Queen's University

Memories of a social convenor

Ralph Lortie, PhD'79, of Mississaugo, ON, recalls his time as social convenor of Grad House.

Re: “From Grad House to Grad Club”, Issue #1-2011, p.8

I moved into Grad House in January, 1972, and was given the nicest room, on the third floor, facing west. With a big window, my room was bright, especially in the afternoon.

In February or March, at a GSS meeting, I was conned into taking the job as Social Convener. My job was to obtain Liquor ­Licences for TGIF, and all departmental parties, and to order all the beer and liquor that would be required in the next week. TGIF usually consumed about 50 cases of beer.

I also had to order special beers – imports and scarce Canadian brands – for the Beer Appreciation Society, which met in the basement every second Wednesday, to sample the beers and play darts. We usually played until two a.m., sometimes ‘til three.

Life at Grad House was wonderful, and I will never forget it.

In April that year, I brought my three-year-old daughter, Renee, to Grad House. While I was there, Sandy Ramen (the architect and urban planner) was the House Manager. Sandy and I made Grad House a profitable establishment. Sandy bought new mattresses for all the bedrooms, and got a contractor in to paint the basement (in Queen’s Tricolour).

I have to differ from the original story on one point. There might have been room for 11 boarders, but all the rooms were used as singles. So, in fact, there were only seven boarders while I was there.
In March of ’73, I had to give up my job as Social Convener, to concentrate on my thesis.
I left Grad House and Queen’s, in May ’74, to take a job with Cominco in Toronto. It wasn’t until ’79 that I finally got my PhD in Geological Sciences.

Sheila Cornett left Grad House about four months after I began my residency there. She has sent me a copy of her letter (above), and I recognized almost every name on her bon voyage card.

Queen's Alumni Review, 2011 Issue #2Queen's Alumni Review
2011 Issue #2
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