Christian Carroll recalls trying “a lot of different things at Indiana University” before he decided to walk into the Indiana Memorial Union Board offices in 1988. He was interested in politics, and he’d run for student senate his freshman year, losing by three votes. It was after he attended several Union Board-sponsored lectures and events that he was motivated to visit the office, his sights set on becoming lectures director for the group, and he ended up serving as Union Board president in 1990.
Carroll who leaves the John Whittenberger Society board this year after eight years of service—the last six as president; two as vice president.
Now a managing partner and senior vice president at Lienau Sales & Marketing in Seattle, Carroll said it was impressions Ken Gros Louis and Winston Shindell left with him that set him on a successful career path: “Seeing someone like them, with such stature, have faith in me and to treat me like an adult, really made an impact.”
Harboring aspirations of becoming a political media consultant, Carroll didn’t take any detours away from challenging issues related to Union Board and IMU during his tenure as president. Union Board banned the ROTC from recruiting in the union because of the ban on gays in the military, and when the idea was floated to create a meeting room out of the union’s East Lounge, a popular spot for students to relax, and yes, sometimes take naps, Carroll led strategy to protect the space.
“We pulled together a coalition of student leaders and others, including the new student trustee on the Board of Trustees and the mayor of Bloomington at the time, to save the lounge,” Carroll recalled. “I even consulted Herman B Wells at the time. He would never give you his opinion, but would always help you to make a decision yourself.”
As every Whittenberger Society member can attest, the East Lounge remains virtually as it was nearly 30 years ago when the Union Board turned back the meeting room idea.
Today, Carroll makes his living in merchandising, but it was his experiences with Union Board that set him on that course, via an initial job in Los Angeles booking celebrities for college speaking tours. Recognizing his past empowered his future, he’s remained committed to supporting Union Board, IMU, and Indiana University. He has served as chair of Union Board’s Biennial reunion, provided financial support for scholarship funds, and this year he began a four-year term on the IU Alumni Association’s executive council.
For Carroll’s significant contributions on the John Whittenberger Society Advisory Board and more, he was awarded the 2019 Indiana Memorial Union Legacy Award at the 41st Union Board Biennial Reunion.