President Oden’s Letter to Carleton Community Regarding June 2010 Retirement

25 September 2009

Dear Members of the Carleton Community,
Yesterday, I personally informed all Trustees on our Board’s Executive Committee and then called all other Carleton Trustees to tell them of my plan to retire at the conclusion of the current academic year. My wife, Teresa, and I have devoted a great many hours to considering this decision over recent months and I wanted to inform our Trustees and now all of you as soon as our deliberations had reached the conclusion that the time to retire is this coming June. Please see the attached letter from Board Chair Jack Eugster for his thoughtful response.

June of 2010 will mark the conclusion of the eighth year that I have served as Carleton’s president, the end of the twenty-first year that I have had the honor and privilege of leading educational institutions. These years, and especially the Carleton years, have been filled with the friendships and opportunities and profound satisfactions that few positions can offer to anyone. Still, I do sense that the full energy I have proudly devoted to leading Carleton will someday begin to diminish and that the time to retire is soon, while my enthusiasm and energy remain undiminished. Teresa and I long to live closer to our children and grandchildren, in New Hampshire and New York, and we long to travel and read and walk and enjoy one another’s company as we cannot in a role as properly demanding as that of Carleton’s President. And, yes, I long for a few more days fly-fishing for trout and Atlantic Salmon each year than have been possible for two decades. You have my pledge that my commitment to doing all I can do for Carleton remains fully in place throughout the current academic year. 

Though I can hardly claim that the responsibilities of Carleton’s president are those I have always fulfilled as I might have wished, or that all of our goals have been fulfilled, I am immensely grateful to everyone for the ways in which we have worked together to advance the College. We have changed in order to remain the same, so that the enduring traits which characterize this remarkable college remain in place and stronger than ever. Intellectual curiosity; the marked absence of corrosive competition; an openness to new ideas, new people, new worlds; the ready exercise of a distinctive and defining sense of humor, often at our own expense; teaching and learning collaboration that obtains rarely elsewhere; good, old-fashioned Minnesota discipline and a continuing confidence that any and all success demands hard work; students, faculty, and staff engaged in learning in the company of friends– it is these and allied traits which I will forever associate with Carleton.

So that you have a chance to hear directly from me and from Jack Eugster, I invite you to join us this coming Monday, September 28, at 3:30 p.m. in Great Space for brief remarks and social time. Light refreshments will be available.

For nearly eight years, Teresa and I have felt a part of Carleton, Carleton a part of us, and this link will forever be with us. The support, friendship, wise counsel, collaboration all of you have offered, always, to us is that for which we will forever be grateful. And our gratitude to all of you will long outlive our Carleton years.

Thank you.


Robert A. Oden, Jr.

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