Business school gets green light

Barbara Black

Eric Molson, Education Minister Jean-Marc Fournier and President Claude Lajeunesse applaud the announcement of several million dollars towards the construction of a new home for the JMSB. Event MC Marcel Danis looks on from the podium at the Oct. 30 event.

Image Photographique internationale

Concordia has the funding to begin building the new John Molson School of Business. The site of the architectural sibling of the Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex on Guy St. will likely see its first bulldozers in December.

The long anticipated funding was announced on Oct. 30 by Jean-Marc Fournier, Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports, as part of a short ceremony in the DeSève Cinema. He said the Quebec government has spent over $1 billion on the construction and renewal of buildings for universities and colleges over the past five years, and he hopes to see some federal spending as well.

The estimated cost of construction is $118 million, and the building is expected to be ready for occupation by September 2009.

Former chancellor Eric Molson received a standing ovation when he announced that he will give another $10 million to the JMSB project. This donation matches the one he gave in 2000, when the Faculty of Commerce and Administration changed its name to that of the brewing entrepreneur.

John Molson came to Montreal from Scotland in 1782, when he was only 18. A shrewd businessman, he started a number of enterprises, including a private bank, before focusing on the brewery. Recently, Molson merged with Coors to become the fifth-largest brewing company in the world.

President Claude Lajeunesse paid tribute to Eric and Jane Molson for their extraordinary commitment of personal time to Concordia over the 12 years he was chancellor. Holding the ceremonial post meant attending many meetings and officiating at innumerable events. These included the marathon convocation ceremonies, at which he shook thousands upon thousands of hands.

A modest man not given to speechmaking, Mr. Molson said he looked forward to seeing the next generation of business leaders graduate from the JMSB.

He paid tribute to Lajeunesse and former president Frederick Lowy, who was present. Dr. Lowy played a key role in the planning of the new buildings, and Molson “enjoyed every minute of working with him. He instilled an atmosphere of trust. I’m proud to associate the Molson name with Concordia,” he said.

Dean Jerry Tomberlin reminded the audience that the JMSB thrives despite its current humble facilities, winning prizes and rankings recognized around the world. The new building will enhance research activity and consolidate teaching for the mutual benefit of professors and students.

MNA Jacques Chagnon and Ville-Marie borough mayor Benoit Labonté expressed congratulations. They singled out for special praise Jonathan Wener, whom MC Marcel Danis called “the best chair of a board real estate committee in Canada,” and looked forward to the growth in visibility of Quartier Concordia.

New Vice-President of Research and Graduate Studies Louise Dandurand made a brief speech, calling the occasion “a moving moment to start my duties.”