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1950s student returns to Abertay University for 125th anniversary

16 October 2013

Ron Frew (far right, both pictures) revisits the Old College entrance 

An accountancy student from the 1950s returned to Abertay University this week, having seen an old black and white photograph of himself on the university’s website.

Ron Frew studied at Dundee Institute of Art & Technology from 1959, having returned to work with textiles manufacturer Jute Industries Ltd in 1958 after completing his national service.

Ron benefited from a new initiative at the time linking the Institute with major local companies, who allowed staff day-release to study professional qualifications. The programme was supported by the Dundee Chamber of Commerce.

Old DBS entrance
The original image, taken in the late 1950s

Speaking on his return to Abertay University, Ron Frew said: “I was very surprised to see the old picture of me while checking the Abertay website.

“That photo was taken to promote the links between Dundee Institute of Art & Technology and companies like Jute Industries and NCR, in the early years of the Department of Management.

“It was a real pleasure to come back into Abertay University, to meet Professor Hotho and to learn about how the work with companies is still very active to this day.”

After gaining his qualification with the organisation which became the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, Ron joined William R Stewart, a private manufacturing company in Dundee as Chief Accountant.

His career saw him become Director and Company Secretary before he retired in 1996.

The new image, with Chris Wilson (left) and Professor Hotho (centre)

Professor Sabine Hotho, Head of at Abertay University, said: “It was really fascinating to meet Ron and to hear about all the similarities between the work of the Department of Management in the 1950s and Dundee Business School today.

“We work very closely with employers and public sector organisations, setting students real-life business challenges as part of their courses. It’s very heartening to hear that this approach has really helped people’s careers for well over 50 years.”

While studying, Ron worked at the Jute Industries Ltd headquarters at the east end of Bell Street.

The company was formed from an amalgamation of many smaller, family-run textiles companies in Dundee during a post-war period of consolidation. Jute Industries Ltd was formally registered in 1920.

Abertay University’s predecessor, Dundee Technical Institute, was formally opened on 15th October 1888. It occupied a building on Small’s Wynd before moving to a new site on Bell Street which was opened in 1911 and is still used today.


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