The Carleton Alumni Association is as old and vibrant as the College itself. Its membership consists of all persons who ever matriculated as students at the College. It is now an organization that is international in scope with more than 28,000 alumni throughout the world.

The purpose of the Carleton Alumni Association is to strengthen the ties between alumni and the College, and among alumni, developing and affirming the culture of alumni stewardship. The Association is comprised of individual members, class organizations (particularly active during their reunion years), and groups of alumni (e.g. the Chicago Regional Carls, the Multicultural Alumni Network, etc.) organized to promote and coordinate alumni activities. 

The Association is led by the Carleton Alumni Council, with about 25 active directors. The Alumni Council selects individuals to receive Alumni Association Awards for Distinguished Achievement, Exceptional Service, and In the Spirit of Carleton, presented at an awards ceremony during Reunion weekend each June.

Alumni support Carleton through both organized and individual activities, on and off-campus, including assistance to the Office of Admissions (through the Alumni Admissions Program) the Career Center, the Alumni Annual Fund, and academic departments of the College. Alumni are also represented on the Board of Trustees and on the College Council. In turn, Carleton serves its alumni by keeping them informed through publications like The Carleton Voice, regional and class communications and the Carleton web site. The College also sponsors reunions, meetings, seminars, workshops, off-campus activities, lifelong learning opportunities, and other functions that bring together alumni, faculty, parents, friends, and students. The Office of Alumni Relations is the primary point of contact between the College and its alumni.