Carleton College

Carleton College

: "This article is about Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. For Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, see Carleton University."

name = Carleton College

motto = "Declaratio Sermonum Tuorum Illuminat" (Latin)
(The revelation of your words illuminates)
established = November 14, 1866
type = Private liberal arts college
endowment = US $663.5 million [cite news | last = | first = | coauthors = | title =College and University Endowments Over $250-Million, 2007 | work =Chronicle of Higher Education | pages =28 | language = | publisher = | date =2008-08-29 | url = | accessdate = ]
president = Robert A. Oden, Ph.D.
undergrad = 1,958
postgrad = 0
faculty = 198
city = Northfield
state = Minnesota
country = USA
campus = Rural, convert|1040|acre|km2
free_label =
free =
colors = Maize and Blue
mascot = Carleton Knight
nickname = "Carls" or "Knights"
affiliations = MIAC
footnotes =
website = []
coor =
logo =

Carleton College is an independent non-sectarian, coeducational, liberal arts college in Northfield, Minnesota, USA. The College currently enrolls 1,958 undergraduate students, and employs 198 full-time faculty members. Robert A. Oden is the current President.


The school was founded on November 14, 1866, by the Minnesota Conference of Congregational Churches as Northfield College. The first students enrolled in fall 1870.

In 1870, the first college president, James Strong, travelled to the East Coast to raise funds for the college. On his way from visiting William Carleton of Charlestown, Massachusetts, Strong was badly injured by a train. Impressed by Strong's survival, Carleton donated US$50,000 to the fledgling institution in 1871, and the Board of Trustees renamed the school in his honor.

This first two graduates, James J. Dow and Myra A. Brown, were married six months after their 1874 graduation. [ from Northfield Historical Society history of early Carleton] [ [ Carleton College archives timeline]

On September 7, 1876, the James-Younger Gang, led by outlaw Jesse James, attempted to rob the First National Bank of Northfield. Joseph Lee Heywood, Carleton's Treasurer, was acting cashier, and was shot dead for refusing to open the safe door. Carleton later named a library fund and the group of donors who have named Carleton in their wills after Heywood.

The nation's oldest student-run pub, The Cave, was founded at Carleton in 1927 in the basement of Evans Hall, and continues to host live music shows and other events several times each week.

In 1942, Carleton purchased land in Stanton, about 10 mile east of campus, to use for flight training. During the war, several classes of male students went through air basic training at the college. The Stanton Airfield remains open, having been sold by the college in 1944. [ [ Stanton Airfield site, with history] ]

The world premiere production of Bertolt Brecht's play "The Caucasian Chalk Circle" was performed in 1948 at Carleton's Nourse Little Theater.

The Reformed Druids of North America was founded at Carleton in 1963, initially as an effort to be excused from attending the then-required weekly chapel service, and later as legitimate spiritual exploration.

The popular early computer game The Oregon Trail was first created, and later developed, by students at Carleton in 1971.

President Bill Clinton made Carleton the last commencement address of his Presidency, on June 10, 2000. He received news of President Hafez al-Assad's death while waiting to speak. [cite news | first=Elaine | last=Sciolino | coauthors= | title= TRANSITION IN SYRIA; A New Hurdle to Peace | date=2000-06-11 | publisher= | url = | work =New York Times | pages = | accessdate = 2008-09-15 | language = ]


Carleton College is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The next on-site review for this accreditation will be in January 2009. [ Carleton accreditation site.]


Academically, Carleton is nationally recognized as a leading undergraduate institution. It consistently ranks in the "U.S. News and World Report's" college rankings as one of the top ten U.S. liberal arts schools. According to 2008 "U.S. News and World Report" rankings, Carleton College is the #8 liberal arts college in the United States. [ Liberal Arts Colleges: Top Schools] , "US News & World Reports", Accessed June 10, 2008.]

Carleton College is part of the Annapolis Group, which has made a group statement asking members not to participate in ranking surveys. President Robert Oden stated on September 7, 2007, "We commit not to mention U.S. News or similar rankings in any of our new publications, since such lists mislead the public into thinking that the complexities of American higher education can be reduced to one number." [cite web|url= |title=President's Letter About College Rankings |accessdate=2008-09-19 |last=Oden |first=Robert |date=2007-09-07 |publisher=Carleton College ]

Carleton participates in the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU)'s University and College Accountability Network (U-CAN), an co-operative program by colleges effort to provide data for school comparison on a variety of bases.

