Initiative Campaign

Commerce '48: A Gift of Gratitude

Class of Commerce '48


Commerce and Administration, Class of 1948

Consider it a helping hand, reaching out across the decades. A gift from one group of Queen’s students who – grateful to their school – decided to pay it forward and help a new generation.

Robert Dolinar (Com'16)

John and Eunice Purkis at
the Arts Formal

Created to mark the fiftieth reunion of the commerce class of 1948, The Commerce ’48 Entrance Award is given out each year to deserving first-year commerce students, based on a mixture of financial need and academic achievement.

Robert Dolinar (Com'16)

Robert Dolinar, Com'16

"Most of us were veterans and the only reason we could go to school was because of the veterans’ credits," says John Purkis, the president of the class. "We got a living allowance and our tuition was all paid." Notable successful members of the class of 1948 include Gerry Sutton, who headed Canada’s first-ever venture capital company, and Mike Curry, long-time TSE chairman.

"We were so grateful," says Purkis, "we wanted to help others." On the eve of their fiftieth anniversary in 1998, the class members came up with the idea of an entrance award for new commerce students.  "University education these days is not cheap,’ says Purkis. Today, as the class’s surviving members prepare to mark the 65th anniversary of their graduation, they have built up more than $500,000 in equity to support the award. Each year the fund generates approximately $15,000, which is distributed to a number of students.

Today's commerce students are every bit as grateful for their opportunities as those long-ago young veterans. "This award has meant very much to me," says Robert Dolinar, Com'16, one of 2012’s recipients.  "In effect, it has allowed me to pursue my academic education at Queen's University. Without its assistance ... I would not have the access to the wealth of opportunities that Queen's provides."


The class that enrolled in 1944 was made up almost exclusively of World War II veterans