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Carleton University is a comprehensive university located in the capital of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. The enabling legislation is The Carleton University Act, 1952, S.O. 1952. Originally founded on rented premises in 1942, Carleton would grow in size to meet the needs of returning World War II veterans and later became Ontario's first private, non-denominational college. It would expand further in the 1960s, consistent with government policy that saw increased access to higher education as a social good and means to economic growth, and is today a public university, offering more than 65 academic programs across a wide range of disciplines. Carleton is reputed for its strength in a variety of fields, such as engineering, industrial design, humanities, international business and many of the disciplines housed in its Faculty of Public Affairs (including international affairs, journalism, political science, political management, public policy and administration, and legal studies).

It is named after the former Carleton County, Ontario, which included the city of Ottawa at the time Carleton was founded. Carleton County, in turn, was named in honour of Guy Carleton, 1st Baron Dorchester, an early Governor-General of British North America. Carleton currently houses more than 22,000 undergraduate and more than 3,000 postgraduate students. Its campus is located west of Old Ottawa South, within close proximity to The Glebe and Confederation Heights, and is bounded to the north by the Rideau Canal and Dow's Lake and to the south by the Rideau River. The university is represented in Canadian Interuniversity Sport by the Carleton Ravens.

History

Carleton College, a non-denominational institution, was founded in 1942 at the height of the Second World War by the Ottawa Association for the Advancement of Learning.

It was originally located in a rented building and only offered night courses in public administration and introductory university subjects. When the war ended in 1945, the College began expanding to meet the needs of veterans coming home. The Faculty of Arts and Science was established, which included courses in journalism and first-year engineering.

In 1946 the college moved to The Glebe neighbourhood along First Avenue at the former Ottawa Ladies' College. Its first degrees were conferred in 1946 to graduates of its programs in Journalism and Public Administration.

For nearly a decade the College operated on a shoestring budget, with funds raised mainly through community initiatives and modest student fees. During the war, student fees were kept low and Carleton gave special grants to veterans returning home who wished to continue their studies. The faculty was composed largely of part-time professors who worked full-time in the Public Service; some of whom were convinced to leave for full-time tenure positions. However, full-time teaching staff were still mostly young scholars at the beginning of their careers.

In 1952 the Carleton College Act was passed by the Ontario Legislature, changing the official corporate name to Carleton College and officially conferring the power to grant degrees. Carleton thus became the province's first private, non-sectarian college. In the same year, the 62 hectare property nestled between the Rideau Canal and the Rideau River on which the current campus is located was acquired. Some of the land was donated by a prominent Ottawa businessman Harry Stevenson Southam. Construction began on the new campus in 1953.

In 1957 the Carleton University Act, 1952 was amended, officially granting Carleton status as a public university and thus changing its name to Carleton University. Carleton's motto, "Ours the Task Eternal," is taken from Walt Whitman's poem, Pioneers! O Pioneers!.

The governance was modelled on the provincial University of Toronto Act of 1906 which established a bicameral system of university government consisting of a senate (faculty), responsible for academic policy, and a board of governors (citizens) exercising exclusive control over financial policy and having formal authority over all other matters. The president, appointed by the board, was to provide a link between the two bodies and to perform institutional leadership.

In 1959 construction was completed on the new Rideau River campus, and Carleton moved to its current location. The original buildings included three that still stand today, the Maxwell MacOdrum Library, Norman Paterson Hall and the Henry Marshall Tory Building. Following this, Carleton rapidly expanded to meet the need for tertiary education in Canada.

The policy of university education initiated in the 1960s responded to population pressure and the belief that higher education was a key to social justice and economic productivity for individuals and for society.

In 1967, a Catholic institution, Saint Patrick's College, was incorporated into Carleton. Founded in 1942, it had been granting its diplomas via the University of Ottawa. Both University of Ottawa and Saint Patrick's had been inaugurated by the Catholic order Oblates of Immaculate Mary (OMI). The college was housed in a building on Echo Drive, near the Pretoria Bridge. Around 1973, a new building was erected on the Carleton campus proper. The college was dissolved as a separate entity after the 1979 academic year. Its final dean was Gerald Clarke who had been a professor from 1954. It had been known for its school of Social Work. To this day, Carleton's School of Social Work continues to offer undergraduate and graduate programs.

Improvements in Carleton's financial situation have resulted in many enhancements to the campus. These include, inter alia, the $30 million construction of new athletics facilities and the $22 million, 9,011 m2 (97,000 ft2) Human Computer Interaction (HCI) Institute Facility and Centre for Advanced Studies in Visualization and Simulation (V-SIM). More well-known, perhaps, is the $17 million upgrade and expansion to the University Centre. In 2008, a green globe designed residence was added named Frontenac House.