You all have heard of Carleton - that’s why you’re on this site. Certainly you’ve heard of some quirks or traditions that keep the students motivated and rambunctious. But, have you heard enough about The Man behind the scenes? Our president, Steven G. Poskanzer, also known as Stevie P, is an incredibly visible individual on campus. He is a goalie for an intramural broomball team, he dresses up for the Halloween costume contest, and he is frequently seen hustling around campus in his suit waving to every student he sees.
We recently had 20 students from Beijing visit campus as one of their stops around Minnesota learning about the American college process. Stevie P went out of his way to stop by and chat with the students. They were SO excited to get to meet him - while they were perhaps expecting to run into a prof or two, they weren't prepared for the president himself to walk by and start chatting with them!
Stevie P took the time to answer their questions and pose for photographs on the sidewalk where it converges between Eat the Lawn, the Music Hall, Laird, and the CMC. As students at Carleton we all have our own favorite Stevie P anecdotes from the school year, but his willingness to speak to any inquisitive mind regardless of age or collegiate affiliation, speaks to the importance community found at this institution.
In addition to hosting new students at his house and office hours, Stevie P also hosts esteemed guests, like long-dead philosophers.
Now for some of our favorite Stevie P anecdotes:
Karen: Stevie P also stops by my tours occasionally. In one instance, he was talking to the group as he normally does, when he noticed my t-shirt sporting the Hogwarts logo. He broke off talking to the group and said, "Great shirt!" I thanked him, and then expected him to go back to talking to my tour. Instead, he proceeded to ask, "What house are you?" I gave my answer, Ravenclaw, to which he replied, "Of course!" This was only one of my awesome interactions with Stevie P over the years - I’ve come to really look forward to seeing him around campus and being sure that I can always rely on exchanging a pleasant word or two with him. For next year, my friends and I have plans to bring tea and cookies to one of his office hours sessions - we think he’d really appreciate it.
Mitch: I’ve had a handful of really great Stevie P experiences (from great Halloween costumes to finding out the trustees also call him “Stevie P”), but I think my favorite is the most telling of his character. I was just leaving the Weitz Center on my way to Goodhue in the pouring rain, one of the longest walks on campus. Since I’m a Minnesotan who always dresses optimistically, I had no kind of rain gear with me. At all. I ran into Stevie P about a block into my walk and asked him how he was doing. He said he was just great (a classic answer), and asked me the same. My response was, “Well, uh, wet.” I should probably mention that our President, who was about a block from his house (Carleton’s version of the White House), was wearing an immaculate suit and carrying a huge umbrella as the rain came down in not just buckets, but barrels and tubs. He asked, “Would you like my umbrella?” and started handing me the shielding device. Taking stock of my basketball-shorts-and-a-t-shirt outfit, I told him he probably needed it more than me. After asking if I was sure, he carried on his merry way, practically skipping, the way he tends to walk. Obviously, ten minutes later when I walked into my room in Goodhue and looked as if I had fallen in Lyman Lakes multiple times, I sort of regretted my decision. Next time, I’ll know better.
Isaac: This. This is my favorite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQor2NQwpZM
Currently his cats are being lovingly cared for by Holly. Now THAT is trust in the student body.
Photo credit: the first two are by Kaiwen Sun and the last is from Carleton College.