Celebrating a century of commerce

Celebrating a century of commerce

Digital storytelling campaign showcases the breadth and depth of the program’s 100-year legacy

By Communications Staff

September 13, 2019


Commerce 100
Smith School of Business at Queen’s University is celebrating a century of innovation with the arrival of Com'23, the 100th commerce class. (Photo by Greg Black) 

Smith School of Business at Queen’s University is celebrating a century of innovation with the arrival of the 100th commerce class (Com’23) at Goodes Hall.

Queen’s University launched the first undergraduate business degree in Canada in 1919 and as the program grew in popularity, the business school that is now Smith was established.

To mark the milestone, a digital storytelling campaign has been launched to showcase the breadth and depth of the program’s 100-year legacy. A new interactive website – smithqueens.com/100 – invites the community to explore some of the many highlights, profiles, memories, and stories from the last 100 years. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni are invited to share their experiences and memories of commerce via an online form on the site. 

“I have had the pleasure of meeting alumni from many decades of the Commerce program – some as far back as the 1930s – and the one thing that has remained constant over the past 100 years is the quality of the Queen’s experience,” says David Saunders, Dean, Smith School of Business. “This outstanding experience not only fosters talented students, but creates alumni who remain engaged with the program long after they have graduated.”

The 100th commerce class reflects the growth and diversity of the business world. There are 495 students in the Class of 2023, 52 per cent are women. They come not just from all over Canada but from around the world, too. Seventeen per cent of the 100th commerce class is international, with citizenship from countries such as Bulgaria, Ireland, India, Peru, Jordan, Pakistan, Nigeria and China.

This, of course, was all far off in 1919. The first graduating class of 1921 comprised just two students. The next year seven students graduated, including the first woman to earn an undergraduate business degree, Beatrice Eakins. The curriculum focused heavily on economics and math in the early days and over the years, academics have remained central to the student experience.

Smith Commerce is renowned for its excellence and leadership in business education, having pioneered team-based and experiential learning. Students attain a deep understanding of business strategies and concepts, while at the same time fostering personal capacity in leadership, teamwork, cultural intelligence, resilience, communication, and presentation.

A number of events to celebrate the 100th anniversary are being planned and will be announced soon.

Discover the rich history and legacy of the Commerce program, and share your memories, at smithqueens.com/100.

Smith Business