As Carleton University’s latest group of future alumni prepare to receive their degrees this November— bringing the Class of 2021 to a record-breaking 6,800 graduates—they share the season with the celebration of another notable cohort: its first graduating class. Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, marks the 75th anniversary of the very first degrees awarded by the school in 1946.

On that momentous occasion in 1946, a grand total of six degrees were presented to three public administration graduates and three journalism graduates.

Then located on First Avenue in Ottawa’s Glebe neighbourhood, Carleton had been founded four years earlier to provide opportunities to men and women returning from serving in the Second World War, or those seeking more education following the Great Depression.

A newspaper clipping from Carleton's first Convocation

The Carleton, November 7, 1946

While the event was a ground-breaking one for Carleton, it was also a historic moment for journalism in Canada, as the three graduating students—all women—departed from the nation’s first Bachelor of Journalism degree program. It had been founded in 1945.

Carleton’s first President, Henry Marshall Tory, honourary Chair Philip D. Ross and then Vice-President Maxwell MacOdrum, who would later succeed Tory as university president, presided over the proceedings. Canada’s Governor General, Viscount Alexander, addressed the assembled guests.

From those humble beginnings in the mid 20th century, Carleton became a leading post-secondary institution in Canada, delivering world-class research and offering a wide range of programs for undergraduate and graduate students. Carleton has continued to grow its roots in both the local and global community and now counts more than 168,000 graduates in its alumni network worldwide.

Carleton University campus

Carleton Newsroom

Friday, October 22, 2021 in
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