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The 2000s

Surfing the Web into the new Millennium
Alec Ross
From the ghetto to a night out

When Matthew Price, BCom’09, was in kindergarten in Kanata, outside Ottawa, his teacher asked him to draw a picture of himself as an adult. Matthew remembers depicting himself as a “business man” – just like his father, Nick Price, MBA’86, currently President of Toronto-based VCI Controls Inc.

Bosses instilling Commerce spirit at Frosh Week At age 17, Matthew followed in his father’s footsteps by choosing Queen’s when he enrolled in Commerce. While the majority of his father’s classes were held in Dunning Hall, Matthew began his studies in Goodes Hall, the state-of-the-art facility that has been the School’s home since 2002. Another difference was the advent of advanced technology. Unlike his father, Matthew and his classmates were required to own a laptop computer, technology unheard of in his father’s era. The novelty of the laptop in the classroom and as a staple of life in general soon wore off, and Matthew and his peers grew accustomed to preparing PowerPoint presentations, using MSN and Facebook to organize their social lives, and tracking class and Commerce Society activities via the online “Commerce Portal.” And then there was email, the now indispensable communications tool.

Frosh tams and ‘I Like Commerce’ t-shirts rule“Many of us were exposed at a relatively early age to sending and receiving up to 100 messages a day,” says Matthew. “This became more prevalent as BlackBerrys became popular – especially in fourth year, when not having a BlackBerry or iPhone was uncommon and everyone was reachable by phone, email or Facebook anywhere, anytime.”

The Class Of '09 Lived Through The Biggest Campus Building Boom Since The 1970s

Best of friends Though the technology may have made communication easier and faster, it was no magic bullet in helping to decode the notoriously challenging curriculum. Matthew still shudders at the difficulty of professors Wei Wang’s Finance II course and Gary Bissonette’s dreaded (but valuable) “Shoe Game” and “Capstone Simulation” in his Business Management and Communication and Business Policy courses. Organizational Behaviour professor Bill Cooper challenged students differently by assigning massive amounts of reading and often deliberately aiming tough questions at hapless souls who weren’t prepared for class. Another who left a big impression was Marketing professor Ken Wong,who, like Bill Cooper, also taught Matthew’s father. “He brilliantly merged marketing with strategy and sent us on our way into the real world with tangible lessons that we’ll remember no matter what business discipline we pursue or situation we encounter,” says Matthew.

“Not having A Blackberry Or IPhone Was Uncommon And Everyone Was Reachable By Phone, Email Or Facebook Anywhere, Anytime.”

Hanging out in front of Goodes Hall While in-class experiences shaped the Class of 2009, so did extracurricular activities, many of them organized by the Commerce Society during Matthew’s presidency. Some were more academic, such as the 2007 Queen’s Entrepreneurs’ Competition, where Clive Beddoe, the founder and former CEO of WestJet, was a judge and speaker; and this year’s Queen’s Conference on International Business, where Jerry del Missier, BSc’85, MBA’87, President of Barclays Capital, offered a first-hand perspective on the global recession. Other activities were less formal: Friday “Board Meetings” at Alfie’s, for instance, and frequent “All Year Social” (AYS) events. Matthew says these and a multitude of other get-togethers helped bond the Class of ’09, but none more so than when they raised more than $16,500 for a scholarship in memory of Bakhytzhan “Baha” Bekenov, a classmate from Kazakhstan who died of an undiagnosed medical condition in November 2008. Matthew counts this – the largest Commerce graduating class gift in recent memory – as the group’s greatest collective achievement.

On exchange Like everyone at Queen’s in the 2000s, the Class of ’09 lived through the biggest campus building boom since the 1970s. Matthew remembers feeling the ground shake as crews blasted out bedrock for the foundation of the Queen’s Centre and the parking garage under Tindall Field. He also recalls having to navigate an ever-changing series of detours to avoid the construction along University Avenue, which was completely rebuilt between Union and Stuart streets. And, while he won’t be around to deal with the work-crew disruptions, he and his classmates were in strong support of the decision to expand Goodes Hall, and were the first year to contribute to the historic $1.2 million student pledge towards its construction—a pledge to which close to 70% of Commerce students donated in 2008-09.