Alumni College features panel discussions and lectures by faculty members and alumni on cutting edge scholarship, Carleton initiatives, and other timely issues.

Reunion 2016 marks the beginning of a year-long celebration of the College’s 150th anniversary. The sesquicentennial itself will be celebrated on campus October 14-16, 2016 (the College’s founding date is October 12, 1866). Events honoring people, places, traditions and significant events in Carleton’s history will be held around the country throughout the sesquicentennial year.

During Reunion weekend, Alumni College lectures will delve into Carleton’s history and explore Carleton’s future as a leader in the liberal arts. Below are presentations currently planned, subject to change.

Reunion 2016 Alumni College Presentations

A Beacon So Bright: The Life of Laurence McKinley Gould, presented by Senior Associate in Archives Eric Hillemann. In this presentation, Hillemann will offer perspectives on his biography “A Beacon So Bright: The Life of Laurence McKinley Gould,” which chronicles the namesake of the College’s library—a man who served for thirty years as a professor of geology and as Carleton’s “colorful and charismatic” fourth president. A book signing will follow the lecture.

Utility Master Planning for the 21st Century, presented by Carleton Manager of Campus Energy and Sustainability Martha Larson, will provide an overview of utility master planning strategies that explore an ambitious transition to forward-looking technologies such as low temperature hot water, heat pumps, geothermal and solar thermal systems.  

From Northfield to Johannesburg: Searching for Nokutela, a Forgotten Woman Pioneer. Cherif Keita, William H. Laird Professor of French and the Liberal Arts, will talk about his search for the grave of Nokutela Mdima Dube (1873-1917), a forgotten heroine of the South African liberation. During this presentation, Keita will also share an excerpt from his most recent film, Remembering Nokutela.

The Golden Age of Entrepreneurship. Innovations in technology, access to crowdfunding resources, the continued rise of start-ups, and increased attention to providing young people with the tools they need for success through college coursework and co-curricular opportunities have led to what some are calling “The Golden Age of Entrepreneurship.” This session will explore what Carleton and other institutions of higher education are doing to stay ahead of the curve and provide opportunities that foster an entrepreneurial spirit among our students. Presenters include Nathan Grawe, Chair of Economics and Ada M. Harrison Distinguished Teaching Professor of the Social Sciences at Carleton, Robert Will ’50, Carleton’s Raymond Plank Professor of Incentive Economics, Emeritus, and Eric Carlson ’66, who after an extensive Silicon Valley career served at Santa Clara University as Director of the Global Social Benefit Institute and Dean’s Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Leavey School of Business, specializing in social entrepreneurship.

Carleton’s Distinctive Strength in the Sciences. In this panel presentation, Professor of Chemistry Gretchen Hofmeister ’85, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry Jerry Mohrig, and Professor of Physics and Astronomy and Carleton’s Marjorie Crabb Garbisch Professor of the Liberal Arts Cindy Blaha will reflect upon how Carleton has emerged as a national leader in the sciences, and talk about the college’s role in educating scientists of the future-and will offer a sneak peek of the plans for Carleton’s newest science facility.

Religious and Spiritual Life at Carleton through the Decades. Carleton Chaplain Carolyn Fure-Slocum ’82 P’12 and Bruce Colwell will present a brief history of religious life at Carleton. From the founding of the College by the Congregationalists, the building of Skinner Memorial Chapel in 1916, the hiring of Carleton’s first Chaplain, the end of mandatory Chapel, and the founding of the Druids, to what the Chaplain’s office does today and observations about the state of religious and interfaith life on campus, this presentation will try to capture 150 years of spiritual life at Carleton. Fure-Slocum will be joined by a panel of alumni offering reflections on how Carleton shaped their own spiritual lives.

Interdisciplinarity at Carleton. Computer science is a rapidly growing and changing field, and computer science at Carleton is no exception. In the past few years, we’ve doubled the number of students and the number of faculty in CS, and the profile of the “typical” student and faculty member has changed. How have we handled this growth? What are CS students and faculty doing these days, both inside and outside the classroom? CS Professors Amy Csizmar Dalal, David Liben-Nowell, Layla Oesper, and Jeff Ondich will talk about the interdisciplinary work that Carleton faculty and students are doing, how civic engagement is being integrated into classrooms and Comps, and all the other exciting things going in on the CS department these days.

Music At Carleton: Now And Then, presented by Dye Family Professor of Music, Emeritus Steve Kelly and professor of music Andy Flory. The Carleton Music Department has been housed in the beautiful classic Music Hall since 1914 and the less beautiful less classic Music and Drama Center since 1971. The department is now poised to move to a new facility offering better spaces for our curriculum and performance, and many opportunities for collaboration with our neighbors in the Weitz Center for Creativity. It seems like an appropriate time to take a brief look at where the Department has been, where it is now, and where it might go in the coming decades. Led by the team of a “classic” emeritus professor and a “less classic” and newer faculty member, this presentation will mix historical facts and anecdotes, and showcase vintage recordings and archival materials, to tell the story of a Department that has been central to the experiences of many Carleton students.

The Nason Era to Today. In this talk, Nason Professor of Religion and Asian Studies, Emeritus Bardwell Smith will offer a sense of what Carleton was like when he arrived in 1960 and reflect on how the College evolved, in part because of a rapidly changing social scene, into an institution with a significantly more inclusive and transparent governance system, a richer curriculum, a much more diverse student body and faculty, and a more systematic evaluation of faculty than had ever existed before. Imagining it almost as a Rip Van Winkle moment, if one had experienced Carleton prior to the mid-60s and then returned, as if from a dream, decades later, one would discover an unimaginably new world and recognize how the evolving educational process is almost completely different than it was fifty years ago.