Concordia University

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Honorary degree citation - Dominic D'Alessandro

By: Michel Laroche, June 1998

Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Dominic D'Alessandro, a graduate of one of Concordia University's founding institutions, who has gone on to head Canada's largest insurer, Manulife Financial.

Mr. D'Alessandro was born in Italy, although by age 3, he and his family had already settled in Canada. He graduated in 1967 from Loyola College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and Mathematics, and pursued his studies at McGill University to qualify as a chartered accountant in 1971 when he received the Institute of Chartered Accountants' Bronze Medal.

Un an après avoir obtenu son baccalauréat en sciences, il a débuté une carrière qui devait le conduire suffisamment loin pour acquérir l'expérience et lui donner une stature de dirigeant. En 1968, il est engagé par Coopers andLybrand, où il devient responsable des vérificateurs des comptes dans une des plus importantes entreprises canadiennes. Il a passé un an au bureau de Paris pour cette firme.

His next position, with Genstar Ltd, took him to Saudi Arabia and San Francisco. In Dharan from 1977 to 1979, he was Director of Finance and General Manager of a Genstar venture there. In San Francisco, he was Vice-President of the firm's Materials and Construction Group.

Mr. D'Alessandro returned to home base and made the leap to banking when he joined the Royal Bank of Canada in 1981 as Deputy Comptroller, working his way to Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer of that institution.

By 1988, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Laurentian Bank of Canada. This, for a man who has said his entry into banking was accidental, lured into the industry by a student in one of the evening courses he taught at McGill.

M. Le Chancelier, M. D'Alessandro était de retour en 1989 à Concordia. Il a renoué son engagement en répondant à l'appel de Concordia qui avait besoin de son expertise en levée de fonds. Il devient alors membre du Conseil d'administration en septembre 1990 et a poursuivi sa mission jusqu'en juin 1995. Transformé en infatigable supporter dans la campagne de financement annuelle de l'Université il a, pendant deux ans, agi comme solliciteur et dirigeant de la division communauté universitaire (Section diplômés) pour ensuite devenir le Président entre 1990 et 1992.

In 1992, he was given the Golden Award of Merit from the Order of the Sons of Italy and made a Fellow of the Order of Chartered Accountants, By the end of 1994, Mr. D'Alessandro was well on his way to making history when he took over as President and Chief Executive Officer of Manulife Financial, steering it into the number one spot. He serves on the corporate boards of the Hudson's Bay Company and Schroeder Canada, and is a member of Business Council on National Issues and the Conference Board of Canada.

He is Vice-Chairman of the board of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association and a director of the American Council of Life Insurance. He has served as co-chair in the campaign of the Corporate Fund for Breast Cancer.

Mr. Chancellor, it is my privilege and an honour to present to you, on behalf of Senate and the Board of Governors, Dominic D'Alessandro, so that you may confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

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