Alison Byerly is installed as 12th President of Carleton – News – Carleton College


Amid a weekend focused on community and togetherness, Carleton College installed Alison Byerly as 12th President – and first female President – on Saturday, October 16, 2021. The installation ceremony was the highlight of many. activities – from a research and internship Symposium, street fair and quiz night to a tree planting ceremony, fireworks and a late night breakfast – in a fun celebration that converged with the family weekend.

“We envisioned this inauguration as an opportunity to bring people together for a whole range of activities that would help us rediscover the joy of community that we have missed over the past year,” Byerly said in his inaugural address. “When I heard busy professors persuading themselves to form quiz teams for Friday night, I thought: Mission accomplished. “

A new era

In addition to students, faculty and staff, the installation ceremony welcomed presidential delegates, families and college friends, with a special guest showing up just in time: the bust of Schiller.

“It feels like a threshold moment, a time of tremendous change,” Byerly said. “I believe that one of our main tasks as a community, in fact, is to decide what the change will look like for Carleton. The change can take the form of a “disruption,” a kind of imposition of external forces, or the change can be a “transformation,” an intentional search for new possibilities. Staying the same is not an option.

The ceremony featured a declaration of land recognition and a poem read by college chaplain Carolyn Fure-Slocum ’82, a welcome from University President Hamline Fayneese Miller, songs from the Carleton Chamber Choir and the a cappella group the Knightingales, and greetings from the board members of Trustees, faculty, staff, student body and alumni.

“President Byerly, the faculty can’t wait to understand your sweet dreams for Carleton,” said Devashree Gupta, professor of political science and chair of the faculty. “We can’t wait to dream with you. And then, we can’t wait to roll up our sleeves and do the job of turning those dreams into Carleton’s future reality.

“What drives people to pursue and spend their entire careers at Carleton? Steve Spehn, director of facilities and capital planning, said. “The feeling of a personal connection to the quorum and its people, knowing that we are valued members of its administration, and the pride that comes from contributing to the quorum mission. The Carleton staff look forward to supporting you in a meaningful way and playing a serious role in realizing your vision for the future of Carleton College.

“We used to call our past president ‘Stevie P.’ Said Molly Zuckerman, president of the Carleton ’22 Student Association. “I think the fact that President Byerly is already known as ‘Allie B.’ shows how much we look forward to welcoming him to our community.

Austin Lau '05 speaking at the installation ceremony.

“President Byerly, as I know you learned long ago, Carleton students, past and present, always carry a part of Carleton with us,” said Austin Lau ’05, chairman of the annual fund board. ancient. “A lot of times that comes across as pride and gratitude, while other times it’s a critical eye and ideas for improvement. But whether it is 5 or 50 years of graduation, what unites us all is a sense of belonging and belonging to this community, and a desire to constantly improve, strengthen and advance our community. In a nutshell: what it means to be a Carl. We welcome you as our newest Carl and look forward to working with you as you lead Carleton into his next chapter. “

We are a family

Alison Byerly flanked by her son Ryan, left and her husband Steve, right.

The theme of community, which was at the heart of Byerly’s early days in Carleton, was on full display all weekend. The families of the students returned to Northfield and arrived on campus with smiling faces and a flood of corn and blue. While planting Presidential Trees, Byerly’s son Ryan Jensen read from William Wordsworth Lines written a few kilometers above Tintern Abbey, and members of the campus a cappella group, the Singing Knights, performed the serenade “What a Wonderful World”. (Byerly’s daughter, Laramie Jensen ’15, must have missed the festivities to present an academic lecture as part of her postdoctoral fellowship.)

The weekend also included a special call-up with acclaimed historian of African American and Native American histories Tiya Miles, a research and internship symposium featuring the work of over 200 students, a concert featuring baritone Randall Grammy-nominated Scarlata with faculty pianist Nicola Melville, a street fair, bonfires, animated anecdotes and a cappella showcase. The weekend ended with fireworks over Lyman Lakes and a campus tradition usually reserved for finals week: the late breakfast, featuring Byerly and other campus leaders serving a hot meal to end a comforting weekend.

Byerly serves late breakfast to students.

In the end, the inauguration weekend seemed to accomplish what Byerly set out to accomplish in his third month in office: bringing together a community that overcame uncertainty and, at times, disconnection, as the world continues to fight racial injustices and a global pandemic, among many other challenges.

“Right now, I believe students want to be part of what I would call a community of values, and are looking for an education that enables them to make a difference in a world with many challenges, ”said Byerly in his inaugural address. “Carleton can be a distinctive role model for how broadly integrated and equitable community-based liberal arts education maintains its relevance as it constantly renews itself. “

“When I imagine Carleton, I imagine the exact opposite of an ivory tower,” she later said. “I think of the geothermal wells at the bottom of the bald spot: unpretentious on the surface, but with extraordinary energy and power below. Carleton does not stand above the world, but digs deep into its core to reach the real root or the truth of things. This authenticity is a source of power and potential that has not yet been fully exploited. “

“By elevating its unique strengths and values ​​— humility, commitment to community, the joy of intellectual exploration, and a capacity for growth — Carleton can become more than a static model of excellent liberal arts education. . It will be a renewable resource for our students, the community at large and the world. “

Read President Byerly’s inaugural address and view photo galleries from the ceremony and the family weekend.

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