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History

1942-2021

Carleton University’s roots as a non-denominational college supported in part by charitable donations from the Ottawa community make it unique among Ontario universities. Founded in 1942, Carleton was created in response to the need to help provide the young people in Ottawa, many of whom had taken on jobs to cope with the pressures of the Depression, with an opportunity to continue their formal education.

From its humble beginnings on Ottawa’s First Avenue, Carleton has grown into a dynamic research and teaching institution with a tradition of anticipating and leading change. Today, the university sits on more than 100 acres, on a site between the Rideau River and the Rideau Canal, just a short distance from downtown Ottawa.

The university provides an excellent education and experience to its more than 24,000 full- and part-time students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Its more than 875 academic staff are recognized internationally for their scholarship and cutting-edge research in more than 50 disciplines.

Carleton’s reputation is built on its strengths in the fields of journalism, public affairs, international affairs, architecture and high technology. Its students benefit from the interdisciplinary, active, hands-on approach to teaching and research practiced by its faculty members and from the numerous partnerships the university has with the federal government, other universities and private sector partners.

I learned very early the life lesson that it is people, not buildings, that make up an institution. And if we put our hearts to it we can do something worthwhile.

Henry Marshall Tory

Historical Timeline

Carleton’s future promises to be as bright and exciting as its past.

December 1, 1941

The YMCA Board of Directors appointed Dr. Tory as Chair of the College Grade Education Committee. The committee was to study the possibility of establishing a non-sectarian post-secondary institution for part-time evening study in Ottawa. At that time the YMCA was located at the current site of the Hotel Roxborough.

December 1, 1941

May 1942

YMCA College Grade Education Committee became the Carleton College Committee with the adoption of the name “Carleton College” for the operations of the undergraduate program.

May 1942

June 18, 1942

The Ottawa Association for the Advancement of Learning was established to assume the responsibility for the operation of Carleton College and later the Institute of Public Administration. At the same meeting, the first Board of Governors was elected, and Dr. Tory was appointed President and elected Chairman of the Board.

June 18, 1942

September 21, 1942

Classes began at the High School of Commerce (now Glebe Collegiate).

September 21, 1942

October 4, 1943

Established in the summer of 1943, the Institute of Public Administration opened its first classes on this date.

October 4, 1943

March 19, 1945

The College offered the first day classes as a series of special intensive Matriculation courses to returning veterans and hired full-time instructors to teach these courses.

March 19, 1945

1945

During 1945-46, the College consolidated courses in arts, pure science, journalism, and applied science and engineering in a Faculty of Arts and Science, and reorganized the Institute of Public Administration as a Faculty of Public Administration.

1945

September 16, 1946

Classes began at the first permanent location on 1st Avenue – formerly the Ottawa Ladies College (was used as a barracks for the Canadian Women’s Army Corps during the war).

September 16, 1946

October 23, 1946

First degrees were presented at the convocation ceremonies on this date – three in journalism and three in public administration.

October 23, 1946

1947

The College committed itself to complete Major and Honours courses, the third year of the program being offered for the first time in 1947-48, the fourth year in 1948-49, and the fifth (Honours) year in 1949-50.

Harry and Wilson Southam donate 39 acres of land south of Dow’s Lake.

1947

February 6, 1947

Dr. Henry Marshall Tory dies. His assistant and Vice-President of the College, Dr. Murdoch Maxwell MacOdrum, is appointed by the Board of Governors to succeed him as President on February 18,1947.

February 6, 1947

September 1, 1947

The first full-time teaching appointments in the ranks of lecturer, assistant professor, associate professor, and professor became effective on this date.

September 1, 1947

September 30 to October 7, 1948

School of Social Work established.

September 30 to October 7, 1948

1949

Formation of Senate. First Pass degrees in Arts, Science, and Commerce were conferred at May convocation.

Harry Stevenson Southam became first Chancellor.

1949

1950

The first Honours degrees in Arts, Science, and Commerce were conferred at May convocation.

1950

1952

Ravens won first Panda football game against the University of Ottawa.

1952

April 10, 1952

The Carleton College Act was given royal assent. Carleton University was the first academic institution within the Queen’s Realms to be chartered in Her Majesty’s reign (April, 1952). The statute 1 Elizabeth II. c.18 of the Province of Ontario (amended in 1957 – see below) provided and defined the University’s powers including the power to grant degrees.

April 10, 1952

1953

Establishment of the School of Public Administration.

