Professor Emeritus Mac Gimse ’58 and Jackie Gimse: Transforming perspectives
Home: Dundas, Minnesota
Gifts to For the Hill and Beyond:
- The Mac and Jackie Gimse Endowed Scholarship for International Studies, established with cash gifts and a planned gift
- Manitou Heights Society members
- St. Olaf Fund Loyalty Society members
“We tried to get students into parts of a culture not normally seen, so they, too, learn to ‘give back’ to people. It’s just so life-changing for them.”
Impact: The Mac and Jackie Gimse Endowed Scholarship supports a student who participates in international study, whether for interim or longer terms.
Why: The Gimses believe strongly in the transformative ability of international study to deepen learning. During Mac’s tenure, the Gimses led more than thirty study programs in Europe, Asia and the Middle East for students and alumni. “We tried to get students into parts of a culture not normally seen, so they, too, learn to ‘give back’ to people. It’s just so life-changing for them.”
On the Hill: As an undergraduate, Mac was drawn to philosophy and Asian art studying with professors Harold Ditmanson, Howard Hong, and Arnold Flaten. An honorary member of the Class of 1958, he came back twelve years later after Flaten’s retirement to teach his schedule—“It was a gigantic job.” Over the next thrity-one years, Mac taught art history and sculpture, and several rounds of the Great Conversation, in addition to courses abroad. The Gimse Foundry in Dittman Center and the Gimse International Photo Contest honor his service to the college.
Beyond: The Gimses’ open door and cherry-berry bars have made their house in Dundas a home away from home for Oles. Through their work both Mac and Jackie have come in touch with friends, congregations, and organizations worldwide. More than 120 colleges, galleries, and churches in the U.S. have exhibited Mac’s sculpture. Included in collections across eleven countries, his sculpture has also been commissioned for eight Nobel Peace Prize laureates.
Of his time on the Hill: “This place gave me my destiny as an artist and professor,” Mac says. “It gave me the chance to fulfill my dream of teaching in a liberal arts curriculum set in theological dialogue, which was constantly inspired by many students and esteemed colleagues.” Jackie also shares, “We always felt it was a blessing to be at St. Olaf, and we wanted to figure out a way to give back.”
Why he gives: “The important thing in endowing a scholarship was to enable students to have the wonderful experiences we had at St. Olaf,” says Jackie. Mac also shares, “At St. Olaf, I came to learn that a Christian liberal arts education was very much about learning to love, how to center on your passion to engage purposely with your life and share fully with others. Every day I spent hours with students who were ready to learn and taught me as much as I taught them. It was the hardest job I could wish for.”