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Lessons from the class of '67

Lessons from the class of '67

What was the most valuable thing you learned in the classroom at Queen's?

Diane (Walker), Arts'67, and Jim Thomson, Arts'67, MBA'72

[photo of Diane Thomson]
Diane (Walker) Thomson, Arts'67

"Although the professor might think he or she is the most important person in the classroom, be sure and check out who is sitting next to you. In our case it was each other, in Isabel Laird's child psychology class. We met, fell in love, and the rest is history! Fifty years later, we are still going strong with great memories and good friends whom we met at Queen's."

What was the most valuable lesson you learned outside of the classroom while at Queen's?

"We both learned that community is important and being able to give back to it is rewarding. Diane volunteered at the Sunnyside Children's Centre and Jim taught swimming and refereed basketball. These experiences taught us to always try and help others. We continue to be involved in charitable and community organizations. We support Queen's as members of the Grant Hall Society. Diane served on the board of the Ban Righ Foundation, Jim is the president of MBA'72, and we proudly bought seats in the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts."

What important lessons have you learned in the workforce or in retirement?

[photo of Jim Thomson]
Jim Thomson, Arts'67, MBA'72

"In retirement, we have learned that keeping both body and mind active is important. We enjoy a wonderful group of friends with whom we cross-country ski. We cycle, both at home and abroad, hike, travel, and attend lectures and concerts."

P.S. "That child psychology class was auspicious: it even helped in raising our two wonderful children and it still has value with our four granddaughters! Queen's will always have a special place in our hearts."

What was the most valuable thing you learned in the classroom at Queen’s?

"Independent and critical inquiry were my Queen's legacy in the workplace. It rather limited my ability to be market-driven in my research, but made for a much more satisfying career."
Jim Driscoll, Arts'67, MA'70

"To ask 'What if?'. I learned this from Dr. Reg Clark, (the head of Chemical Engineering) in his first class of Chemical Engineering 100. By way of introducing us to chemical engineering he planted this concept by promising interesting possibilities would await those who take this on. That question still rolls around in my mind – what if?"
R. Forrest Smith, Sc'67

[photo of John Argue]
John Argue, Arts'67

"I learned, first, about the functioning of the federal government and, second, about perspectives of voters in New Brunswick, when I interviewed a number of them for a professor's study on political attitudes. In regard to my own later focus on community development, the first thing was vital in order to appreciate how people advocate for political change successfully in Canada. My second lesson was to appreciate – much more than I had experienced before – how economic inequality affected people's lives and how that affected their attitudes to politics and government."John Argue, Arts'67

[photo of John Hay]
John Hay, Sc'67

"Nearly everything is understandable if you keep at it. However there are some things that you will likely never understand, even though others seem to (in my case, Lebesgue integration and English grammar), so just let them go and concentrate on your strengths."
John Hay, Sc'67

What was the most valuable lesson you learned outside the classroom at Quen's?

photo of Dorris Heffron]
Dorris Heffron, Arts'67, MA'69

"Outside of the classroom we were students of the sixties. We learned to make love, not war, and to be part of the 'movement', which I took to be being part of social progress. I still try to be that kind of liberal-minded person, helping others in society. The hippie 'drop out of society and do drugs' scene was not part of my Arts '67 class as I knew it. I became a novelist, which is not the most obviously valuable occupation, but my friends and classmates became leaders in social services such as law, social work, and teaching."
Dorris Heffron, Arts'67, MA'69

[photo of Robert Millar]
Robert Millar, Sc'67

"That having a few good friends and colleagues to work and study with, socialize with, and commiserate with helps keep you sane. CFRC Radio was a great place to get to do something completely different from school. And being able to play with all the neat equipment was like being a kia in a candy shop."
Robert Millar, Sc'67

What important lessons have you learned in the workforce or in retirement?

[photo of Paul Davidson]
Paul Davidson, Sc'67

"A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions."
Paul Davidson, Sc'67

"Relationships are a construct, there is no secret, if you are having a problem and really want to solve it, look in the mirror and you are looking at the problem. Definitely true in the truly important relationships like with your partner, your children, your in-laws. You can only really change yourself."
R. Forrest Smith, Sc'67

"I learned to profit from mistakes, stay committed to ambitions, and always find a way to give back to the people and institutions that have helped me along."
Dave Carney, Sc'67

"Never sacrifice your ethical standards, no matter how much pressure comes from above. You have to live with yourself forever."
John Hay

What do you wish you had known when you were a student?

"How to recognize and deal with the signs of too much stress. 'Nervous breakdown' wasn't a term that was on anyone's radar back then ... least of all engineers."
Robert Millar

[photo of Dave Carney]
Dave Carney, Sc'67

"I wish I knew as a student that all of the terribly technical knowledge I was going to learn would be outdated or irrelevant within five years."
Dave Carney

"I wish I had had more of an inkling of what wonderful lives we would be able to make. It would have added to the sense of joy and lucky privilege I felt in being a student at Queen's. Imagine if I had known my housemate, Shirley Tilghman, whose company and friendship I so enjoyed, would become the first female president of Princeton University!"
Dorris Heffron

These Queen's engineers were home economists, too!

[photo of Don Anderson 1967]
Don Anderson, Sc'67

Hark back 50 years to the 1966-67 school year at Queen's. Four engineers – Don, Art, Bill, and Jim, in their final years, needed a roof over their heads and food to eat. Not just four nerdly, but handsome guys who were whizzes at applied science – no! – these guys were good at home economics, too!

Bill found us a four-bedroom, two-storey house to rent at the corner of Brock and Alfred for $180 monthly, or $45 each. A trip to the Salvation Army thrift store yielded a sofa and two armchairs for $7 total. The 20+ years of accumulated dust and grime was partly beaten out of them on the boulevard the day we go them. The dining room was devoid of furniture and was used as a parking spot for my motorcycle.

We splurged a bit on a good used fridge and stove at $50 each. They were essential to our food planning. We bought a quarter of beef for 39 cents a pound, and had it cut and packaged, and rented a locker downtown. Art's parents owned Halimar Lodge in Haliburton, so Art dutifully visited his parents every few weeks and, besides bringing back his clean laundry, he always came back with several boxes of canned and packaged goods as well. Our Eng. Phys. whiz, Jim, volunteered to do all the cooking (he pursued a restaurant business, post-grad.) He was outstanding: we ate like kings! I remember we polished off a four-pound roast in one sitting. Jim's specialty was grilling steaks. We would open up the front and back doors and Jim would crank up the oven to max, throw in a bunch of steaks, and "BBQ" them in the oven. Clouds of smoke could be seen billowing out into the back yard. Strangely, the neighbours never called the fire department!

Our spartan house included a rotary telephone but ... no TV, no computers, not even a calculator! (We had to use slide rules.) We were decidedly low-tech.

Oh yeah, and tuition that year was $700. Okay, so that was 50 years ago. But to put all those numbers into perspective, my first full-time entry-level engineering job in 1967 paid $6700 a year.

Frugally yours,

Don Anderson, Sc'67

[cover graphic of Queen's Alumni Review, issue 4-2017]