Admissions and selectivity

The most recent middle 50 percent of admitted students received 1330-1490 on the SAT Critical Reading and Math Sections, with over three quarters ranked in the top 10% of their high school graduating classes.

Carleton consistently enrolls more students in the National Merit Scholarship Program than any other liberal arts college in the country [ [] ] and its Class of 2011 includes seventy-nine National Merit Scholars (which includes both Carleton sponsored and external National Merit Scholars) among its 512 students.


The College is a leading source of PhD recipients, [cite journal | last = Gravois | first = John | title = Number of Doctorates Edges Up Slightly | journal = The Chronicle of Higher Education | volume = 51 | issue = 18 | pages = A24 | date = January 7, 2005 | url =] [ [ Baccalaureate Origins Peer Analysis] , Centre College, accessed February 23, 2008] and is also recognized for sending an unusually large number of female students to graduate programs in the sciences. [cite journal | last = Wilson | first = Robin | title = A Hothouse for Female Scientists | journal = The Chronicle of Higher Education | volume = 52 | issue = 35 | pages = A13 | date = May 5, 2006 | url =] Carleton leads all baccalaureate colleges in the number of its students awarded National Science Foundation Fellowships for graduate study from 1990-99.

Alumni giving, a measure of alumni satisfaction with the College, was 64% in 2006, the highest among American universities and colleges for the past seven years.Fact|date=September 2008

tudent Life

Extracurricular organizations

Extracurriculars at Carleton are an integral part of student life. Although the Carleton student body consists of fewer than two thousand undergraduates, the school's nearly 150 active student organizations include three theatre boards (coordinating as many as ten productions every term), longform and shortform improv groups and a sketch comedy troupe, seven a cappella groups, four choirs, at least seven specialized instrumental ensembles, five dance interest groups, two auditioned dance companies, a successful Mock Trial team, a nationally-competitive debate program, seven recurring student publications and a student-run KRLX radio station employing more than 200 volunteers each term.

In 5 of the last 12 years, Carleton College students received the Best Delegation award at the World Model United Nations competition.

The College's format-free student-run radio station, KRLX, founded in 1947 as KARL, was recently ranked by the Princeton Review as one of the nation's ten best college radio stations. KRLX broadcasts continually when school is in session.

The school has several a cappella groups. The oldest is all-male The Carleton Singing Knights, which has toured and recorded extensively over its more than 50-year history. performed a version of Daft Punk's Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger. The video( [] on Youtube has received over three million views. The all-female Knightingales are the second-oldest group, and performed on a special radio performance hosted by Garrison Keillor from Dacie Moses House in 2005.


Carleton's history has given rise to several notable traditions. Many of these are pranks, such as painting the college's water tower. Most notably, a remarkably accurate likeness of President Clinton was painted the night before his commencement speech in 2000, and painted over by college maintenance very early the following morning. Administrative attitudes toward this particular phenomenon have changed over time. For liability-related reasons, even climbing the water tower is now considered a grave infraction. Streaking also remains a ubiquitous phenomenon, even and most impressively in winter temperatures that average about 15°F (-9°C), and occasionally reach lows around -25° (-32°C).

More perplexingly, a bust of Friedrich Schiller, known simply as [ "Schiller"] , appears frequently, though briefly, at large campus events. The tradition dates back to 1957, when a student appropriated the bust from an unlocked storage area in the new Gould Library, only to have the bust stolen from him in turn, an exchange which soon escalated into a high-profile conflict that eventually took on by necessity a high degree of secrecy and strategy. These days, Schiller's appearance, accompanied by the shout "Schiller!", is a tacit challenge to other students to pursue in an attempt to capture the bust (which has, understandably, been replaced at least once; the currently circulating bust of Schiller was retrieved from Puebla, Mexico in the summer of 2003). In 2006, students created an online scavenger hunt, made up of a series of complex riddles about Carleton [] , ultimately leading participants to Schiller's hidden location. The bust was subsequently stolen from the winner of the scavenger hunt. At Commencement in 2006 the holders of the bust arranged for Schiller to "graduate." His name was called at the appropriate moment during the awarding of diplomas, the bust was pulled from the podium and prominently displayed.


