Skip to main content

Q&A with Marc McClellan ’81

Commitment to Northwestern runs deep for the NU Club of Coachella Valley president.

Marc McClellan stands near a body of water in California. He wears a purple polo shirt with Northwestern’s athletic logo on his upper left chest. He also wears a purple baseball cap displaying Northwestern’s athletic N. The opposite side of the water is lined with palm trees and lush greenery, which are reflected in the water’s surface. To McClellan’s left, part of a pedestrian bridge is visible.
Longtime NAA volunteer Marc McClellan moved to Palm Springs, Calif., six years ago and joined the NU Club of Coachella Valley.Image: Phil Channing

Spring 2024

Marc McClellan’s unwavering commitment to Northwestern runs deep.  

Since 2019 the Palm Springs, Calif., resident has served as president of the NU Club of Coachella Valley. The small but active group has hosted game watch parties and cultural events, receptions for the Northwestern softball team and alumni filmmakers, and joint gatherings with other Northwestern groups to expand the club’s reach and unite Wildcats in the area. In 2023 the Northwestern Alumni Association (NAA) honored the group as its Club of the Year, recognizing its growth, innovation and exemplary alumni. 

McClellan, who earned a bachelor’s degree in radio/television/film from the School of Communication and works in customer service for NewsBank, has also served on the University Libraries Board of Governors, the Alumni Admission Council and the NAA Board. As president of Northwestern University Pride Alumni Club (NUPAC), McClellan spearheaded the creation of an endowed scholarship for undergraduates who contribute to the Northwestern LGBTQIA+ community through leadership, service, volunteerism or research. Established in 2007, the scholarship is a point of personal pride for him. Today McClellan is director of alumni giving for NUPAC (previously the Northwestern University Gay and Lesbian Alumni). 

What’s driven your significant engagement with Northwestern? 

I’m grateful for the many donors who made it possible for a kid like me from a small, blue-collar town in southern Illinois to attend one of the most prestigious universities in the world. So giving back is part of it. Volunteering for the NAA has also allowed me to meet so many accomplished and interesting people who never would have crossed my path otherwise. Those relationships have enormously enriched my life. 

Why did you join the NU Club of Coachella Valley? 

I had investigated the club before I moved out here from Chicago about six years ago and knew I wanted to join. Alumni clubs allow people who relocate to have a ready set of connections, both personally and professionally. I was immediately embraced by this community, and that made it so much easier to find my way here.  

What makes the club unique? 

We have a number of committed members, including some of the original club founders, who have been involved for over 20 years. We do a lot between November and April, because many members are in the area solely during the winter. And we use our connections to accomplish things. For example, I knew Kate Baldwin ’97, a Broadway performer, was coming to the area and invited her to do an event. She gave a terrific performance and shared her Northwestern story. 

What’s next for the club? 

We want alumni in the area, even those just visiting, to know about us and join us. Second, we want to create more collaborations. We already do a regular happy hour with NUPAC, but there’s opportunity to partner with other groups, both across the region and across different affinity areas. We want to extend our reach and help people feel welcome at each other’s events. This is a big tent, and we’re all Wildcats. 

Spark your next volunteer opportunity at

Share this Northwestern story with your friends via...

Reader Responses

No one has commented on this page yet.

Submit a Response