1953

February 26, 1954

The first honorary degree of LL.D. was conferred on Dag Hammarskjold, Secretary General of the United Nations.

February 26, 1954

1955

A.Y. Jackson and H. Northrop Frye received honorary degrees.

1955

March 2, 1955

Dr. M.M. MacOdrum dies and is succeeded in an acting capacity for the 1955-56 academic year by the Dean of Arts and Science, Dr. James Alexander Gibson.

March 2, 1955

May 1955

First Master’s degree awarded.

May 1955

October 16, 1956

Sod-turning ceremony at the Rideau River campus site

October 16, 1956

November 13, 1956

After having been appointed earlier that year, Dr. Claude Thomas Bissell was officially installed as Carleton College’s fourth president on this date.

November 13, 1956

1957

Establishment of the Institute of Canadian Studies.

School of Engineering established.

1957

February 1957

Carleton College became Carleton University when the Carleton College Act (see above) was amended to change the name.

February 1957

October 15, 1957

Leslie Frost, Premier of Ontario, laid the cornerstone for the H.M. Tory Building. This was the first cornerstone ceremony on the new Rideau River campus.

October 15, 1957

June 20, 1958

Official dedication of the Maxwell MacOdrum Library. This was the first building to be completed at the new Rideau River campus.

June 20, 1958

July 4, 1958

A. D. Dunton appointed President of Carleton University. He was subsequently installed as President on the 7th of November, 1958.

July 4, 1958

February 12, 1960

Leslie M. Frost, Premier of Ontario, officially opened the Rideau River campus of Carleton University. The campus at that time consisted of the Henry Marshall Tory Building (Science), the Maxwell MacOdrum Library and the Norman Paterson Hall (Arts). Classes actually began at the new campus in September 1959.

February 12, 1960

May 26, 1961

Frank Patten, member of the original YMCA committee which established Carleton College, received an honorary degree.

May 26, 1961

October 13, 1961

The first Doctor of Philosophy degree (Mathematics) was conferred on Peter Ivan Fellegi, now a member of the Board of Governors. The first degrees in engineering were awarded.

October 13, 1961

1962

First PhD in engineering awarded.

1962

September 1962

Students are accommodated in residences for the first time.

September 1962

February 15, 1963

The formal opening of H.S. Southam Hall (including Alumni Theatre), University Commons, Lanark House, Renfrew House, the University Union (including the Gymnasium and recreational facilities), the extension to Norman Paterson Hall (Arts) and the sixth level of the Henry Marshall Tory Building (Science).

February 15, 1963

September 1963

Academic units are reorganized into Faculties of Arts, Engineering, Science, and graduate studies. Committee on Soviet and East European Studies is established.

September 1963

March 11, 1965

The formal opening of the C J. Mackenzie Building for Engineering. Classes were first held there in September 1964.

March 11, 1965

September 1965

Opening of Grenville-Russell House – Student Residence.

September 1965

October 22, 1965

Formal dedication of the E.W.R. Steacie Building (Chemistry). Classes began in the new building in September 1965.

October 22, 1965

1966

First PhD in engineering awarded.

1966

September 1966

Classes began in the Herzberg Laboratories. Establishment of the School of International Affairs, School of Commerce, and Comparative Literature Committee.

September 1966

September 1967

Integration of St. Patrick’s College as a division of the Faculty of Arts, and of the School of Social Work on the St. Patrick’s campus.

September 1967

December 1, 1967

Official opening of the Loeb Building.

December 1, 1967

September 1968

Establishment of the School of Architecture. New University Government established with student representatives at all levels of the University system from departments to Board of Governors. Inauguration of the academic exchange agreement between Carleton and the University of Leningrad.

September 1968

1969

Former prime minister Lester B. Pearson became Chancellor.

1969

September 1969

Administration Building and the Environmental Laboratories (ELBA) opened.

September 1969

September 1970

Agreement completed between Carleton and the University of Ottawa to accept “visiting” students at the graduate level. Biochemistry degree program initiated. The Institute of Soviet and East European Studies is established.

September 1970

September 21, 1970

Official opening of Dunton Tower.

September 21, 1970

September 25, 1970

Official opening of the University Centre (called the “Unicentre”)

September 25, 1970

September 1972

School of Social Work moves to Rideau River Campus. Exchange program with the University de Savoie, Chambery, France, is inaugurated.

