Carleton University celebrates 75 years since founding

More than 200 alumni and special guests were in attendance to mark the founding of Carleton University at the Chateau Laurier 75 years earlier

Alumni and distinguished guests gathered at Chateau Laurier on Sunday to mark the occasion

Carleton University graduate and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson presents a key to the city to Chancellor Charles Chi, outgoing President Roseann O’Reilly Runte and Board of Governors Chair Chris Carruthers and at the Chateau Laurier on June 18, 2017. (David Corrigan/CBC)

More than 200 Carleton University alumni and special guests gathered at the Chateau Laurier on Sunday afternoon to mark 75 years since the founding of the university.

On June 18, 1942 the Ottawa Association for the Advancement of Learning was formed during a meeting at the hotel, with a mandate to assume responsibility for Carleton College, as it was then known.

At that same meeting, Carleton elected its first board of governors and appointed its first president.

Since then, more than 140,000 graduates have passed through its doors, in 65 different programs of study.

Longtime Federal Court judge Fred Gibson comes from a family with Carleton in their blood.

"I graduated in 1956. And my father before me was a founder of Carleton. And I have three kids, all of them are graduates of Carleton. So I represent three generations here today," said Gibson.

The Dunton Tower rises over Carleton University in Ottawa. (Danny Globerman/CBC)

For Gibson, Carleton's special place in the world can be traced back to the Second World War.

"Carleton was born and grew up in the shadow of the Second World War," he said. "And that provided a unique base from which Carleton has spread its wings internationally—but at the same time, focused on the advantages that its situation in the nation's capital provides."  

Another graduate who was in attendance on Sunday is Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. He presented the university with a key to the city.

"I give Carleton a lot of credit for any small success that I've had," he said. "It was a great place to learn and get involved in extracurricular activities. So I'm happy to be here celebrating its 75th anniversary."

Indeed, it was at Carleton University that Watson was elected president of the Residence Association, just the first of several electoral successes in his life.

Trudeau sends message via video

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also expressed his congratulations in a video message.

"It's been quite the journey since Carleton first opened its doors right here in the Chateau Laurier," he said.

"From those beginnings, you've grown to be a leader in higher education and you've helped over a 100,000 graduates take their first steps down their paths to success. Your alums are world-renowned journalists, tech executives, artists of all kinds, diplomats, civil servants, and leaders in communities around the world."

Events celebrating the 75th anniversary will continue throughout the summer and fall.

Carleton University in Ottawa. (Danny Globerman/CBC)