Skip to main content

Your browser is not supported. Please download one of the following browsers:

Centenary Soirée: a memorable evening connecting past and future

event attedees socializing
Guests starting the Soirée celebration in the “1920s Lounge” 

A year of celebration

On a sunny day in June 1924, six men and one woman walked across the stage at Convocation Hall. The first ever cohort of U of T graduates to be granted a Bachelor of Commerce degree, they threw their caps in the air and felt ready to take on the world. 

Fast-forward one hundred years and the age of the undergraduate business program at the St. George campus has officially reached triple digits; June 2024 marks the 100th anniversary of that first graduation. A number of activities through 2023 and 2024 have marked the anniversary with themes of past-present-future, connection and community.

The party of our century 

On May 28, 2024, alumni, current students, donors, faculty, partners, staff and friends of Rotman Commerce were invited to come together for the Centenary Soirée. The Rotman School of Management was transformed to represent the decades during which the program has been offered.  

Starting off in the “1920s Lounge”, guests were welcomed into a glittering jazz-age-themed hall by costumed Rotman Commerce staff in glamorous flapper dresses and plenty of beads. A live band and pink mocktails allowed attendees to immerse themselves into a long-ago Toronto full of the energy of the “Roaring 20’s.”

As guests strolled through the building, they discovered activations including memorabilia, panels featuring moments in Rotman Commerce’s history, and decades-old yearbooks to flip through. A vintage varsity jacket also welcomed everyone to travel down Rotman Commerce’s extensive memory lane, while a photobooth allowed groups to capture a moment in the present. Looking to the future, attendees were invited to contribute good wishes to the Class of 2024.

One of the onsite activations at the Soirée

Climbing to the top of the Rotman School of Management’s famed pink staircase, the guests stepped into Desautels Hall, abuzz with inspired conversation and bright ideas. Students eager to learn and alumni happy to share their experience and invest in the future took the initiative to connect and form valuable bonds. 

A surprising sneak peek—exclusively for guests

Student Jay Chuang (BCom ‘25) opened the evening’s remarks with a personalized land acknowledgement and went on to reflect on his personal experience with Rotman Commerce’s resources and community. 

“As an international student, I am also in the process of learning about the history of the Indigenous communities. The gaining strength of Indigenous voices here in Canada has given the opportunity for newcomers like me to learn and draw parallel with the Indigenous communities worldwide that were, and often are still, in similar situations.”

Jay Chuang (BCom ‘25)
From left: Catherine Barrette (Director, Rotman Commerce); Jay Chuang (BCom ’25); Melanie Woodin (Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science and Professor of Cell & Systems Biology); Susan Christoffersen (Dean of the Rotman School of Management and William A. Downe BMO Chair, Professor of Finance)

Susan Christoffersen spoke about the strength of Rotman Commerce’s community, highlighting the contributions of every group ranging from current students to faculty to donors.

“Each of you makes Rotman Commerce not just an academic program, but a home for those who seek to challenge the status quo and make meaningful contributions to the world. Looking ahead to the next century, let’s continue to build on this powerful sense of community.”

Susan Christoffersen, Dean of the Rotman Commerce School of Management

Concluding her remarks, Dean Christoffersen introduced a video which revealed renderings for the first-ever dedicated Rotman Commerce building. To be completed in the future, the light-filled and welcoming structure will enhance the learning experience and offer numerous opportunities for RC students. 

Dean Melanie Woodin spoke further about the new building. With the aim of providing students with everything they need in one space, ranging from classes and program services to study spaces and cafes, this “new home” will bring the community even closer together. The convenience of the new space will allow for more opportunities than ever to connect, inspiring students to envision changing the future together. 

After the video, the room was lit up by lively conversation as guests envisioned what the building would make possible. Alum Boris Tsimerinov (B.Com 2004; GPLLM 2016), remarked, “As one of the founding members of the Rotman Commerce Alumni Steering Committee, I am happy to hear of the plans for the dedicated Rotman Commerce building and see it as an excellent location for the student and the alumni community to come together with ease and comfort. It will be nice to have this as a hub for alumni visiting the campus where active classwork takes place.”

Getting a sneak peek at the new building was only part of the excitement of the evening. Over 100 current students attended the event and to them, it represented not only the legacy of leadership that they are inheriting but also a harbinger of new opportunities ahead.

“Being surrounded by the history as well as the legacy of Rotman Commerce was equally inspirational as it was gratifying! I’m so incredibly honoured to have had the opportunity to attend the RC100 Centenary Soirée and truly learn about what it means to be a Rotman Commerce grad, whether through the success of everyone’s professional careers or simply being reminded that I am part of such a diverse, supportive community. But more than that, it was a reminder of inspiration and hope for all that the future holds.”

Namita Pise (BCom ‘25)

Related links

By Raisa Harusova (BCom ’26) | June 4, 2024

Navi Mental Health Wayfinder