The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Macalester is for Lovers

By Hattie Stahl

Ruth Chalsma Ranum ’52 was introduced to her husband Al Ranum ’50 one day while they were eating lunch in Old Main. They were introduced by a mutual friend who, according to Ruth, didn’t like the guy she was going with at the time.

The lunch buffet in Old Main no longer exists, but Ruth and Al are working on their 56th year of marriage.

According to Pamela Yates-Watson of the Development Office, 13.4 percent of active Macalester alumni (alumni with an accurate, current mailing address) are in a committed partnership with another Mac alum. Some, like the Ranum’s met during their years as Mac students, others met years after graduation. Each “Mac Couple” has their own unique story.

Janet and her husband Mark Vaught ’69 were classmates at Mac, but didn’t ever really talk. They re-connected during their 25th college reunion and were married a year later. “I saw him in a totally different light,” Janet says.

Similarly, Lee Wallace ’95 and Dianna Kennedy ’95 started dating after they had graduated. Dianna transferred to Mac and had a negative impression of the transfer student orientation process. A year later, over the summer of ’93, Lee was working on the Orientation planning committee, and Dianna contacted her with suggestions.

“I got to see Lee in action and I was pretty enamored by her,” Dianna says. But despite many mutual friends, the two ran in very different social circles and were both dating other people. After graduation, they both stayed in the area and ran into each other from time to time. They exchanged numbers right before Lee left for Australia for four months, and Lee called Dianna when she got back in town.

While the two have a number of Mac friends who are still in relationships with the person they dated at Mac, Lee remembers people either having very serious relationships or dating way more casually. “There was definitely also a lot of messing around,” Dianna says with a laugh.

Janet believes that schools like Mac generate a fairly high number of alumni couples because they choose their students well. “A wonderful, curious, open mind is something a lot of people have in common when they start Mac,” Janet says.

At Carleton, 14.9 percent of active alumni are married to another Carleton graduate.

The Grinnell alumni relations group mailed 1,355 Valentines to alumni couples last February, which is 13.7 percent of the active alumni body.

Susan Rodd Case ’77 has fond memories of February in Minnesota. “Having met [her husband Bill Case ’75] and started dating in February has left me with a serious fondness for really cold weather,” Susan says. Susan and Bill live in West Virginia, where the thermometer only occasionally dips below zero. Yet when it does, it awakens fond memories of their early days together in St. Paul.

According to Bill, their first “date” was when the people at Susan’s house invited the people at his house to go bowling. “The lanes were full, so we went down the street to a bar…it was a little too divey for some of the folks, so we moved to another bar…” Bill recalls.

“We met through our roommates who began dating about a year or so before we did,” Susan says. “We met in the stairwell of Bigelow Hall, although Bill doesn’t remember that.”

Susan’s roommate, Robin Perlstein Lackner ’75 and Bill’s roommate, Jim Lackner ’75 have their own unusual story about how they met.

Jim started college at American University in D.C., and then transferred to Mac after his first year. Robin spent her first two years of college at American University and then transferred to Mac. Neither knew the other at American. A friend of Jim’s met Robin and when Jim returned from spending the fall semester of his junior year on the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM): Chicago Urban Studies Study Away program, his friend told him that there was this girl he had to meet.

According to Robin, Jim came to her dorm room in Bigelow and introduced himself in January of their junior year. “I heard there was someone from the school I went to before, and well, one thing led to another,” Jim says.

Robin and Jim often went to the Greasy Spoon, a diner that was located on the corner of Snelling and Grand, where Jamba Juice is situated today. “Jim also enjoyed eating my housemate’s freshly baked bread!” Robin recalls. “I have really good memories of that time. I was happy.”

Susan worked in a pizza restaurant on Snelling during college. “Bill used to pick me up late at night after work,” she says. “Then we would go to an all-night restaurant and eat pancakes. We also went to one of the first live Prairie Home Companion Shows in the Fine Arts Center at Macalester.”

Ruth and Al often went on Sunday night dates to a sweetshop that was on the corner of St. Clair and Snelling, where the St. Clair Broiler is today. “I was still too young then to accompany Al and his football buddies to O’Gara’s,” Ruth says.

“In those days, Dean Doty was the women’s Dean at the time, and we definitely had to have her approval on who we could or couldn’t date,” Ruth recalls. With Doty’s approval, Ruth and Al dated on and off, but kept gravitating back to each other.

Al went on to grad school when he graduated, while Ruth finished up her undergraduate degree and went on to teach kindergarten. “Back in those days, women went to college to get married,” Ruth recollects. “But my mother kept telling me, though, that I had to be able to support myself. We girls had a choice between teaching and nursing. Many of my friends married Mac grads… most of the girls I knew who didn’t get married in college went to Great Falls, Montana because there were teaching positions open, and there was an Air Force base with tons of single young males.”

Ruth and Al were married at what is today Macalester Plymouth United Church. “The reception was in the church basement, because that’s what you did in those days,” Ruth says. “But then we had a party for all our college friends later at a night club in St. Paul.”

The Case’s didn’t get married until several years after college which, according to Susan, seemed common among other people she knew during her time at Macalester. “We lived together for several years before we got married, which also was common.”

Pam Leland-Nelson ’86 and Dave Nelson ’82 didn’t meet until the summer after Pam’s freshman year, when Dave was a year out of Macalester.

“It was June of ’83 and Dave was living in a house on St. Clair, and their house had a party,” Pam says. They dated for the next six years and then got married.

“College [and the years directly after] is such a time of change,” Dave says. “Which is directly what contributed to us dating for six years.” Pam agrees, recalling how much both of them changed during that time. “But we’ve been together for 23 years now,” Pam says. Dave and Pam and their two children just recently returned from living in New Zealand for seven months.

View Comments (8)
More to Discover

Comments (8)

All The Mac Weekly Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • J

    Joe MacLeodSep 11, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Sweet web site, super pattern, very clean and employ genial.

  • N

    Nicola LawrenceSep 10, 2019 at 9:52 am

    YouTube carries not only comical and humorous video tutorials but also it includes learning related video clips.

  • G

    Grace RutherfordSep 6, 2019 at 11:03 pm

    I just couldn’t leave your website prior to suggesting that I actually loved the standard info an individual provide on your visitors? Is gonna be back continuously in order to check out new posts