The college campus was created in 1867 with the gift of two ten-acre parcels, one from Charles Goodsell and the other from Charles Augustus Wheaton. The campus sits on a hill overlooking the Cannon River, at the northeast edge of Northfield. To the north and east are athletic fields and the Cowling Arboretum, which were farm fields in the early years of the college. Beyond the Arboretum today is still largely agricultural land.

The center of campus is an open field called "the Bald Spot," which is used for ultimate frisbee in the warmer months and flooded for skating and broomball in the winter. Most of the campus buildings built before World War II surround the Bald Spot (the exceptions are Goodsell Observatory and Margaret Evans Hall).

Campus buildings

Willis Hall, the first building on campus, was constructed beginning in 1869, completed in 1872. Originally it contained the men's dormitory, classrooms, library, and chapel. The building was gutted by fire in 1879, after which it was entirely rebuilt within the existing stone shell. The original front of the building became the rear entrance with the construction of Severance Hall in 1928. [cite book | last = Soth | first = Lauren | authorlink = | coauthors = Jim Shoop | title = Architecture at Carleton: A Brief History and Guide | publisher = Carleton College | date = 2003 | location = Northfield, MN | pages = 3 | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = ] As new buildings were built, academic departments shifted in and out of the building. Beginning 1954 it was the college student union, until it was replaced in 1979 by the Sayles-Hill Student Center. It now houses the Economics, Political Science, and Educational Studies offices. [ [ Economiccs department history of the building] ] The college's clock bell tower and the main college flagpole, along with the radio tower for KRLX, sit on the roof. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Goodsell Observatory was constructed in 1887 and was, at the time, the largest observatory in the state of Minnesota. It was named for Charles Goodsell, who donated much of the land on which Carleton was founded. Goodsell was built to replace Carleton's original observatory (built in 1877), which was razed in 1905 to make room for Laird Hall. From the late 19th century to the end of the World War II, Goodsell kept the time for every major railroad west of the Mississippi, including Northern Pacific Railway, the Great Northern Railway, the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad, and the St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Manitoba railroads. Goodsell also served as the headquarters of a state weather service from 1883 to 1886. The observatory is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Scoville Memorial Library was completed in 1896, and was replaced by the Gould Library. It now houses the cinema and media studies department, the media center, and the academic support center. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Four nineteenth-century buildings have since been demolished: Gridley Hall was for many years the main women's dormitory. It was built in 1882 and demolished to make way for the Music and Drama Center in 1967. Williams Hall stood in front of Leighton Hall and was the college's first science building, built in 1880 and demolished in 1961. Finally, Seccombe House was located near the site of the current Skinner Chapel, and was used for music instruction from 1880 to 1914. The original observatory, built 1878, was demolished in 1905 to make way for Laird Hall [ cite web|url= |title=Carleton College: Archives: history 1866-1891 |accessdate=2008-10-02 |publisher=Carleton College Archives ]

Skinner Memorial Chapel was completed in 1916. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Carleton built a new convert|80000|sqft|m2|sing=on Recreation Center in 2000, with a full indoor fieldhouse located above a fitness center including a climbing wall and bouldering wall.

Cowling Arboretum

The Cowling Arboretum, created from lands purchased in the 1920s during difficult financial times by then president Donald J. Cowling, was first called "Cowling's Folly" and, later, his legacy. It consists of approximately 880 acres (3.6 km²) of forest, field, and floodplain, and it includes many miles of trails. The conceptual framework of the arboretum was based on the works of Christopher Williams (artist), a notable Grinnell College alumnus.


Carleton is committed to environmentally conscious initiatives, and in October 2007, the Sustainable Endowments Institute, a Cambridge, Massachusetts, organization involved in research on the sustainability of higher education endowments, recognized Carleton as a leader in overall college sustainability for its environmentally sound practices and endowment transparency. In the College Sustainability Report Card 2008, which evaluates the 200 colleges and universities with the largest endowments in the United States and Canada, Carleton received the highest evaluation grade of A-, putting the College in the category of College Sustainability Leader with Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Middlebury College, University of Vermont and University of Washington. The Report Card also cited Carleton as an Endowment Sustainability Leader, along with Dartmouth College and Williams College [ [ College Sustainability Report Card 2008] , Sustainable Endowments Institute, accessed February 23, 2008] . Carleton also receives approximately 40% of its energy from a wind turbine located near the college.


