Memories from the 70s 1970

Peter Kingston and Mike Gilbert

When Peter Kingston and Mike Gilbert of the Commerce Class of 1978 arrived in 1974, courses were demanding and exam-time stressful. Teaching technologies were decidedly low-tech. Legendary business professors such as Frank Collom, Rick Jackson, Merv Daub and Carl Lawrence relied on textbooks, chalkboards and overhead projectors as teaching aids; email, videoconferencing and the World Wide Web were still years away. Most Commerce students took a basic computer course that required them to write simple programs, and students lined up late at night with scores of engineering and computer science counterparts to slip computer punch-cards into the handful of mainframes on campus.

The Commerce '78 class organized the first Queen's Conference on the Business Environment Today (Q’BET), an annual event that still brings together students and business leaders from across Canada to provide a forum for learning about the national business climate. The highlight of the inaugural gathering in November 1977 was a panel discussion featuring John Munro, then minister of labour under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau; Shirley Carr, the outspoken head of the Canadian Labour Congress; and William Dimma, then-president of the Toronto Star.

Other notable achievements included the writing of a new Commerce Society constitution and creating separate vice-president positions for internal and external matters. Class members also contributed to the launch of Inquiry on Business, the School’s first magazine and predecessor of Smith Magazine (formerly QSB Magazine). All-night house parties, Commerce Stag, and participation in BEWS/WIC intramural sports were favourite activities.

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