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

During Reunion weekend, Alumni College lectures delve into Carleton’s history and explore Carleton’s future as a leader in the liberal arts. Below are this year’s presentations. Several sessions will be featured on the Reunion 2019 Videos page.

Reunion 2019 Alumni College Presentations

A Conversation with Writers Prof. Gregory Blake Smith & Bonnie Nadzam ’99

A Friendship with Words: A Conversation with Writers

Presented by writers Gregory Blake Smith, Lloyd P. Johnson-Norwest Professor of English and the Liberal Arts, and Bonnie Nadzam ’99.

The two acclaimed writers will talk about their writing process, works in progress, and whether or not inspiration really exists.

The Crusades, Apocalyptic Prophecy, and the End of History with Jay Rubenstein ’89

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream: The Crusades, Apocalyptic Prophecy, and the End of History

Presented by Jay Rubenstein ’89, the Alvin and Sally Beaman Professor of History at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

As legend has it, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was troubled by the dream of a statue made of four metals and feet of clay, and the Israelite prophet Daniel claimed that his dream foretold the rise and fall of empires and the eventual end of all history. Later voices, however, applied that claim to their own era, particularly in the aftermath of the First Crusade (1096-1099). The conquest of Jerusalem and the possibility of a new Christian empire unleashed a torrent of historical speculation and an apocalyptic vision of a world divided between East and West, Christianity and Islam, that still haunts our own dreams today.

Retrospectives on Admissions with Paul Thiboutot

Retrospectives on Admissions: 1987-2019

Presented by Paul Thiboutot, Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid.

Retiring Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Paul Thiboutot will share retrospectives of his 30+ years leading the admissions office at Carleton. Paul will talk about the experience of college admissions and financial aid from the domestic to international applicant experience, the dominant issues of the decades, the nature of selectivity and affirmative action, interwoven with specific references to Carleton and what the future has in store, using his proverbial crystal ball, generally as reliable as predictive analytics.

Geothermal at Carleton with Martha Larson

Geothermal Under the Bald Spot

Presented by Manager of Campus Energy and Sustainability Martha Larson.

Martha Larson, Manager of Campus Energy and Sustainability, presents “Geothermal Under the Bald Spot? Utility Master Planning for the 21st Century.” When it was constructed in 1910, Carleton’s central utility plant incorporated the most current technologies of its time. One century later, the 2011 Climate Action Plan, 2012 Strategic Plan and 2014 Facilities Master Plan define goals and direction for decades of future campus growth and development. Combined with the need to address aging infrastructure, these plans present an opportunity to think creatively about the future of Carleton’s central utilities. This presentation 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, and geothermal and solar thermal systems.

Protest in the Digital Era with Prof. Devashree Gupta

Social Movements and Protest in the Digital Era

Presented by Devashree Gupta, Associate Professor of Political Science.

While many people use social media in their daily lives, have you ever considered using it to spark a revolution? In this talk, Political Science professor Devashree Gupta will focus on the role that “Internet 2.0” — social media in particular — play in mobilizing activists and staging protests. Using examples, including the Arab Spring uprisings and the “hacktivism” of groups like Anonymous, she will map out some of the different ways in which the internet can play a role in protest, talk about ways in which this relationship between virtual activism and activism in the physical world is evolving, and identify some of the challenges that emerge when protest goes online, wholly or in part.

Supporting Excellent Teaching at Carleton with Melissa Eblen-Zayas

Colleagues, Conversations, and Connections: Supporting Excellent Teaching at Carleton

Presented by Melissa Eblen-Zayas, Director, Perlman Center for Learning and Teaching, and Humphrey Doermann, Professor of Liberal Learning and Professor of Physics.

The Perlman Center for Learning and Teaching (LTC) is designed to foster collegial conversations among faculty and staff about a broad array of topics related to teaching and learning. In addition to working with new faculty and providing avenues for faculty to observe each other’s classrooms, the LTC also hosts a weekly lunch series where faculty and staff discuss challenges and share successes. In this session, I will reflect on three themes in recent LTC programming: designing porous classrooms that create stronger connections with the world beyond Carleton; teaching with the mental health and wellness of a diverse student population in mind; and supporting civil discourse, information literacy, and difficult conversations in an era of polarization.

Historic Importance of Performing Arts at Carleton, with emeriti faculty

The History and Impact of the Performing Arts@Carleton

Presented by an emeriti faculty panel.

Mary Easter, Rae Schupack Nathan Professor of Dance and the Performing Arts, Emerita; Stephen Kelly, Dye Family Professor of Music, Emeritus; John Schott, James Woodward Strong Professor of the Liberal Arts, Emeritus; Ruth Weiner, Class of 1944 Professor of English, Theater and the Liberal Arts, Emerita share the stories and histories of the formations and evolution of the dance, cinema and media studies, theater and music programs. Moderated by Steven Richardson ’86, Puzak Family Director of the Arts.

Arctic and Antarctic Alumni Adventures with Prof. Mary Savina ’72 & Lance Ihlinger ’79

Arctic and Antarctic Alumni Adventures

Presented by Mary Savina ’72, Charles L. Denison Professor of Geology, and Lance Ihlinger ’79.

Travel to Iceland and Antarctica and learn about the excitement and discovery that occurs on Carleton Alumni Adventures excursions. Prof. Savina and Mr. Ihinger will share their experiences on Carleton’s cruise to President Gould’s favorite destination of Earth’s “last frontier” of Antarctica and Prof. Savina will invite travelers to her upcoming journey to Iceland’s landscapes of Fire and Ice.