New College Alumna Carol Stephenson (1973)Describe yourself in 50 words or less.

I have often been called a “bridge builder.”  I have worked both in the private sector, (Bell, Stentor, and Lucent) and in the public sector (Western University as the Dean of the Richard Ivey School of Business).  I attribute some of this skill set to my liberal arts undergraduate education at the University of Toronto, New College (Honours BA 1973).  I was born and raised in Petrolia, Ontario; a small town in Southwestern Ontario which I believe also had a positive influence on my life.


Why did you choose New College (be honest) and what were your expectations?

I chose New College because in 1969 it had the newest women’s residence with the largest rooms (bad reason but it is true).


What was New College like when you came?

Coming from a small town, I loved the life at New College and the big city of Toronto.  At that time residences were not co-ed.


What are some of your strongest memories from your time at New College?

Many of my best memories are from life in residence.  Many of my courses were held outside New College, but my long lasting friendships came mostly from living in residence for two years.


How did your academic and social experience at UofT prepare you for life and your career?

I matured while attending university.  I also expanded my thinking, exploring new fields of study such as psychology and sociology.  Overall, I felt I had a much broader perspective having experienced so many new ideas and friendships at university.


Tell us about some of the lessons you learned and how valuable they are today?

Don’t leave everything to the last minute.  I learned time management skills and how to prioritize.  These skills have been invaluable.


What was important to you then – what is important now?

Graduating and getting a job was important then as well as making new friends.  Retiring and having a happy, healthy future is important now.


What are your major accomplishments and who had the most influence on your Career?

I had a very successful career in telecommunications and participated in major changes in the industry.  This was very exciting.  In 2003, I was appointed Dean of the Richard Ivey School of Business where I put to use the many lessons I learned in business.  It is very rewarding and feels more like a vocation than a job.


In your personal or professional life, what are you most looking forward to?

My retirement and leading a less structured life where I can decide every day what I want to do and pursue some of my passions that have had to take a backseat.


Do you have any final comments?

To the incoming students at New College, I would highly recommend taking advantage of the wide variety of studies and activities that university life offers.  You may not know it at the time, but university can be life changing.  Don’t squander the opportunity and enjoy one of the best times of your life.