September 1972

February 1972

Official Opening of the Herzberg Laboratories

February 1972

November 3, 1972

Installation of Carleton’s fifth President, Dr. Micheal Oliver.

November 3, 1972

1973

First degrees in Architecture are awarded. School of Industrial Design is established. New physical recreation centre is opened.

Gerhard Herzberg became Chancellor.

1973

January 26, 1973

Official opening of the Architecture Building.

January 26, 1973

October 14, 1973

Official opening of St. Patrick’s Building.

October 14, 1973

1974

Faculty of Graduate Studies renamed Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. School of International Affairs renamed The Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. St. Patrick’s College held first convocation ceremony at Rideau River campus. Exchange agreement with the International Cultural Institute, Budapest, Hungary, inaugurated. New Master’s programs in journalism, anthropology, and religion approved. Program leading to Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language established.

1974

1975

First students enrol in joint Master of Public Administration program offered in conjunction with the University of Ottawa. CKCU-Radio Carleton has FM license approved. New undergraduate programs in Canadian studies and computing science are introduced.

1975

1976

Creation of the Paterson Centre for International Programs to co-ordinate world-wide exchange programs. Division of the Faculty of Arts into the Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences. First Master of Journalism degrees awarded.

1976

April 1977

Criminology and Corrections concentration (later renamed Criminology and Criminal Justice) begun at St. Patrick’s College.

April 1977

September 1978

School of Continuing Education established. Credit courses offered on cable television. Institute of Biochemistry established.

September 1978

1979

St. Patrick’s College ceased to operate as an academic unit of the University. Department of Film Studies established. Ph.D. program in English and French Canadian literature begun. Dr. James Downey is appointed President Pro Tempore for the period January 1 to May 15 until a replacement for Dr. Oliver is found.

1979

July 1, 1979

Dr. William E. Beckel is appointed Carleton’s sixth President. He was installed on November 3,1979.

July 1, 1979

1980

Undergraduate School of Computer Science established.

Robert Gordon Robertson became Chancellor.

1980

1981

Establishment of the Ottawa-Carleton Institute for Research and Graduate Studies in Chemistry and a joint Ph.D. program in Economics, both joint programs with the University of Ottawa. Establishment of the Computer Systems Engineering program in the Faculty of Engineering.

1981

1982

Establishment of the Ottawa-Carleton Centre for Geoscience Studies leading to a Master’s and Ph.D. in Geology and a joint Master’s program in computer science in conjunction with the University of Ottawa. Carleton celebrates its 40th anniversary.

1982

1983

Establishment of four joint graduate programs with the University of Ottawa: the Ottawa-Carleton Centre for Graduate Studies and Research in Biology; the Ottawa-Carleton Centre for Graduate Studies and Research in Physics; the Ottawa-Carleton Institute for Research and Graduate Studies in Electrical Engineering; and the Ottawa-Carleton Graduate Specialization in Neuroscience.

1983

1984

Two new combined Honours programs in the B.Sc. were introduced: Biology and Biotechnology, and Biochemistry and Biotechnology. Joint graduate programs with the University of Ottawa were established in the areas of civil engineering, mechanical and aeronautical engineering, and mathematics and statistics.

1984

1985

Master of Management Studies program established in the School of Business. The School of Public Administration offers a concentration in development administration in conjunction with the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs.

1985

October 28, 1985

Official opening of the addition to the Herzberg Laboratories (School of Computer Science).

October 28, 1985

1986

The Paterson Centre for International Programs is renamed Carleton International with the broader mandate to administer Carleton’s international activities in teaching and research.

1986

September 22, 1986

Official opening of the Social Sciences Research Building.

September 22, 1986

1987

The Institute of Women’s Studies is established. The undergraduate exchange agreement with the University of Ottawa undergoes major revisions and is significantly expanded.

1987

February 7, 1987

A. Davidson Dunton, Carleton’s fourth president and director of the Institute of Canadian Studies, dies. The Arts Tower is renamed the Dunton Tower in his honour.

February 7, 1987

1988

Canada’s first Bachelor of Engineering program in aerospace engineering is established. Bell Northern Research Ltd. and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council provide funding for an Industrial Research Chair in computer-aided engineering within the department of electronics. The departments of electronics and systems and computer engineering are major partners in the Telecommunications Research Institute of Ontario (TRIO), one of seven “centres of excellence” chosen by the provincial government for scientific research. The Faculty of Science introduces co-operative education programs in computer science and biochemistry/biotechnology.

