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Honorary degree citation - Claude Castonguay

By: Bérengère Gaudet, June 1989

Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Mr. Claude Castonguay, whose distinguished career extends across the worlds of politics, business and academe.

Born in Québec city, Claude Castonguay is a graduate of Université Laval, Faculty of Science, and the University of Manitoba, Department of Actuarial Sciences. Actuary by training, Mr. Castonguay has taught at Université Laval, from 1951 to 1957.

Mr. Castonguay is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Laurentian Group Corporation. He serves as Chairman of the Laurentian Bank of Canada, and is a Director of several corporations of the Laurentian Group Corporation. In addition to his professional duties, Mr. Castonguay is a former Chairman of the Board of Université Laval's Centre Hospitalier, and currently is the Chancellor of the Université de Montréal. He is also Vice-Chairman of the Conference Board of Canada and a member of the Business Council on National Issues. Mr. Castonguay sits on the Board of Directors of numerous corporations.

In 1966, he was appointed to head the Québec Government's Enquiry Commission into Health and Social Welfare, better known as the Castonguay Commission. One of the many recommendations of the Commission was the implementation of a free and universal health plan, thus creating equitable medical services for all. When he was later elected to the National Assembly in 1970, Mr. Castonguay was able to implement many of the commission's recommendations, first as Minister of Health, Family and Social Affairs from 1970 to 1971 and then as Minister of Social Affairs from 1971-1973.

Par la suite, Monsieur Castonguay a été membre du Comité fédéral provincial de révision du système de sécurité sociale, président du Groupe de travail sur l'urbanisation du Gouvernement du Québec, et président du Groupe de travail sur le salaire minimum et les conditions de travail. Il fut membre de la Commission fédérale de la lutte contre l'inflation.

Claude Castonguay est compagnon de l'Ordre du Canada. Il s'est vu décerner de nombreuses distinctions, et a reçu des doctorats honorifiques de plusieurs universités Canadiennes.

Je ne saurais passer sous silence un récent exploit de Claude Castonguay, dont les retombées sont très précieuses pour la communauté universitaire. A l'automne 1988, il fut le maître d'oeuvre d'un vaste mouvement qui mobilisa environ 200 personnes du monde des affaires. Ces dernières signèrent conjointement une lettre addressée au Premier Ministre Robert Bourassa, lui faisant valoir 1'urgence d'apporter des solutions efficaces au sous-financement des universités québécoises.

La communauté universitaire de Concordia est donc très heureuse de voir que la réalité du sous-financement des universités est enfin reconnue de même que les conséquences de cet état de fait pour l'avenir de la société québécoise. Claude Castonguay est en bonne partie responsable de cette prise de conscience, et nous lui en savons gré.

Mr. Claude Castonguay has shown exceptional leadership in his political and business career, a leadership which he has exercised also through his involvement in community affairs and his interest in, and dedication to, the future of our Québec Universities. In honouring Claude Castonguay, we pay tribute to individuals who are willing to take risks, make decisions, get involved, and who believe that their individual contribution can make a difference. He puts into practice a very important concept, "Think globally, act locally" (René Dubos).

Mr. Chancellor, it is a privilege to present to you, on behalf of the Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Claude Castonguay, so that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

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