Remembering Charles Gordon – “A real Carleton guy” The 4th Charles Gordon Lecture takes place today
It has been four and a half years since Carleton professor and chair Charles Gordon passed away, but his spirit is still alive and well on campus according to Tom Sherwood, Carleton’s Ecumenical Chaplain.
Sherwood speaks of Gordon fondly and remembers him as a friend: “We were sitting in his TV room together in 1982 watching when Michael Jordan made the shot that gave North Carolina its first National championship.” Charles Gordon, Ph.D., 1940-2004
Gordon was a UNC graduate (PhD) and Sherwood says, “He was also a tremendous fan of the Ravens. He was so dedicated that the Carleton basketball alumni made him an honourary member.”
And his presence still graces the court today. When colleagues expressed a sense of loss for Gordon when the new Alumni Hall and Sports Centre was opened, it was suggested that a memorial plaque be placed on an armrest in the Raven’s nest. Sherwood offered to have the plaque placed on one of his season’s ticket seats. By an extraordinary coincidence, that seat also has Gordon’s initials on it: it is Section C, Row G, seat one.
Gordon’s presence is felt around campus in other ways occasionally. Sherwood says, “Sometimes we’re talking about a university issue and one of us will remember something Charlie said. It’s as if he’s still sharing ideas.”
Sherwood stresses that Gordon was totally committed to Carleton and was always courteous and appreciative of the support staff. Gordon was involved in many areas of the university and had three offices at the time of his passing – one in Directed Interdisciplinary Studies, another in the School of Architecture and the chair’s office in the department of sociology and anthropology.
Sherwood says Gordon called him on the last Friday in August, 2004 to say that he had just been to the cancer clinic and had three months to live. He had battled cancer 15 years earlier. Sherwood literally ran over to his house and pledged his support. Gordon asked his chaplain and friend to conduct his funeral. They saw each other every day for the next five weeks until Gordon died on Sept. 27, 2004. He had been teaching at Carleton for 37 years. The funeral was held on campus in a lecture theatre where Gordon had often taught.
In March 2005, about six months after he died, both Gordon’s teams won their National Championships, the Tar Heels in St. Louis and the Ravens in Halifax.
In his memory, the Charles Gordon Lecture on Society and Design was established. The fourth of these will be delivered by Donald Kunze of Pennsylvania State University on Tuesday, April 7 at 4 p.m. in the College of Humanities Theatre (Room 303 Paterson Hall). This year’s lecture is entitled, “Uncanny Mirrors” – Freud, architecture, design, theatre, cinema, audience, a topic Charles would have loved. The Lecture seeks to lift up his interdisciplinary genius as he expressed it in more than a dozen academic units at Carleton. For further information, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 4449.