Carleton has numerous athletic opportunities for students, including 19 varsity teams, 23 club teams, and dozens of intramural teams (including 40 separate broomball teams,) forming every term. Carleton competes in NCAA Division III, meaning it offers no athletic scholarships. Its men's and women's cross country teams are generally strong, with numerous all-Americans and one national championship (men's, 1980). Additionally, the Women's Swimming and Diving program is a perennial Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) conference power. The football team won the conference championship in 1992 with a 9-1 record and received one of 16 bids to the Division III National Championship Tournament. In 2006, the men's basketball team tied the University of St. Thomas for the conference championship and received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. In 2007, the women's golf program sent its first individual qualifier to the Division III Women's Golf NCAA Tournament.

Carleton hosted the first and only NCAA-sponsored metric football game in 1977. The game was dubbed the "Liter Bowl" and was measured in meters instead of yards. Carleton lost the game to St. Olaf by a score of 42-0.

Club sports at Carleton are very active; turnout for teams like men's and women's rugby will often exceed 40 players per team. Of the club teams, the student-run Ultimate clubs have had the most competitive success; most notably, the Carleton (Men's) Ultimate Team (CUT) and women's team "Syzygy" have been national contenders every year. CUT qualified annually for nationals from 1990 to 2005 and won the National Championship in 2001. Syzygy qualified for nationals fifteen of sixteen years (1989-2002, 2004-2005), winning the National Championship in 2000 and taking second place in 1998, 1999 and 2004.

The spring intramural softball league is known as Rotblatt, in honor (or open mockery) of player Marvin Rotblatt. Once a year day-long game features free t-shirts and a good deal of requisite drinking, with the number of innings played coincides with the College's current anniversary. In 1997, Sports Illustrated honored Rotblatt in its "Best of Everything" section with the award, "Longest Intramural Event."

Carleton in fiction

Pamela Dean's novel Tam Lin is set in a fictionalized Carleton College called "Blackstock College." Building names have been replaced with puns on their actual names (Watson Hall is renamed Holmes Hall, referring to Sherlock Holmes and his partner Doctor Watson).

A scene from the movie was filmed in the Great Hall in Severance Hall.

Notable alumni

:"See also "

