Friday, May 1, 2020

Zac McFarland originally wanted to play professional football, but picked Esq. over ESPN. The University of Iowa College of Law student will join the Minneapolis law firm Frederickson & Byron after graduation.

Story: Tom Snee  |   Photography: Tim Schoon


Barack Obama changed the course of Zac McFarland’s life. 

Then a 12-year-old growing up in St. Cloud, Minnesota, McFarland dreamed of a professional football career someday. But after seeing Obama elected president, he realized he had other opportunities besides sports (although he did keep playing football, all the way through the end of his undergraduate career at Division III St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota).

“He was a lot like me, the first person I knew of who had a similar experience as I did, a half-black kid with a white single mother,” says McFarland. His admiration was cemented further when he met Obama during a White House ceremony two years later, an experience McFarland describes as “surreal.”

The inspiration continued to drive him, through his undergraduate experience at St. John’s University in Minnesota and then to the University of Iowa College of Law, where he’ll graduate with a law degree this spring. He’ll head back home for a job with the Minneapolis law firm of Frederickson & Byron.

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