Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

The Magazine Of Queen's University

Search form

Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor

David Haughton, Sc’65, PhD’71, writes about Dr. Peter Roeder, Professor Emeritus, Geological Sciences. Dr. Haughton remembers Dr. Roeder as a great scientist and also a bit of a practical joker. Melvyn Swain, Arts'59, Diploma in Business Administration'60, MBA'62, discusses how the new Queen's Graduate Diploma in Business program is the return of a great idea. In 1959, Mr. Swain took part in a new Diploma in Business Administration program, which, he found, was a great introduction to the world of business.

Remembering Dr. Peter Roeder

While reading the Alumni Review, I learned that Dr. Peter Roeder, Professor Emeritus, Geological Sciences, had died. This news will cause all who knew Dr. Roeder great sadness. However, this is tempered by the knowledge that he was a great scientist and a loving family man. Delightfully, based on my experience, he was occasionally a practical joker.

As a scientist, he was a global leader in the field of experimental petrology. He got me interested in oxygen and sulphur fugacites and conducting high temperature experiments at a lab in the basement of Miller Hall. These fugacities are relevant to Sudbury nickel deposits and also to lunar rocks.

With his guidance, I completed my BSc. and Ph.D. at Queen’s, which led me to do postdoctoral work at Yale University. I must admit that I had played a practical joke on Dr. Roeder when studying for my Ph.D. My wife and I had dressed up as ghosts and collected candy treats from the Roeders, and then produced paper notes demanding more candy. We then revealed ourselves, to everyone’s amusement.

Later, when I was continuing some experimental research at Yale, on oxygen and sulphur pressures on basaltic magmas relating to sulphide ore and to lunar basalts, I received a phone call from a supposed U.S. draft board to report for service. In spite of my exhaustive protestations stating exemption as a Canadian, I was informed that I must still report for military service. When I asked “To whom I should report?” the caller said, “Major Peter Roeder.” I was extremely relieved to know that he had returned the practical joke.

In 1974, he and I co-authored (with Brian Skinner) a paper in Economic Geology on the “Solubility of Sulfur in Mafic Magmas” which was a culmination of work that had commenced at Queen’s with my friend and mentor Dr. Peter Roeder.

David Haughton, Sc’65, PhD’71 (Geology)
Brentwood Bay, BC

The return of a good idea

My interest was caught by the ad for the 2015 launch of the four- month Queen's Graduate Diploma in Business program (Issue 3, 2014.) What a great opportunity for a non-business graduate to gain an overview of business fundamentals, while intensifying her or his conviction and qualifications to explore future business-oriented career paths.

This took me way back in time to September 1959 when the university launched an eight-month graduate program called Queen's Diploma in Business Administration. I completed the diploma's required commerce and economics courses after getting my B.A. degree, also at Queen's. Then I enrolled in Queen's inaugural MBA program set to launch in 1960.

I assume there is still a handful (and at times one professor called us "a real handful") of us surviving Queen's graduates, even a professor or two, who participated in this one-year inaugural business diploma program of 55 years ago. I found it a fine experimental year of business exposure and it motivated me to pursue an MBA. Then, armed with such a well-rounded quality Queen's business education to augment my general Arts background, doors opened to immediate job offers and groomed me advantageously to tackle oncoming opportunities and challenges in the financial world. [Mr. Swain went on to a career with the London Life Insurance Company.]

So, no doubt the new Queen's Graduate Diploma in Business program will also be well received this mid-spring of 2015, and prove highly successful and rewarding for its students. In addition, its future graduates may enjoy the amazing bonus of building life-long friendships with classmates, faculty and staff. I know I have thoroughly benefitted from such a wonderful bonus over my half-century as a proud Queen's alumnus.

Melvyn Swain, Arts'59, Diploma in Business Administration'60, MBA'62
London, Ont.

[Queen's Alumni Review 2014 issue 4 cover]