1988

1989

Department of mechanical and aeronautical engineering renamed department of mechanical and aerospace engineering. Institute of Political Economy is established. The Canadian Centre for Trade Policy and Law, a joint initiative of the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and the University of Ottawa, is established. Carleton and Apple Canada Inc. form a partnership in the Apple Research Partnership program. Addition to Southam Hall completed

1989

August 1, 1989

Dr. Robin H. Farquhar is appointed Carleton’s seventh President. He is subsequently installed on November 19,1989.

August 1, 1989

1990

New Ph.D. program in computer science, offered jointly with the University of Ottawa, is established. Introduction of Bachelor of Social Work degree program. The Paul Menton Centre for Persons with Disabilities is opened. The Centre for Research in Particle Physics is established to carry on the work of the National Research Council’s large-scale physics projects.

Pauline Jewett became Chancellor.

1990

March 1990

Opening of the Life Sciences Research Building.

March 1990

1991

The University’s $30 million Challenge Fund campaign surpasses its goal, and a $1.5 million “enhancement” campaign is launched. Introduction of new M.A. programs in political economy, communication, legal studies, and applied language studies. The Faculty of Arts establishes two new schools: one for Studies in Art and Culture and the other for Comparative Literary Studies. The Centre for Analytical and Environmental Chemistry is formed. The Chair for Management in Technological Change is announced. International exchange agreements are formalized between Carleton, Laval, York, and British Columbia, and four Swedish Universities.

1991

January 1991

Opening of Stormont House and Dundas House – Student Residence.

January 1991

February 11, 1991

Opening of the addition to the MacOdrum Library

February 11, 1991

1992

Carleton celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies is established. School of Journalism renamed School of Journalism and Communication.

Centre for Aboriginal Education, Research and Culture is established.

New PhD program in public policy, first of its kind in Canada, offered by School of Public Administration.

1992

September 23, 1992

Opening of Art Gallery in St. Patrick’s Building.

September 23, 1992

October 2, 1992

Opening of the Minto Centre for Applied Studies in Engineering

October 2, 1992

September 1, 1993

Establishment of the Centre for Memory Assessment.

September 1, 1993

1994

Expansion of computing systems at Carleton, extending Internet and email access to all students and faculty.

1994

September 1, 1994

Opening of Research Facility for Electron Microscopy.

September 1, 1994

September 1, 1994

Establishment of PhD program in Public Policy.

September 1, 1994

July 1, 1995

Carleton establishes an Institute of Neuroscience.

July 1, 1995

July 1, 1995

Opening of Carleton Technology and Training Centre (CTTC).

July 1, 1995

May 1, 1996

College of the Humanities established.

May 1, 1996

August 1, 1996

Richard Van Loon becomes President and Vice-Chancellor, serving until 2005.

August 1, 1996

December 2000

Carleton receives its first Canada Research Chair appointment. Zhi Yuan Wang is appointed in Emerging Organic Materials.

December 2000

2001

Opening of Leeds House residence.

2001

September 2, 2002

Opening of the H.H.J. Nesbitt Biology Building.

September 2, 2002

August 28, 2003

Opening of Prescott House residence.

August 28, 2003

April 7, 2003

Environment Canada’s National Wildlife Research Centre opens on campus.

April 7, 2003

September 1, 2003

Marc Garneau is named Chancellor.

September 1, 2003

March 9, 2004

Carleton and University of Ottawa award honorary degree to Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006.

March 9, 2004

August 1, 2005

David W. Atkinson becomes President and Vice-Chancellor.

August 1, 2005

October 6, 2005

Official opening of the Learning Commons in MacOdrum Library.

October 6, 2005

December 19, 2005

Board of Governors approves faculty status for the Sprott School of Business.

December 19, 2005

2006

Samy Mahmoud serves as President (pro tempore) from 2006 to 2008.

2006

Fall 2006

Opening of Human Computer Interface (HCI) and the Centre for Advanced Studies in Visualization and Simulation (V-SIM).

Fall 2006

September 1, 2007

Establishment of Bachelor of Arts in Greek and Roman Studies, Bachelor of Arts in Religion, Master’s concentration in Intelligence and National Security at the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs, Game Development Stream in Computer Science.

September 1, 2007

September 3, 2007

The Science Student Success Centre is established.

September 3, 2007

July 1, 2008

Roseann O’Reilly Runte becomes President and Vice-Chancellor.

July 1, 2008

September 2008

Opening of Frontenac House residence.

