Brian Rosenberg

President, Macalester College

Brian Rosenberg is the 16th president of Macalester College. Under his leadership, Macalester launched an historic five-year campaign to raise $150 million (ending in 2011). Two of the campaign’s three building projects have been fully funded and completed: Markim Hall, home of the Institute for Global Citizenship, which is the first higher education building in the region to earn LEED Platinum designation; and the Leonard Center, a 175,000-square-foot athletic and wellness complex. Additional campaign priorities include a fine arts center renovation and expansion, student scholarships, faculty support, and research.

During Rosenberg’s tenure, Macalester’s annual fund-raising has more than doubled, its endowment performance has consistently exceeded that of its peer group, and there has been an operating budget surplus each year. The college has sharply increased recruitment and retention of students of color, and the overall student-retention rate from the first to second year has risen to 95 percent. Rosenberg has also led the college in a number of sustainability initiatives, including adopting a plan to become carbon neutral by 2025.

Rosenberg is active nationally, serving as chair of the Presidents’ Council of Project Pericles and as a member of the Leadership Circle of the Presidents’ Climate Commitment, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Higher Education Working Group, the Presidents’ Trust of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and numerous other groups and organizations. He is a past chair of the American Council on Education’s Commission on International Initiatives.

Rosenberg champions the liberal arts college in America. “The liberal arts model rests on a belief in the transformative power of ideas, the necessity of collaborative action for the common good, and the importance of individual self-determination.” Rosenberg has been quoted in the press on a variety of issues including higher education access and quality, tuition costs, and college rankings.

Prior to coming to Macalester in August 2003, Rosenberg was the dean of the faculty and an English professor at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis. He began his academic career as an adjunct assistant professor of humanities at The Cooper Union in New York City in 1982, and was an English professor and chair of the English department at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., from 1983 to 1998.

A Charles Dickens scholar, Rosenberg has written two books, Mary Lee Settle’s Beulah Quintet: The Price of Freedom (1991) and Little Dorrit’s Shadows: Character and Contradiction in Dickens (1996), and numerous articles on the Victorian author. He served on the board of trustees of The Dickens Society from 2000 to 2004.