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Inauguration Speeches by Carleton's Presidents

Carleton College has officially had eleven presidents; as the college has grown over the past 146 years, it is interesting to track the changes and similarities between its leaders. An interesting starting point for thinking about what Carleton is today, how it got that way, and where it is going can be found in the inauguration addresses of Carleton’s presidents; we have posted the nine available speeches here (we do not have a record of President Strong’s speech, and there is no speech available for President Porter, who served as an iterim president). These speeches, usually delivered to students at opening convocation (though in some cases given to the board of trustees) were chosen as indications of a president’s broadest initial holistic vision for Carleton College. We invite you to peruse them, and think about the philosophy and meaning of a Carleton, liberal arts education.

Acknowledgments and Resources

Headley, Leal A. and Merill E. Jarchow. Carleton: The First Century. Northfield: Carleton College, 1966.

“History of the President’s Office.” Office of the President.Carleton College, 11 Oct 2011.

Speeches made available thanks to the Carleton Archives

Carleton Presidents:
James Woodword Strong (1870-1903)
William Henry Sallmon (1903-1908)
Donald John Cowling (1909-1945)
Laurence McKinley Gould (1945-1962)
John William Nason (1962-1970)
Howard R. Swearer (1970-1977)
Robert Edwards (1977-1986)
David Porter (1986-1987)
Stephen R. Lewis Jr. (1987-2002)
Robert A. Oden Jr. (2002-2010)
Steven G. Poskanzer (2010-present)