Honorary Doctorates at Convocation 2009 

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Andrée Lajoie
Lawyer, Professor

Andrée Lajoie is an innovative academic, a distinguished professor and an accomplished lawyer. Over the last 40 years, her research into the theory of law and constitutional law has influenced social policy and governance in Quebec and Canada. “I want to understand the factors that go into the making of law,” she has said.

Lajoie completed her law degree at the Université de Montréal, and went on to study political science at the University of Oxford while working as a correspondent for Radio-Canada in London.

Lajoie has published 17 books and countless articles that have become major references both in Canada and internationally. She is devoted to teaching and to the advancement of knowledge in her field of expertise.

She recently received the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Gold Medal for Achievement in Research. In 2003, the Quebec government bestowed upon her its highest honour, the Prix Léon-Gérin, Catégorie Scientifique.

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Roger Abbott
Producer at Abbott Ferguson Productions and co-founder of Royal Canadian Air Farce

Roger Abbott has been impersonating Canadian prime ministers and personalities for years. Hundreds of thousands of people tuned into his show, the Royal Canadian Air Farce, every week to catch the troupe’s latest outrage.

Born in England, Abbott’s family moved to Montreal. He attended Loyola High School followed by Loyola College in 1963-64. Abbott started his broadcast career behind the scenes at several radio stations before stumbling into comedy in 1973, when he founded Air Farce. The program was broadcast on the radio for 24 years until it debuted on CBC Television in 1993 and became Canada’s number one comedy show.

Roger Abbott’s commitment to the community is exemplary. He continues to support his alma mater Loyola High School with fundraising initiatives. Air Farce has also been involved in numerous humanitarian campaigns over the years like Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank and Raising the Roof’s Annual Toque Campaign. They were recognized with Governor General’s Performing Arts Award in 1998 and a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2000.

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Don Ferguson
Producer at Abbott Ferguson Productions and co-founder of Royal Canadian Air Farce

Don Ferguson and his sketch comedy troupe made their debut on CBC Radio in the 1970s. For the next 35 years, Ferguson put his energy into bringing memorable characters to life.

Like his creative partner Roger Abbott, he attended Loyola High School and then graduated from Loyola College with an honours English degree. The duo delighted the audience in 2001 when they performed at the Loyola Club Dinner.

Fresh out of university, Ferguson began working as a photographer and was hired to take publicity stills for the Jest Society, an improv unit featuring Roger Abbott and John Morgan, both future Air Farce colleagues. Ferguson was asked to fill in for a missing actor and never looked back.

Air Farce raised over $3 million for health and arts charities during their radio days and has co-hosted the Easter Seals telethon on the CBC for over 20 years. The troupe was recently honoured with the Gemini Humanitarian Award for their remarkable contributions.

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Jean Béliveau
Professional Hockey Player

In Jean Béliveau’s 18 seasons of on-ice leadership with the Montreal Canadiens, the team won the Stanley Cup 10 times. When he retired from hockey in 1971 he was the team’s all-time points leader, second all-time in goals, and the NHL’s leading playoff scorer.

Béliveau is highly regarded for his sportsmanship and leadership; he served as the captain of the Canadiens for a decade. After retirement, he remained active with the team as an executive and goodwill ambassador.

Outside hockey, he established the Jean Béliveau Foundation to provide assistance to underprivileged children. In addition to his philanthropic contributions, he has also branched out into real estate and other business ventures with his company Jean Béliveau Inc.

Béliveau is one of Canada’s best-loved public figures. In 1998, he was named a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest honour. Béliveau was recognized with a portrait on a Canadian postage stamp and received Concordia’s Loyola Medal in 1995.

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Richard Renaud
Chairman and managing partner at Wynnchurch Capital Inc.

For the past 30 years, Richard Renaud has been active in the private investment industry in the manufacturing, financial services and information technology sectors.

He believes in giving back to the community. Renaud has been involved in many charitable organizations, such as Centraide, the Canadian Olympic Foundation, and the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews. He is also chair of the board of directors at St. Mary’s Hospital.

Renaud graduated from Loyola High School and went on to study at Loyola College. Ensuring that education is accessible has been a focal point of his work. Renaud is a tireless supporter of Concordia University and has been deeply involved in the school’s activities since he joined the Board of Governors in 1989. The science complex at the Loyola campus bears his name and he is the founder of eConcordia.

Pope John Paul II, the Dalai Lama, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals have recognized Richard Renaud for his outstanding contributions to society.

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N.R. Narayana Murthy
Co-founder and former CEO of Infosys

N.R. Narayana Murthy and six other software professionals started Infosys in 1981 with only $250. Under Murthy’s leadership, the company experienced tremendous growth and became one of India’s largest IT companies with over 100 000 employees.

Murthy has been engaged in a myriad of advisory boards at prominent universities, banks, and international bodies. Time Magazine and CNN named Murthy one of the 25 most influential global executives in 2001. He was also ranked eighth on the Economist’s list of 15 most admired global leaders and was voted World Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young in 2003.

Despite his success, Murthy stays true to his “simple living, high thinking” philosophy. N.R. Narayana leads by example and remains grounded; he is a role model for aspiring business and technology leaders.

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Mel Hoppenheim
President and CEO of Mel’s Cité du Cinéma

Benefactor of Concordia’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Mel Hoppenheim is a successful entrepreneur, philanthropist and community leader who built his company from the ground up. He developed a strong work ethic at a very young age.

In 1965, he ventured into the movie industry and started Panavision Canada, a film equipment rental company which expanded to Toronto and Vancouver. Hoppenheim quickly established himself as an industry leader.

Convinced that Montreal had enormous potential for growth, he opened Mel’s Cité du Cinéma in 1988, a state-of-the-art sound stage. In 1997, Mel Hoppenheim made a generous donation to Concordia, which was used to establish the renowned Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. His dedication to students and higher education is unwavering.

He and his wife Rosemary are tireless supporters of many charitable causes. Hoppenheim serves on the Board of Directors of Loto-Québec, The Montreal Heart Institute, and the Montreal Children’s Hospital.


Concordia University