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Polly Nason McCrea '62

Exceptional Service

Polly Nason McCrea '62Discerning, engaging, compassionate, and astute are among the words nominators used to describe Polly Nason McCrea. She also has been called a highly revered leader with a keen intellect and a “talented listener.”

McCrea has served Carleton with diligence and flair ever since graduating as a biology major. She has been a part of every Class of ’62 reunion planning committee (including the class’s record-breaking 25th reunion) and chaired the class’s 50th reunion program committee this year, having been a co-chair of her 40th reunion.

Since 1990 McCrea has been a valued member of the five-person Lofgren Fellowship selection committee, devoting time annually to choosing recipients of this meaningful and often life-changing award. Her own experiences as a small business owner give her useful insight into candidates’ goals, helping the committee ascertain which applicant would make the most of the fellowship opportunity.

From 2004–2008, McCrea was an alumni trustee on Carleton’s Board of Trustees; she served on both the enrollment/ admissions and external relations committees and was a trustee liaison to the Alumni Council.

In addition, McCrea has been a Carleton Alumni Annual Fund assistant class agent for more than 15 years, contributing a great deal to the Class of ’62’s continued bar-raising gifts and class participation rates.

After completing her Carleton biology degree, McCrea worked at Stanford Medical Center as a radiology research assistant and as a medical research assistant at the University of Minnesota Medical School (1962–1967). She was a partner from 1970–1980 in The Needle Nest, and from 1980–1987 she managed (and founded) Collector’s Gallery, a manufacturer and marketer of specialty stationery and gift packaging products.

McCrea has a lengthy volunteer service resume in addition to the time she has given to Carleton. Among the other beneficiaries of her talent are the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Opportunity International USA, the Minneapolis YWCA, the Greater Twin Cities United Way, Voyageur Outward Bound School, St. Martin’s by-the-Lake Episcopal Church, and CARE.

Her Carleton roots are shared with numerous family members, including her late father and mother, Philip Nason ’33 and Katherine Berge Nason ’33, uncle John W. Nason ’26, and additional uncles, aunts, grandparents, and cousins. McCrea and her husband, Robert McCrea, live in Long Lake, Minnesota; they have three children and nine grandchildren. 

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