By Dan Rubinstein
Photos by Chris Roussakis

At the invitation of President Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Carleton University faculty and staff got together to celebrate last year’s accomplishments and look ahead to the 2019-‘20 academic year at a pair of community breakfasts on Aug. 28 and 29, 2019.

The gatherings in the University Centre food court featured remarks from Bacon, who noted that 12 months have passed since he joined Carleton and first presided over a welcome-back breakfast last year.

“It really means a lot that you are all here this morning,” Bacon said at this year’s first breakfast. “Carleton has a reputation as a warm and welcoming community, and I’ve really felt that every day since I’ve joined — every day — and I feel it this morning. It feels great to be here and to serve this great community.”

Bacon welcomed new members of the community and said he couldn’t wait to welcome more than 31,000 students to campus, pointing out that the youngest of the new group were born in 2001.

He also cited other impressive figures: about 5,000 graduates received their degrees at Convocation last spring, research funding increased from about $55 million to more than $70 million last year (Carleton’s biggest annual increase ever), and the Collaborate fundraising campaign came to a successful conclusion last year, surpassing its $300-million goal with more than 29,000 donors contributing gifts that have helped the university establish more than 400 new scholarships.

“These numbers,” said Bacon, “are a proxy for impact.”

Shifting to the year ahead, Bacon highlighted Carleton’s array of support services for students, including the university’s unique Therapy Dogs program, which is expanding in size this September.

“I love this program,” he said. “These are real Carleton people with their own dogs. I think that says something powerful about our sense of community. And this year we are doubling the number of dogs, and of their humans.”

He also talked about other efforts to make the community more inclusive, including the work of the Carleton University Indigenous Strategic Initiatives Committee, and the continued development of campus infrastructure, such as the new Smart Environments Building — which hosted a preview event on Aug. 27, 2019 — and the rapidly rising Nicol Building, a new home for the Sprott School of Business.

“We have momentum — we do — and we need to use it,” said Bacon. “If we do things right, Carleton is exactly the type of school that’s really going to thrive over the next few decades thanks to our size, our location and our values. We’re more flexible, we’re better connected and we’re willing to try things.”

In closing, he talked about the importance of the process that will lead to the development of the university’s next Strategic Integrated Plan (SIP).

“The vision and objectives laid out in our last SIP, which took us from 2013 to 2018, have by and large been realized,” said Bacon. “Now we need to write the next chapter. We will consult in a broad and inclusive way, so it becomes our plan.

“We are a unique institution with a rich history, strong values and unique strengths. To get this next chapter right, we need to anchor this plan in our past, but also recognize that the world is changing and embrace that change.”

Thursday, August 29, 2019 in
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