A Snapshot of the Board of Trustees: Who are they and why should I care?

By Kate Hamilton and Cailin Rogers

Macalester students are taught to look toward the future, to find ways to ensure that our communities, both locally and globally, thrive. One need look no further than those graduates who came back to help Macalester develop in a unique way through participation on the Board of Trustees to measure the success of this strategy. The Board members appoint the President, evaluate tenure decisions of the President, assure adequate physical facilities and make certain that the institution is well managed. Currently, the vast majority (94 percent) of Trustees are alumni. Although each member of the Board grew to be an esteemed member of their communities, they were students like us once, too. They were students who participated in sports and in campus organizations. But they were also students who built igloos on the football field, participated in anti-war rallies, held champagne breakfasts and even turned off the water to Kirk during a water fight! Our Trustees made memories at Macalester like we do every day. They care not only about Macalester as an institution, but also about us as students. As informed students who are proactive in our education, it is critical that we understand who is making the decisions that affect our time here at Mac. One Trustee remarked, “I had a great Macalester experience and I would like other students to have an even better one. After leaving, I realized how much Macalester had become home, and I wanted to give back to it in service as a trustee.”

The Trustees are not flying blind, so to speak, as they have input from several student representatives who specialize in six different areas. The representatives collect and report the general sentiments of the students to the Board, who take their suggestions and thoughts seriously. The Trustees at Macalester are involved in many of the nuances of campus from behind the scenes. This year, the student representatives and the Board of Trustees are working to make the board a more visible presence on campus.

One of the places students will see the Trustees are on computer screens. The week of September 30th (the week the Trustees arrive on campus), all public computers at Macalester will have personal information and pictures of the members of the Board of Trustees as their desktop background. This will help the student body know more about the people who help run Macalester.

Students are also invited to the Cafe Mac special “Brunch with the Trustees” Saturday, Oct 2 from 10:20-11:20a.m.. Come share your experiences at Macalester and hear about the Trustees’ time here as well. You can learn about what the Board of Trustees does, and the areas that their subcommittees cover. Each subcommittee handles a different area, like finance, academics, admissions, advancement, campus life and infrastructure.

The academics and infrastructure subcommittees will be hosting a Fine Arts forum to discuss the issues and concerns surrounding the effects of the upcoming construction of the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center. The forum will be held in Weyerhauser Chapel on Monday, Sep 27 from 12:15 – 1:00p.m.. All students are encouraged to attend.

These are just a few of many opportunities that will be available this year to meet and discuss Macalester with the people who run it. This year’s student reps are Taren Kingser & Kate Hamilton (Academics), Owen Truesdell (Admissions and Campus Life), Cailin Rogers (Admissions), Needham Hurst (Advancement), Ezequiel Jimenez, Katie Agnew and Steph Vilendrer (Campus Life), Kristine Stresman (Finance & RPC) and Carl Corcoran ( Infrastructure). The student liaison to the board is Yeukai Mudzi.