A Message from President Poskanzer

26 July 2021

Dear Friends,

Because my term as president of Carleton concludes this month, this will be my last official communication to you. Accordingly, while I have a couple of updates about college leadership transitions to share with you, by far the most important message I want to convey here is thank you.

Thank you for being such caring, devoted, honest, generous, and helpful alumni and friends over the past 11 years. I have learned so much from you and benefitted from your wise counsel and unstinting support. I believe that collectively we have accomplished some extraordinary things to keep Carleton academically distinguished and to position it for even greater success. 

Leadership Transition

As you know, Alison Byerly will take the helm as Carleton’s 12th president on August 1. Alison joins us from Lafayette College, where she has served as president since 2013. I couldn’t be more pleased with this choice. I have come to know Alison well from her status as a fellow Carleton Class of ’15 parent and through academic leadership circles — and she will make a great next leader for Carleton. She is wise, erudite, bold, and energetic. She has sterling academic values and judgement, and she is committed to inclusion, diversity, and equity. And she is a truly decent, self-effacing, empathetic, and good person. She’ll be a superb and visionary president! Read more about President Byerly.

We also have a new dean of the college for the 2021-22 academic year. As our longtime Dean of the College Bev Nagel ’75 headed off for a sabbatical and then retirement, I was excited to fill this key leadership position with one of Carleton’s own and best: Professor of Organic Chemistry Gretchen Hofmeister ’85.

Gretchen has been serving as associate dean since 2016, with responsibility for the development of the annual college budget and for academic facilities projects, including oversight of the enormously complicated design, construction, and renovation of our interdisciplinary science complex. This past year, she has also been a mainstay of Carleton’s COVID-19 Core Planning Team, where her rare combination of wisdom and practicality made it possible to deliver excellent instruction to students and support our faculty in the midst of the pandemic.

The working relationship between the president and the dean is the most important dyad at the college, and I am certain Professor Hofmeister will be a superb partner for President Byerly this coming year.

Record-Smashing Campaign Conclusion

There is one more piece of exciting news that is fitting to share with you here — especially because so many of you made it possible. The Every Carl for Carleton campaign came to a record-breaking close on June 30th. Thanks to the remarkable generosity of so many alumni, parents, and friends, we far surpassed our initial fundraising goal of $400 million and reached a grand total of $491,849,906, including this year’s record $10.6 million Annual Fund total!

Given the principal emphasis we placed throughout the campaign on financial aid, I’m especially proud that we raised more than $154 million to endow need-based scholarships. Indeed, our decision to focus the campaign on endowment — thereby helping to secure the long-term fiscal independence and stability of the college — was also proven correct, with more than $294 million given to endow key priorities in perpetuity.

More details will follow on how the college plans to celebrate this extraordinary achievement. For now, I’ll just note that my gratitude is boundless and is matched only by my excitement over what this staggeringly successful campaign means for current and future generations of students.

Carleton’s future shines so bright because of its brilliant faculty, devoted staff, talented students — and its fiercely loyal alumni, parents, and friends. It has been a profound privilege to serve as president and to be able to work alongside you in stewarding a college that we all love so deeply.


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