The Carleton University community was saddened to learn of the passing of William E. Beckel, who served as the university’s eighth President from 1979 to 1989.
“On behalf of the entire Carleton community, I offer my deepest condolences to the Beckel family,” said Carleton President Benoit-Antoine Bacon. “William Beckel provided exemplary leadership during a critical period of Carleton’s evolution, and his tireless dedication to students and to this institution helped define who we are today. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”
In his decade as president, Beckel oversaw the establishment of Carleton’s School of Computer Science, Institute of Women’s Studies, Institute of Political Economy and Canada’s first Bachelor of Engineering program in aerospace engineering.
He also led a major strengthening of Carleton’s joint programs with the University of Ottawa, including the creation of the shared centres for graduate studies in Chemistry, Geoscience, Biology, Physics, Electrical Engineering and Neuroscience, and a joint PhD program in Economics.
In his farewell address in June 1989, while being lauded for his role at the helm during “10 glorious years,” Beckel shared the credit with the large team that he worked with, from fellow administrators, faculty and members of the Board of Governors to students and front-line staff.
“I am continually amazed by how truly great you people are,” he said. “Everyone from managers to secretaries to students to faculty to groundskeepers, you have all contributed to the success of Carleton University. If there has been any glory earned in these 10 glorious years, it has been earned by us all.”
Born in Kingston., Ont., Beckel was a zoologist who became the first dean of the University of Toronto’s Scarborough College in 1964 and served as president of the University of Lethbridge from 1971 to 1979.
He was awarded honourary degrees by both Carleton and the University of Ottawa in 1989.
In honour of Beckel’s leadership and service to the Carleton community, the university’s flag will be lowered to half-staff position on the day of his funeral.
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