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New Directions
(1945 - 1960)


“We realize that the situation in the Province has been changing, and consideration has been given to expanding the program of the School to give greater weight to Business Administration.  The short course for business executives at Banff is an indication of the concern of the University to meet emerging needs.”
President Andrew Stewart, March 13, 1953

With the end of World War II and the massive surge in the search for higher education, the University and the School of Business were subjected to an extraordinarily high demand – a demand which was coupled with pressure for major changes in the provision of not only traditional business education but also a large number of new programs and courses. 

Chapter 3, therefore, provides an overview of a period when many of the traditional offerings gave way to additional areas of study and development with crucial changes occurring in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  That the process was convoluted and subject to many strains will become apparent.  1945-1960 was to be crucial in marking significant changes both to the University in general and also created profound changes in the School of Commerce. 

While the end of World War II in 1945 marked a return to a more normal period, it also marked the beginning of a major increase in student enrolment – an increase which reflected the rapid growth of the province and the post war demand for university education.  This period of growth (which also included the need for additional staff) brought about changes in organization and processes. 

Also of importance at this particular time were a number of appointments of individuals who were to play a major role in the development of the School of Commerce.  1945 saw, for example, the appointment of J.D. Campbell as Associate Professor of Accounting and the hiring of E.J. Hanson by the Department of Political Economy.  The latter was to play a significant role in matters affecting the School of Commerce since the relationship between Political Economy and Commerce was often acrimonious and lead to a number of “turf” battles.

The post war period was characterized by major increases in the number of students coming to the University and gave rise to a number of problems – particularly problems of staff recruitment and space.  The space issue led to the discussion of potential quotas with an article in the Edmonton Journal (October 11, 1945) headlined, “Critical Varsity Crowding Worries Board of Governors.”  President Newton pointed out that the University had 2,527 undergraduate students and 86 graduate students,  700 more than in 1939, which had been the peak year for registrations.  The “mix”, as it were, of civilian and Veterans varied by Faculty and School.  However, in the case of Commerce, fall registration consisted of 45 civilians and 132 Veterans (also referred to as Rehab students).  By the time registration was completed, Commerce eventually had 177 students for the academic year 1945-46.
At the 51st meeting of the School of Commerce Council Meeting, October 15, 1945,

    “… Reference was made to the possibility that a quota might be necessary for the January enrollment in First Year B.Comm.  Mr. Clem King [Honourary President of the Commerce Club, 1944-45] stated that he had been looking into the matter of the likely enrolment in January and, basing his estimate on the September figures, suggested that we could expect about 70 registrants.

    “It was agreed that no definite steps could well be taken at the moment but that the situation should be watched as registration proceeded.”

At the 52nd meeting of the School of Commerce, November 27, 1945, the group dealt, briefly, with a proposal to offer University Courses on Hotel Management. “The meeting decided that no action was called for and left it to Professor Campbell to make whatever contribution he saw fit to the teaching of that subject in whatever courses (if there were any) in which it might be relevantly touched upon.”

At this same meeting, considerable discussion took place on the question of required courses.  An overview of the program underlined the somewhat “narrow” view of business courses as such since, in essence, the program still consisted of Accounting courses with some from other disciplines such as Mathematics, Political Economy, et al.  Also of importance at this meeting was additional discussion to again consider the introduction of a fourth year to the commerce program.  This would be considered an Honours Course in Business Administration comparable to an existing Honours Course in Political Economy.  It was noted that, given the anticipated increased enrolment by Veterans from World War II, there was some urgency in considering this issue.
[UAA, 68-1, 3/4/4/3/2, Box 13]

Other developments took place in 1946.  Dean Macdonald wrote to Mr. Clem King (March 19, 1946) with reference to a new course, Accounting 56, inter alia, and noted that some courses were to be considered compulsory for the fourth year “Honours in Business Administration.”  This was a significant factor inasmuch as the program eventually evolved from a three-year program to a four-year program.  What is of interest is that the new Accounting 56 course was “… designed to cover certain of the specific aspects of marketing, business finance, and personnel management ….”
[UAA, 68-1, 3/4/4/4/3/1, Box 13]

