The fitness centre at Carleton University was Robert (Bob) Stoakes’ home away from home. He loved the sound of clinking weights, humming stationary bikes, and music mixing with chatter between the machines. But, most of all, he loved the constant buzz of energy generating from the students around him.

For 92 of his 95 memorable years, Bob lived just a stone’s throw away from Carleton’s campus, putting down deep roots in our shared neighbourhood. Yet Bob wasn’t always at his home or home on campus. In retirement, and well into his eighties, he spent summers camping on Sweetwater Beach on the south coast of Crete. He made friends from around the world and enjoyed the passions that had always inspired him: travel, fitness, photography and music.

We are grateful that Bob has put down roots at Carleton University. In April 2020, Bob passed away, leaving a gift in his will to support Carleton’s fitness centre. The Robert Stoakes Fitness Centre Equipment Fund was endowed in his memory to allow the fitness centre to purchase or upgrade fitness equipment on an annual basis in perpetuity. Bob planned to leave this world a better place, and his roots in the Carleton fitness centre will continue to grow, ensuring that generations of students share his passion for fitness.

“We are truly grateful that Bob chose to remember the fitness centre in such a meaningful way,” said Jennifer Brenning, assistant vice-president, Recreation and Athletics.

“Thanks to Bob’s generosity, the fitness centre will be able to provide excellent equipment and experiences to gym-goers, promoting positive health and well-being among our community for countless years to come.”

For decades, Bob has been a venerable member of the Carleton community. We are truly grateful for Bob’s involvement in our university and for his generosity, which helps ensure that students of today and tomorrow will be encouraged to live healthy, active lives.