Veteran public servant and former Carleton president Richard Van Loon says receiving an honourary degree from the university is a “privilege.”
Van Loon, who served as president for nine years between 1996 and 2005, has been awarded an honourary Doctor of Laws degree, “in recognition for his outstanding service to Canada in Aboriginal and northern policy and governance and of strong leadership as President of Carleton University.”
“I’m delighted. It’s certainly nice to be recognized by a place where I studied and worked for a long time,” says Van Loon. “It’s really quite a privilege.”
His career in government and academia has spanned over 30 years. He has held a number of senior positions with the federal government prior to his appointment at Carleton.
“Any honourary degree is extra special. Having been on the other side of choosing people, I know how much thought goes into it and how much attention people pay to it. That’s very special. The fact that it’s Carleton, I take it as recognition of a number of things — probably my public service career but it’s also recognition of my time at Carleton.”
His fondest memories of Carleton is watching the Ravens play basketball.
“I and a number of other people … would go down to Halifax every year for the basketball championships. The couple of times that we won down there were really great memories,” he recalls.
“The start of every academic year was always a very exciting time when everyone comes back, and the campus, which was empty two weeks ago, was suddenly full of people again and full of life. Every one of those years — all nine of them — are very fond memories.”
Van Loon earned a B.Sc. and an MA from Carleton and he received his PhD in political science from Queen’s University.