McDonald, who with his family served as a host to WPI Fellows since 1983, is also a practicing attorney with the Schaefer Halleen law firm in Minneapolis. Much of his personal and professional life has been devoted to international interests.
For nearly 10 years, he made numerous trips to Geneva to represent Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights and the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund at meetings of the U.N. focusing on environmental human rights. McDonald has traveled extensively to promote this and other causes, and has contributed Op-Ed pieces to newspapers highlighting issues he addressed in India, Ireland and Brazil, among other places. He frequently visited and worked with former WPI Fellows during his travels. In addition to his work for Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights and the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, McDonald has served as the Chair of the Finance Committee and Vice Chair of Graywolf Press, one of the nation’s leading non-profit literary publishing houses. An intense interest in poetry led to his earning an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Literature at Bennington College in 2001. Previously, McDonald earned his B.A. from Carleton College, where he majored in Political Science and Urban Studies, and his law degree from New York University School of Law, where he served as Executive Editor of the Annual Survey of American Law.
As WPI’s Executive Director, McDonald is dedicated to promoting and implementing the core international journalist program that has been the organization’s signature program since its inception in 1961. He is also working with WPI’s Board of Directors to build support for programming that addresses changes in journalism, including developing a deeper understanding of transparency in the media, and supporting diversified vehicles for information sharing.
She received her BS in communications with an emphasis in rhetoric from the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University. She is a former journalist and documentarian, having held several roles at Twin Cities PBS before starting her own consulting firm in 2017. She joined WPI as its Communications Director in 2020.
She loves helping other people and organizations tell their stories, whether it’s for the purpose of winning grants, growing an audience, or simply for entertainment purposes.
In her free time, Kate can be found tending the many plants and animals of her growing hobby farm, serving on the board of directors for the Minnesota Knitters’ Guild, experimenting in her kitchen, or dreaming up her next adventure.
With a BA from Macalester College in Linguistics and French, graduate work in Learning Technologies and Instructional Design, Ben has had a life-long personal interest in journalism and international relations.
Ben lives in Minneapolis with his wife and a few cats and dogs. He spends plenty of time in the kitchen and garden, occasionally getting further away to hike in state parks or canoe in the BWCA.
Retired Vice President, Public Relations and Corporate Communications, 3M Company, St. Paul, Minnesota
Board Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Hubbard Radio, LLC, St. Paul, Minnesota
Retired Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Cargill, Inc., Wayzata, Minnesota
Principal, Iori Communications, Chicago, Illinois
Managing Editor, MinnPost.com, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Retired Vice President and Director of World Services, The Associated Press, New York, New York
National Correspondent, The Atlantic, Washington, DC
Retired Vice President, News & Programming, WTOP Radio, Washington, DC
Crisis Communications Manager, 3M Company, St. Paul, Minnesota
Media and Public Relations Consultant Sydney, Australia
Managing Partner/GCG Advisors, Director/ECG Asset Management, New York, New York
Attorney, John G. Hoeschler, P.A., St. Paul, Minnesota
Editorial Board Member, Star Tribune, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Executive Director, Global Programming and Events, The Milken Institute, Santa Monica, California
Executive Vice President, Hola Doctor, Inc., Miami, Florida
Journalist, Anchor, Manhattan Connection, GloboNews Channel (Brazil), New York, New York
Senior Broadcast Producer and Reporter, Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting, Emeryville, CA
Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Argand Partners, LP, New York, New York
Director of Audience Development, GOLF Magazine/GOLF.com, New York, New York
Senior Editor-in-chief, Helsingin Sanomat, Helsinki, Finland
Attorney, Nilsson Midness, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota
Chief Judge, U.S. District Court (Minnesota), Minneapolis, Minnesota
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota