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Carleton Wellesley Stanley was the fifth president of Dalhousie University, serving from 1931-1945. Although his parents were Canadian, Stanley was born in Rhode Island, USA, in 1886. He studied classics and mathematics at the University of Toronto, graduating with a BA in 1911 before moving overseas to take a degree in classics at New College, Oxford. Two years later he was hired as a lecturer in English literature at Victoria College, Toronto, but in 1916 he left academia to become a salesman. In 1918 he married Isabel Alexander, with whom he had two children. Stanley returned to teaching in 1930 when he joined McGill University as a professor of Greek, being appointed assistant principal soon after.
Stanley took over the presidency of Dalhousie in 1931 and guided the largest Maritime university through the depression years. He is credited with helping to raise the standards of the university's professional schools during his tenure. Following his retirement in 1945, he moved to Winnipeg and joined the English department at United College. He left this position in 1953 and moved to Uxbridge and then Aurora, Ontario, where he died in 1971.
Carleton Stanley received several honorary degrees and was a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. A widely travelled and fluent writer, for several years he was Canadian correspondent for the Manchester Guardian. He authored two books: Roots of the Tree (1936) and Matthew Arnold (1938).