.
“One of the things the President told us [who] were being hired at the time was that our job was really to try and figure out how to build a community at Macalester. Which wasn’t easy to do when you were in an urban area, and there are lots of things for students to participate in,” Hamre said.
In 2000, then-president Michael McPherson promoted Hamre to Vice President, as her role now involved supervising the new positions of Dean of Multicultural Life and Dean for the Study of Race and Ethnicity.
For a few years, Hamre filled both roles as Vice President and Dean of Students. During that time, she also played a key role in the Leonard Center construction and the college’s Step Forward capital campaign, a role that required lots of travel. All those responsibilities proved difficult, and soon after that Jim Hoppe was promoted to Dean of Students to more evenly divide up the work that Student Affairs was responsible for.
Hamre’s position touches many different areas of campus. The Vice President for Student Affairs oversees Athletics, Campus Life, Campus Activities and Operations, Student Affairs, the Career Development Center, the Health and Wellness Center, the Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, the Department of Multicultural Life, International Student Programs, and Residential Life. Hamre says the highlight of her time at Macalester has been working with students.
“Truly, most of the time, when you think back over your career, you’ll think of the highs and the really great times, and you think of the lows and the times that weren’t so great,” Hamre said. “But for me, it’s been every day. Just watching 2,000 students marching through Macalester, taking everything that’s possible. To me, that’s really the highlight.”
Hamre said she began thinking about retirement last year, and made the decision this summer that this would be her last year. Her final day at Macalester will be May 31, 2015. According to Hamre, President Brian Rosenberg will announce plans to fill both her position and Provost Kathy Murray’s position “fairly soon.”
After a long career at Macalester, Hamre said leaving will be difficult, yet this is the right time to retire.
“I haven’t had a lot of nights and weekends off in 23 years. I have a pile of books that I’ve been amassing. I have a notebook full of projects that I want to get done. I’m going to spend this summer resting up and thinking about what I want to do next,” Hamre said.
“It just seems like the right time. I could stay working forever at Macalester,” Hamre continued. “This is a job I look forward to getting to in the morning. But it just seems like time … It’ll be really hard. [Macalester] is a special place. I know a lot of people will keep in touch.”