September 2008

September 2, 2008

Carleton opens a $5-million, 6,500 square foot state-of-the-art lab in the Steacie Building.

September 2, 2008

January 12, 2009

Establishment of the Institute of African Studies.

January 12, 2009

June 5, 2009

Establishment of the Centre for Monetary and Financial Economics.

June 5, 2009

April 14, 2010

Department of Neuroscience established.

April 14, 2010

June 14, 2010

Opening of the Innovative Language and Brain Lab in Carleton’s School of Linguistics and Language Studies and the Institute of Cognitive Science.

June 14, 2010

August 2, 2010

Launch of Carleton’s Centre of Excellence in Indo-Canadian Relations.

August 2, 2010

January 20, 2011

Canal Building opens.

January 20, 2011

March 25, 2011

Establishment of Canada’s first Carillon program in Carleton’s Bachelor of Music program.

March 25, 2011

August 31, 2011

Establishment of doctoral program in Legal Studies.

August 31, 2011

Fall 2011

Opening of the River Building, later renamed Richcraft Hall.

Fall 2011

November 28, 2011

Carleton opens lab in Collaboration with Hydro Ottawa – the Hydro Ottawa Laboratory for Smart Grid Technologies.

November 28, 2011

January 2, 2012

Establishment of the Institute of Health: Science, Technology, Policy to administer the new graduate program of the same name.

January 2, 2012

April 12, 2012

Carleton launches the new National Confucius Institute.

April 12, 2012

September 6, 2012

Carleton launches first-in-Canada Graduate Degree in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership.

September 6, 2012

2013

Opening of Ojigkwanong Indigenous Student Centre, designed by renowned architect Douglas Cardinal.

2013

August 29, 2013

Carleton opens new 11,000-square-foot Fitness Centre.

August 29, 2013

September 2, 2013

Carleton revives its football team after a hiatus since 1998.

September 2, 2013

December 5, 2013

Opening of renovated and expanded MacOdrum Library.

December 5, 2013

December 12, 2013

Sprott School of Business launches new Entrepreneur Accelerator facility.

December 12, 2013

February 24, 2014

Sprott launches the Sprott MBA in Bogotà, Colombia, in conjunction with the Colegio de Estudios Superiores de Administració (CESA).

February 24, 2014

April 1, 2015

Establishment of Institute of Data Science.

April 1, 2015

September 23, 2015

Opening of Mass Spectrometry Centre.

September 23, 2015

December 14, 2015

Opening of the Centre for Holocaust Education and Scholarship.

December 14, 2015

February 4, 2016

Opening of the Ottawa Research Room in MacOdrum Library.

February 4, 2016

May 26, 2016

Grand opening of the Urbandale Centre for Home Energy Research.

May 26, 2016

June 20, 2016

Establishment of new master’s concentration in Indigenous Policy and Administration.

June 20, 2016

November 26, 2016

First Master of Accounting Class graduates at fall Convocation.

November 26, 2016

January 30, 2017

Announcement of New Open Space Lab.

January 30, 2017

March 27, 2017

Launch of Program for Climate Change Scholars in Sub-Saharan Africa and Canada.

March 27, 2017

August 16, 2017

Establishment of the Global Water Institute.

August 16, 2017

September 1, 2017

Establishment of Diploma Program in Curatorial Studies in conjunction with the National Art Gallery of Canada.

September 1, 2017

September 16, 2017

Carleton celebrates its 75th anniversary.

September 16, 2017

January 2018

Official opening of the Health Sciences Building.

January 2018

July 1, 2018

Benoit-Antoine Bacon appointed as 15th President and Vice-Chancellor.

July 1, 2018

December 4, 2018

Yaprak Baltacioğlu appointed as Carleton’s 12th Chancellor.

December 4, 2018

2018

Carleton purchases the Dominion-Chalmers United Church building.

2018

August 27, 2019

Opening of the ARISE building (Advanced Research and Innovation in Smart Environments).

August 27, 2019

November 19, 2019

The Book Arts Lab opens in MacOdrum Library.

November 19, 2019

Fall 2019

The Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre is renovated and opens as a performing arts and community space.

Fall 2019

May 2020

Release of final report of the Carleton University Strategic Indigenous Initiatives Committee, Kinamagawin (Learning Together).

May 2020

March 8, 2020

Men’s basketball team defeats Dalhousie, giving the Ravens their 15th national basketball championship in the last 18 seasons.

March 8, 2020