* Thorstein Veblen, class of 1880, American economist and author of "The Theory of the Leisure Class".
* Pierce Butler, class of 1887, Supreme Court Justice from 1923 to 1939.
* Ernest Lundeen, class of 1901, U.S. Representative from 1917-1919 and from 1933-1937. U.S. Senator from 1937 until his death in 1940.
* Karl E. Mundt, class of 1923, U.S. Representative from 1938 to 1948 and U.S. Senator from 1948 to 1973.
* Robert K. Greenleaf, class of 1926, corporate management expert, the founder of the Robert Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership.
* Warren P. Knowles, class of 1930, governor of Wisconsin from 1965 to 1971.
* Sheldon B. Vance, class of 1939, U.S. ambassador to Zaire.
* Melvin R. Laird, class of 1942, President Nixon's Secretary of Defense from 1969 to 1973.
* Anthony Downs, class of 1952, author of "An Economic Theory of Democracy".
* Hal Higdon, class of 1953, runner and writer.
* Michael Armacost, class of 1958, former Under Secretary of State (Policy), former ambassador to Japan and the Philippines, president of the Brookings Institution from 1995-2002, and current chairman of the board of trustees.
* Michael Gartner, class of 1960, journalist.
* Jack Barnes, class of 1961, the leader of the Socialist Workers Party (USA).
* Garrick Utley, class of 1961, journalist, former host of "Meet the Press".
* Parker Palmer, class of 1961, author.
* Walter Alvarez, class of 1962, geologist credited with the theory that an asteroid impact was the likely cause of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event.
* Donella Meadows, class of 1963, lead author of Limits to Growth.
* Thomas Mengler, Dean of Law at University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) and former dean of the University of Illinois College of Law.
* James Loewen, class of 1964, historian and author of Lies My Teacher Told Me.
* Barrie M. Osborne, class of 1966, producer of the "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy.
* Peter Tork of The Monkees was a student of English at Carleton from 1960 to 1963 until he dropped out to pursue music full-time. His name at that point was Peter Thorkelson.
* Mary-Claire King, class of 1967, human geneticist.
* Rush D. Holt, Jr., class of 1970, U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 12th congressional district since 1996.
* Robert McCamant, Robert Roth, class of 1971, founders ofThe Chicago Reader, one of the United States's first alternative weeklies. They later started the Los Angeles Reader (no longer published) and the Washington City Paper. In July 2007, the founders sold the Reader to Creative Loafing. [ Robert McKament alumni award] [ announcement of sale]
* Kai Bird, class of 1973, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer.
* Kirbyjon Caldwell, class of 1975, pastor of the Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas. He is one of President George W. Bush's most influential spiritual advisors.
* Pamela Dean, class of 1975, noted fantasy writer.
* Jack El-Hai, class of 1979, writer and journalist. [ [ | Douglas Beck's interview with Jack El-Hai at] ]
* Jane Hamilton, class of 1979, novelist and winner of the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award.
* Laurence Epstein, class of 1980, Physician, Chief, Arrhythmia Service, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
* Piotr Gajewski, class of 1981 founder, director and artistic director of the [National Philharmonic Orchestra] [] .
* John F. Harris, class of 1985, Editor-in chief of The Politico.
* Stephen Six, class of 1988, Kansas Attorney General.
* Clara Jeffery, class of 1989, Editor of Mother Jones magazine.
* Jonathan Capehart, class of 1989, was a member of the Editorial Board of the New York Daily News when the Board won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing in 1999 [ [,Editorial+Writing The Pulitzer Prizes | Citation ] ] .
* Jay Rubenstein, class of 1989, 2007 MacArthur Fellow, history professor at the University of Tennessee and author of many volumes on medieval history [{7D3A34B4-2AC5-4034-8159-17C674B94078}&notoc=1] .
* Tomkin Coleman, class of 1991, national advocate for gay marriage.
* Christopher Kratt, class of 1992, TV and film producer and host.
* Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, class of 1992, James Beard Award-winning food writer. [ [ | Minnesota Monthly's profile of Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, 19 December 2007] ]
* Paul Tewes, class of 1993, political consultant.
* Masanori Mark Christianson, class of 1998, musician/art director.
* Josh Grier, class of 2002, of the popular indie band Tapes 'N Tapes, which formed at Carleton in the winter of 2003.

Notable faculty

* Ian Barbour, professor emeritus, 1989–91 Gifford lecturer on religion and science, and winner of the 1999 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion.
* David Bryn-Jones, biographer of U.S. Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg, taught history, economics, and international relations at Carleton from 1920 to 1951.
* John Bates Clark, a famous American economist, was a professor at Carleton, and taught Thorstein Veblen.
* Frank Daniel, Czech Born writer, producer, director, and teacher; developer of the sequence paradigm of screenwriting.
* Burton Levin, Former United States Consul General to Hong Kong and US Ambassador to Burma from May 1987 to September 1990, is currently the SIT Investment Visiting Professor of Asian Policy.
* Laurence McKinley Gould, who was second-in-command to Richard E. Byrd on his first landmark expedition to Antarctica, served as a professor of geology at Carleton and later as College President from 1945-1962.
* Roy Grow, Kellogg Professor of International Relations and the director of the International Relations, is a former military interpreter and analyst in Asia. He is often heard on programs such as Minnesota Public Radio's Midday.
* Paul Wellstone, a U.S. Senator from Minnesota from 1991 until his death in 2002, was a professor of political science at Carleton from 1969 to 1990.
* Reed Whittemore, acclaimed American poet who taught English at Carleton.

Points of interest

* Carleton College Cowling Arboretum
* Goodsell Observatory
* The Cave


External links

* [ Carleton College]
* [ CarlWiki] - An unofficial student-run wiki
* [ Northfield Visitor Information]
* [ Carleton College featured in the Donga Daily (Korean Newspaper)]

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