Ben MacMinn

‘A small college is better’

Ben MacMinn attended a large state university before coming to LaGrange College, and he says that hands down, he knows which of the two environments helped him succeed.

“I started five years ago at a local state school,” says the senior religion and philosophy major. “I wasn’t doing my best. I was distracted, I was less than apathetic, and my grades showed it.”

Ben felt he needed a new start, so after taking a semester off, he enrolled at LaGrange College, where his sister graduated.

“I transferred to LaGrange three years ago, and I definitely turned things around,” he says. “My success has come from the small class sizes; the professors have a close relationship with the students. I have my professors’ cell numbers, and they have mine. It’s nice not just that they can contact me, but they care about me as a person as well as my grades.”

Ben came to the college intending to major in mathematics and minor in religion, but his religion and philosophy professors’ influence and LaGrange College’s spiritual life opportunities led him to be called in a different direction.

“I know I’m majoring in religion and philosophy, though I’m not sure exactly what I want to do with that yet,” says Ben, who plans to attend graduate school or seminary after he earns his four-year degree. “I feel a call for service leadership in some shape or form or fashion. I don’t know specifically what this is yet, but my religion degree has helped me build the foundation of what I want to do.

Ben says leadership opportunities on campus have “transformed” him. He is president of the Hilltoppers, a group of students who serve as ambassadors for the college when prospective students visit campus.

He also is a senior resident advisor in Henry Hall and is excited about enhancements being made in residence life at LaGrange College.

“We had a great system, but LaGrange wanted to set the bar higher and is taking a new approach to residence life,” he says. “The book has been completely rewritten on residence life, so much that it is now being called Student Engagement to reflect the approach that is being taken with students. As resident advisors, we are more focused on engaging students on a personal level, not just being the ones who unlock a door when a student accidentally locks himself out of the dorms.”

Ben says he encourages high-school juniors and seniors to choose a small college after graduation because of the small classes, relationships with faculty, and growth opportunities on campus.

“I’ve definitely been transformed while I’ve been at LaGrange College,” he says. “My priorities are much straighter now, and I definitely have leadership aspects I didn’t have before.

“LaGrange has taught me that if I want something to change, I have to be that change.”