Carleton University Magazine

New Spaces Foster New Ideas

A message from the president


  Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte

Universities are much more than bricks and mortar. They are communities of scholars in search of new ideas and ancient truths. They are more than libraries and labs or the tomes, e-links and chemicals that reside therein. They are inquiring minds attempting to understand the workings of the world and to create new ways of improving the human condition. They are more than the athletic centre, the coffee shop or the pizza stop. They are the Ravens, the late-night owls studying for exams and your famished roommates and friends. They are more than the radio station and its earnest broadcasters, the Charlatan and its diligent reporters, the international dance teams and their swiftly stepping swingers. They are future alumni.

The heart of our university is definitely our people: students, faculty, staff and alumni. The soul is the academic matter: the courses and programs of teaching and research. Yet, for all our lofty goals and ideals, we still need bricks and mortar. We need space to study, teach, learn and to conduct research. We need space to read and reflect, to create, play and perform.

In the fall of 2008, I held a significant number of focus groups and read the results of many surveys, draft plans and visions for Carleton. They all had one element in common: the need for additional space.

The opening of the Canal Building in January 2011 and the River Building in August will mean additional space for teaching and research. These extraordinary structures will enable us to realize some of the vision to which we gave voice in Defining Dreams, the strategic plan. The new buildings will foster interdisciplinarity, grouping environmental engineering and nanoscience in the former and the Norman Paterson School for International Affairs, the Schools of Public Policy and Journalism in the latter. They will provide focus for our international and environmental pillars of the plan.

The new buildings symbolically herald a new era for Carleton: one where we extend our reach to embrace our environment (the sparkling Rideau River and the quiet canal) and to demonstrate the outreach of this university which goes well beyond our boundaries, the city of Ottawa and this nation. These buildings will provide not only much-needed space for our current fields of expertise, but also inspiration for new areas of critical inquiry. They speak of grandeur and aspirations as well as of creative energy. They speak of and for Carleton’s future. Please join me in celebrating not just bricks and mortar but what they signify.

Best wishes,

Roseann O’Reilly Runte
President and Vice-Chancellor
Carleton University