This award established by Dave Carroll of “United Breaks Guitars” fame is intended to support students in Carleton’s Communication and Media Studies program who are in financial need. Students will combine strong academic achievement and community service.
In Dave’s own words:
When I entered Carleton University I had no clear idea of what I wanted to be when I completed my degree but I enjoyed the atmosphere of learning and being around other people who were striving to better themselves. In my first year I bought a guitar for $125 and taught myself to play a few chords. I was a resident in 2nd Russell and my brother Don and I would lead impromptu sing-a-longs in the Carleton tunnels when it was too late to sing in residence. Eventually we played our first show, a talent contest, at a residence bar called the Bree’s Inn and, following that, I knew what I wanted to be; a professional singer-songwriter. When I graduated with an Honours in Political Science Don and I started our band, Sons of Maxwell, and continue to play today.
In 2009 however, following a bad experience with an airline, I posted the first in a trilogy of satirical videos to YouTube about United Airlines Breaking my guitar, which went viral and had an impact in how companies view their relationship with customers. It led to an expanded career as a professional speaker taking me to 30 countries, and I now use that experience as a platform to advocate for compassion in life and as a business principle.
I’ve been very fortunate to be able to earn my living for 30 years doing the things I am most passionate about and it all began at Carleton. I left the school a different person than the one who entered, made some valued friendships there and have no doubt that much of what I learned as a student has found its way into my writing and shaped the way I try to live my life.
I wasn’t a communications student but the moments that have mattered most in my life often involved the exchange of ideas, and in a real sense, I’ve been a communications student my whole career. I’m hopeful this award might be a difference-maker in the lives of future Communications students, and help them complete their studies and change the world passionately, in their own way.