Carleton College

From Academic Kids

This article is about Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, USA. For the institution once known as Carleton College in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, see Carleton University.
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Skinner Memorial Chapel, Carleton College

Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, USA, was founded on November 14, 1866, by the Minnesota Conference of Congregational Churches as Northfield College. In 1871, the name was changed in honor of benefactor William Carleton of Charlestown, Massachusetts.

The school is an independent, non-sectarian, coeducational, liberal arts college with about 1,900 students. The College respects its historical ties and gives continuing recognition to them through membership in the Council for Higher Education of the United Church of Christ. Its current president is Robert A. Oden.

Several of Carleton's properties deserve some historical recognition. Carleton's Goodsell Observatory, built in 1887, is on the national registry of historic places. Its 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 called his legacy. It consists of approximately 880 acres (3.6 km²) of forest, floodplain, and many miles of trail. Finally, an intricate series of heated underground tunnels connect most campus buildings, though they have not been in general use since 1988 due to concerns related to environmental conditions within the tunnels, safety (OSHA has rules about confined spaces, such as tunnels), and security.

Carleton is nationally recognized as a substantial academic force. It is consistently ranked in the U.S. News and World Report's college rankings within the top five U.S. liberal arts schools. Carleton competes in quizbowl and won the 1999 National Academic Quiz Tournaments undergraduate championship. In 2002 and 2004, the team from Carleton received Best Delegation at the Harvard World Model United Nations competition.

Carleton's varsity sports teams are competitive, but none has won such national acclaim as the student-run frisbee clubs; most notably, the Carleton Ultimate Team (CUT) and Syzygy are national forces. CUT has qualified yearly for nationals since 1990, and won the National Championship in 2001 after several years of being the "perennial bridesmaid". Syzygy qualified for nationals fourteen of fifteen years (1989-2002,2004), winning the National Championship in 2000.

Additionally, Carleton is home to the nation's oldest student-run pub, The Cave. Founded in 1927 in the basement of a residence hall, it still hosts live music shows and other events several times each week. Northfield's music lovers are further served by KRLX, the College's format-free student-run radio station, which broadcasts continually when school is in session.


Carleton traditions and other facts

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 repainted very early the following morning. Clinton mentioned in his address that he "would've liked to see it". Another target was the college's beloved then-President Steven "Skeetch" Lewis, who appeared in caricature on the tower for some time and later was bid farewell from the same venue upon his retirement in 2002. Painting Lewis' likeness on the water tower involved considerable logistical hurdles, including the creation of a 15'x15' stencil and keeping tabs on campus security via walkie-talkie. 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 is also a ubiquitous phenomenon, even in winter temperatures that average about 15 F (-9 C), and occasionally reach as low as -25 (-32 C). A naked marching band has made appearances. More perplexingly, a bust of Friedrich Schiller appears frequently and randomly at campus events, most notably dangled by chain from a helicopter above a football game against Northfield rival St. Olaf College. The tradition dates back to 1957, when students were pressed into service to transfer the contents of the older Scoville Library to the newly completed Gould Library; the bust, property of the college president, was included, presenting the opportunity to steal it. Schiller was passed on, as stewards graduated, and continued to appear, at least once a year, but only for high-profile events. Schiller's appearance, accompanied by a shouted "Schiller!", is a tacit challenge to other students to try to capture the bust (which has, understandably, been replaced at least once one Schiller bust may still be in residence in the state of Puebla, Mexico).

A baseball game known as Rotblatt, in honor (or open mockery) of player Marvin Rotblatt, is held every spring. While Rotblatt used to be an actual intramural baseball league, it has since changed into one solitary event: a faux baseball game involving the heavy consumption of alcohol. Rotblatt traditionally lasts for as many innings as the College has had anniversaries; in 1997, Sports Illustrated honored it in its "Best of Everything" section with the award, "Longest Intramural Event".

Many of these traditions (and the underground passages) appear in the 1991 Pamela Dean fantasy novel Tam Lin, set at the fictional "Blackstock College", acknowledged in the afterword by Dean to be based on the Carleton of the early 1970s.

Notable people associated with Carleton


Carleton College is a member of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC).

External links


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