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Editor's Note in Summer 2009

Editor's Note in Summer 2009

There’s nothing like a special occasion to bring people together. We knew when planning this 90th anniversary issue that the story of QSB through the decades could best be told by those who lived it, so we sent requests to Class Presidents and alumni leaders, looking for volunteers to serve as ‘spokespersons’ for their class. The Dean and I were gratified by the response that enabled us to select one class from each decade since the 1930s – the earliest for which we still have living graduates – to tell their stories.

As expected, there were huge differences between the experiences of a Commerce grad of the 1930s and those of this year’s graduating class. Chances are, if any of John Welch’s (BCom’38) professors had predicted that in the future business students would be downloading assignments out of thin air using hand-held devices smaller than a wallet, they would have been marched down the street to Kingston General Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. The photos from the 1930s and 1940s features also tell a story, of students wearing fedoras to football games and suits and ties to class. Compare this to the fashions of the Class of 2009, where skinny jeans and t-shirts in class were the norm – and for both sexes.

These are superficial differences, though. What struck me was how many student traditions have stood the test of time. Orientation at Frosh Week remains a bonding experience. Queen’s Bands and the skirl of bagpipes, tams in faculty colours, Oil Thigh kick lines, and “I Like Commerce” t-shirts – these are some of the enduring symbols of the Queen’s experience. It’s gratifying indeed to see that these traditions still endure, and still matter.

But another facet of these reminiscences is far more significant. Perhaps the most telling common thread is the impact – often life- and career-altering – that many of the School’s professors have had on successive generations. The feature on page 21 pays tribute to these professors who were so fondly remembered. Several of them exerted their influence across the decades and several are still on faculty.

The School is deeply indebted to all the alumni who shared their recollections and thereby made this issue possible. We sent them rummaging in their attics for old photos, and I’m pleased to report that in at least one case, this resulted in a piece of family history being uncovered. Dave Wilson, BCom’64, reported that when searching (in vain, as it turned out) for a photo of himself in his Queen’s Bands uniform, he came across one of his father as a ten-year-old, dressed as a piper in full Scots regalia. “A joyous trip down memory lane,” Dave writes.

The majority of the photos that accompany the decade features were gleaned from Tricolour yearbooks and other collections in the Queen’s Archives, a treasure trove of material on the University’s history. While researchers found some photos that prompted hoots of ‘Eureka!’ (see the photo of the ‘Water Bowl’ on page 7), there were gaps in the collection that the School would very much like to fill. If you’re willing to part with any old Tricolours or Commerce or MBA Yearbooks or with other photos from your student days, please drop me a line at or write to the address on page 1. If you can’t part with them but would lend them to us for scanning into our digital collection, that would be appreciated, too.

Another long-standing QSB tradition is one of healthy competition between classes. If your class is not represented in the following pages, and you think that it should be in a future issue, please let me know. We’re so pleased with the results of this issue’s retrospectives that we plan to make these a regular feature. So, send your proposal, with an explanation as to why your class should be chosen. Submissions received by Oct. 1 will be considered for the next issue.

I sincerely hope you enjoy this special anniversary issue. Producing it was very much a labour of love.



Shelley Pleiter