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Queen’s Commerce Notable Alumni

by Joel Nicholson Last updated Apr 25, 2020

Queen’s Commerce boasts many notable alumni, from the Musk brothers to Melvin Goodes and Gordon Nixon. 

Although he didn’t graduate from Queen’s, Elon Musk attended Queen’s Commerce for two years before deciding to transfer to the University of Pennsylvania to study economics and physics. Interestingly, Elon Musk met his first wife, novelist Justine Wilson, while they were both students at Queen’s.

Elon Musk’s younger brother, Kimbal Musk, did graduate from Queen’s Commerce. Right after graduating in 1995, Kimbal and Elon Musk created the software Zip2, which was acquired by Compaq just four years later in 1999 for $340 million

Since then Kimbal Musk has had a variety of successes. He owns The Kitchen Restaurant Group with restaurants in five US states. He is the co-founder of Big Green, an outdoor learning nonprofit and Square Roots, an urban-farming company in New York. He also still collaborates with his older brother as he sits on the board of Tesla Inc. and SpaceX

Melvin Goodes is another well-known Queen’s Commerce alumni. He was the chairman and CEO of the massive pharmaceutical company Warner-Lambert. 

Gordon Nixon received an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1979 and was the CEO and President of the Royal Bank of Canada from 2001-2014. 

Funnily enough, Stephen Smith, for whom Smith’s Commerce is named, didn’t graduate from Queen’s Commerce, but from Queen’s Engineering. As the co-founder of First National, Stephen Smith donated $50 million to the Queen’s School of Business. This is the largest donation ever made to a Canadian business school and is the reason why Queen’s Commerce changed their official name to Smith Commerce.

As you might’ve guessed, Stephen Smith is a very smart, nice, and humble guy.

Learn More About Queen’s Commerce Alumni

It’s hard to offer a complete list of “notable alumni” because so many students are successful and “notability” is such a subjective assessment.

But, if you want to get a sense for what Queen’s Commerce alumni get up to after graduation, the Smith Magazine alumni notes section is a great resource, which features updates from alumni. Arranged by graduating year, this section provides an extensive overview of the accomplishments of Queen’s Commerce alumni

Do you want to be the next Elon or Kimbal Musk? If you’re thinking about applying to Queen’s Commerce, check out our admission support services

In the past decade we’ve helped hundreds of students put together successful applications and have a 90% success rate.


Joel Nicholson

Joel Nicholson is the Founder and Managing Director of Admissions Ally—Canada’s #1 platform for advising students through the toughest applications. He ’s also the Co-founder or CampusRankings and a Queen’s Commerce graduate.

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