After 12 years, Cindy Haarstad leaves Mac

After twelve and a half years at Macalester, Cindy Haarstad, the Director of Campus Center and Conferences, will depart Macalester for a new position.
Haarstad is moving to Alexandria, Minnesota, a small town of about 11,000 people and around two hours northeast of the Twin Cities.

A few years ago, Haarstad bought a cabin in Alexandria. “We were thinking, oh, we’re going to retire here,” Haarstad said, “but why wait until we retire? It’s peaceful and calm, and there’s a lot of lakes and trees, outdoor activities. We’re much more that type than city people.”

Haarstad had been searching for a new position since the rest of her immediate family moved up six months ago. Her parents also live in Alexandria, and she expressed a desire to be closer to them.

Her new job will be at Tastefully Simple, a gourmet food marketing company.

As part of her position at Macalester, Haarstad was in charge of the Campus Center’s general operations and supervised its professional staff.According to Dean of Students Jim Hoppe, departures such as Haarstad’s lead to an evaluation of the newly vacant position and its role in filling the needs of the school.

“We are taking the opportunity to review the position and structure, and see if there are any adjustments we might make to best serve students in the next 10 years,” Hoppe said.

After administration completes the review, a search for someone to fill Haarstad’s position will likely begin. Current Assistant Director Andy Williams will be interim director.

Haarstad’s official last day at Macalester will be Dec. 2, but she has been slowly phasing out of her job, a process that she describes as difficult.

“It’s going to be hard to leave. I love Macalester,” Haarstad said. “With my role, I have this great job; I could interact with many different groups of people. I loved that aspect of my job. I could connect with people all across campus, which was pretty amazing.”

Spending over 12 years at Macalester — four as Assistant Director of Operations and more than eight in her current role — has shaped Haarstad.

“I’m taking away a lot of really positive experiences that have made me a better person,” she said. “It’s my home away from home.”

Operations Manager Mark Bechtel, who reports directly to Haarstad, said she will be missed greatly.

“Cindy has given so much to Mac, and has done more for the students here than most people know. As someone who was privileged enough to know her well and work with her every day, I would just like to say that we will miss her terribly,” said Bechtel. “She usually prefers to stay behind the scenes, but she has been a very important part of everything from Founders Day to the Loch renovation last year, to the daily running of the Campus Center. I can honestly say that Mac would not be the same without her.”

“She has been an incredible asset to the community, and someone I will miss greatly. I wish her all the best, and am very excited for her as she begins this new adventure,” Hoppe said.