Name: MacGregor Obergfell
Department: Office of Governmental Affairs
Title: Assistant Director of Governmental Affairs
What was your first real job? My first “real” job in higher education was as a Fiscal Officer in the Office of Student Life at Ohio State. I worked with a group of students to allocate a portion of their student activity fee, and helped implement the institution’s financial policies across several teams in the student union. At the time, there were over 1,000 student organizations on campus, and I was lucky to worth with motivated student leaders programming excellent events.
How did you end up working at APLU? After graduate school, I broadly focused on more student-centric higher education issues, like student loan repayment and loan servicing issues, at the Postsecondary National Policy Institute. APLU provided me with the opportunity to return to more institution-focused work, which is what got me into the field in the first place.
Why did you want to work at APLU? I’ve been very fortunate to attend two land-grant institutions (Ohio State and University of Maryland), and my experiences at those institutions have shown me how powerful public institutions can be as an engine for society. To be a part of the work that APLU does to support and advocate for public institutions is very exciting to me, and I look forward to contributing to both APLU and our member institutions.
What’s the biggest change public university leaders can expect in 5-10 years? In five to ten years from now, I’m sure public university leaders will still be dealing with ramifications from the pandemic, including issues that we have yet to identify. Maybe instead of online courses, courses in the meta-verse will be the new rage.
What is your favorite thing about living in DC? I love being able to walk outside my apartment and run on the National Mall. Running past the monuments and along the Potomac is so inspiring, even if running up Capitol Hill on the way home is a downer.
Where is the best place you’ve traveled and why does it stand out? My wife and I were able to go to Glacier National Park in Montana a few years ago. We went during the snowy off-season – we hiked about 8 miles and the only living beings we saw were some moose (thankfully no bears). We stayed in a small, picturesque town outside the park called Whitefish and absolutely loved it. I hope to visit again sometime soon.
What’s the last book you read? Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead. A new spin on the crime thriller, I recommend this quick and vivid read.
What was the last concert you attended? The last concert I attended was Chris Stapleton at Jiffy Lube in August. Even after the sun went down, it was still over 90 degrees, but he played his full set in jeans, a flannel shirt, and his long beard and hair. No idea how he did it, but it was a great show.