It’s no surprise that one of the oldest living UBC Commerce class presidents is a people person. But he hasn’t always been the outgoing, charming 87-year-old you’d meet today.
Born in Victoria and raised in Powell River and then Port Alberni, George Taylor (BCom 1955) was one of just a few high school graduates in his class who left the resource-focused town for university. UBC looked quite different back then, with roughly 5,500 students on one campus, compared to nearly 63,000 across two campuses today.
In an effort to build his network and sociability, George joined the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. Keeping busy both on-campus and off, George paid his way through university by working at a meat market on weekends and holidays.
His resolve to become more outgoing eventually extended to student politics. George was elected class president in his graduating year and, by default, became chair of the Commerce Banquet, a tremendous responsibility for a young student. In the chock-full Hotel Vancouver ballroom, George delivered opening remarks to esteemed business people and eager commerce students, while building his networking skills.
After graduation, he worked in a range of industries, from forestry to engineering to travel. He proved his great capacity to adapt to change, and attributes his success not to navigating new industries, but dealing with people. “Managing people can be the most difficult part of running a business,” he said.
Today, George is a loyal friend, father, citizen and alumnus. He’s still interested in politics and has supported his alma mater through mentoring students and keeping in touch with fellow alumni. When asked for advice by a former mentee, George shared: “You’re going to make mistakes. Learn from them and move on.”