Alum, 32, killed on duty in Iraq

By Mac Weekly Staff

This month, Stephen Kowalczyk, class of ’97, a former captain of the Macalester swim team and a specialist in the US Army, was killed by small arms fire in Muqdadiyah, Iraq while on duty.

Though his life was cut short at the age of 32, Kowalczyk leaves an impressive legacy as an athlete and internationalist. During his two years on the swim team, he set three Top Ten All-Time swimming and diving records, making captain his sophomore year. According to an obituary in the Star Tribune, following his withdrawal from Macalester, Kowalczyk adventured around the world, working as “a technician in a lab in the Utah Desert, a traveling craftsman along the California coast, and as a dishwasher and handyman in the shadow of holy sites in Jerusalem.”In his last years, Kowalczyk developed a taste for flying small aircraft in the most dangerous conditions possible. He was within reach of a private pilot’s license before being deployed. From Iraq, Kowalczyk will receive the Bronze Star for Valor, the Good Conduct Medal, the Purple Heart, and a posthumous promotion to corporal. Family members have requested that any memorial donations be made to the Heifer International (