At the 53rd meeting of the School of Commerce held on April 8, 1946, two items of interest were discussed.  The one referred to making English a required first year course in Commerce; the second was the announcement that “… the firm of Winspear Hamilton, Anderson and Co. were offering a scholarship of $500.00 a year for outstanding work in the School of Commerce.” [UAA, 68-1, 3/4/4/3/2, Box 13] 

At the next meeting of Commerce Council (May 2, 1946), reference was made to Marcel Lambert as the first recipient of The Winspear-Hamilton-Anderson Scholarship.  Marcel Lambert went on to become a Rhodes Scholar and M.P. who served as the Speaker of the House in the first Diefenbaker government and then went on to become a Cabinet Minister.  His Rhodes Scholarship was also referred to in the 1947 edition of Evergreen and Gold.  Later that same year (July 2, 1946),  John Macdonald (Dean of Arts and Science) wrote to Eric Hanson with reference to the latter’s reappointment as a Sessional instructor in Political Economy.  While Eric Hanson was to be a major influence in the development of the School of Commerce, he also became one of the major critics of any proposal to incorporate the Department of Political Economy as an integral part of the School of Commerce.  [68-1, 3/4/4/2/1-20, Box 13]

The 1946 edition of Evergreen and Gold noted that
    “The executive of the Commerce Club has had to learn to count above thirty this year with the influx of over a hundred freshmen, mostly veterans, and the return to the fold of several upperclassmen, who took a few years off while in the armed forces….
    “The Annual Banquet and Dance, held this year at the Macdonald, climaxed a year which saw the club transformed from a small enthusiastic (but select) to a large, enthusiastic (and just as select) group.  The only difference is in numbers – but it certainly has made a difference.”

    On September 30, 1946, President Kerr wrote to Andrew Stewart confirming Andrew’s promotion to that of a full Professor as of September 1, 1946, at a salary of $4,500 per year.  As well, another underlying premise of this appointment was that Andrew Stewart would eventually be “…assuming the headship of the Department of Political Economy.” [UAA, 68-1, 3/4/4/2/1, Box 13]   However, what was to prove to be of even greater significance was the leadership of Andrew Stewart in Commerce and, eventually, the Presidency of the University of Alberta.

At the Commerce Council meeting of October 25, 1946 (the 55th), a number of issues were considered.  J.D. Campbell referred to the Commerce Club and suggested a ‘more or less informal’ relationship with the School.  However, the consensus was that, while the initiative should rest with the Commerce Club, the School was prepared to take an active interest should the students wish it to do so.
An intriguing aspect of the future appears in the October 31, 1946, edition of the Edmonton Journal.  Under the headline Will study Need for South Varsity, the article goes on:

        “Development of a branch of the University of Alberta in the southern part of the province – possibly in Calgary – will be studied during the winter by a committee of the university’s senate, it was announced Thursday following a meeting of the body.
        “The study will be undertaken in discussions with the Calgary committee pressing for the development.  The senate committee will go to Calgary to discuss with the Calgary committee points raised in a memorandum considered by the senate at its meeting.
        “… An informal report was made by the president on the problems of finding classroom space, and it was pointed out it was necessary to advance the permanent building program in order to cope with increased demands for laboratory space.  These increased demands will come when the present large freshman classes move into senior years.
        “Of about 4,150 students now attending the university, nearly 2,000 are freshmen.”
[UAA, 68-1, 3/4/9/3/1-2, Box 45]

The question of an Honours Program again surfaced with the Institute of Chartered Accountants arguing that the proposed Honours Program could be detrimental since it was felt that it might jeopardize the time required for students to obtain the minimum time required to obtain sufficient professional experience.  At the 57th meeting of Commerce Council, March 26, 1947, it was pointed out that some students had been approached by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) about the possibility of taking an extra fourth year leading to a Honours Program in Business Administration.  However, since this would not occur until 1948-49, no action was taken at this meeting.

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"My own impression is that we should look forward in the not distant future to some organization corresponding to a School of Commerce of which this might very well form a part. Commercial Departments in connection with Universities have so far not been successful in Canada, although I believe that after some years now the one at McGill is making some progress."

- Dr Tory, First President of the UofA
16 January 1919