Dear Carleton Friend,
Photos by Luther Caverly
I was recently asked by a friend of mine, who did not graduate from Carleton, what makes Carleton different from other university experiences across Canada. It’s an interesting question to reflect upon. I told my friend that if you are from Carleton, you know the answer to this question. As he was not, I was happy to elaborate.
I like to tell the story of my cousin James Villeneuve, BA/85, who was a student leader in his time at Carleton. At one point, he was an executive for Labatt Breweries, and over the years, he would hire summer students for these coveted student positions. As you can imagine, he had applications from a wide array of post-secondary institutions. He told me that he found himself time and time again hiring Carleton students. I remember challenging him on whether he had an inherent bias for his alma mater.
With sincerity, he did not.
He continuously hired Carleton students because they never said the words “I can’t.” He discovered Carleton students always found a way around a problem and never gave excuses—never a hint of entitlement. We’ll work harder and smarter to solve a challenge, and just like that, we’ll move on to the next opportunity without any real need for recognition.
That is Carleton for me. We are the graduates who are sometimes underestimated but always overachieve. Personally, I like being in that space.
And you see that every day by the leadership positions we hold in fields such as politics, journalism, engineering, business, social work—and the list goes on.
My cousin James has recently been appointed consul general to Los Angeles, helping Canadian businesses succeed there. I am proud of his achievements as I’m proud of all Carleton’s alumni ambassadors globally who continue to demonstrate our strong character, Carleton’s character, in all that we do.
President, Carleton University