The Champions series by Sarah Brown profiles those who are supporting social and economic good in society. This is Carleton’s founding premise and it’s being celebrated on the cusp of the university’s 75th anniversary in 2017. Learn more about Carleton’s most ambitious comprehensive fundraising campaign. Together, we’re Here for Good. 

Dr. Chris Caruthers, Carleton University

He’s the Chair of Carleton University’s Board of Governors and has taken on a leading role in raising awareness and funds for the new Academic Health Sciences Building. Dr. Chris Carruthers, BSc/64, received two post-graduate degrees after leaving Carleton, but has always maintained strong ties to his original alma mater.

His background as a physician makes Dr. Carruthers a natural to champion the new Health Sciences program and the state-of-the-art Academic Health Sciences Building that will house it. “We can’t keep spending all our money on the delivery of health,” he explains. “We have to analyze population health, study how to predict and prevent health crises, and anticipate what the future holds.”

Here’s why Chris Carruthers, health-care consultant, former chief of staff at The Ottawa Hospital, and Chair of Carleton’s Board of Governors, gives back:

Lessons Learned and Life Advice (Courtesy of the Carleton Years)

On Success — And Paying it Forward

Success is a supportive family — you want your kids to achieve their own success and that has worked out well for me.

True success is also recognizing that if you’ve been fortunate in your career and life, you should give back. Carleton was my first university. It was a great experience. Some of my closest friends are the ones I went to Carleton with — four came down for this year’s Panda Game! I want to give back to this community.

On the Importance of Education — And Having a Good Time

I think of education as a ladder to the career you want. For many jobs, you need to have a degree just to get a foot in the door. But people sometimes forget that the experience of getting an education is just as important as the education itself. What we talk about all of those years after we graduate is the friendships and fun we had. It’s the whole package of university that makes the person.

On What to Study in Undergrad

Obviously you should take what you want — you have to have a passion and a direction. But, honestly, I’d counsel any new student to throw in a business course and a computer course if they can fit it into their timetable. I think everyone should have some basic business and computer understanding before they head out into the world.

Dr. Chris Carruthers, Carleton University
Dr. Chris Carruthers, BSc/64, outside the in-construction Health Sciences Building in October 2016.

Lightning Round: The Five Ws

Who inspired you as an undergrad?

Professor Nesbitt, who was the head of science at my time, was a real dynamo. Professor John ApSimon [who received the Founders Award in 2014 after 52 years at Carleton University] is also a professor I still remember and think about.

What makes Carleton University stand out?

It’s a great package — it gives students that combination of a great education and a great environment. There’s a strong sense of community.

When you think about favourite university memories, what comes to mind?

I should probably say the classes I took and the knowledge I gained, but really it was the friends I met, the social times, the football games. Those stay with you.

Where is your favourite spot on campus?

The library and the quad area. I did a lot of studying at the library, but it was also a social hub and meeting place.

Why give back?

I have a fundamental belief that I have been fortunate and should give back. Where I channel my efforts is in institutions I’m close to — that includes Carleton. Because I’m on the Board of Governors, I spend a lot of time here — I joke that my unofficial office is the Tims in the River Building.

Photos by Olga Janina.