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Honorary degree citation - Eric H. Molson

By: Frederick Lowy, November 2006

Mr. Chancellor, I have the honor to present to you Mr. Eric Herbert Molson, distinguished business leader, philanthropist, Chancellor Emeritus and great friend of Concordia University.

To the business world he is best known as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Molson Coors Brewing Company. It is one of the largest in the-world as a result of the merger of Canada's Molson, Inc. and Coors Brewing of the United States, a merger that Mr. Molson personally guided through very difficult terrain. Mr. Molson did not, of course, begin at the top, rather on the shop floor as apprentice brewer at (and you will be surprised at this) Moosehead Brewers. He earned the United States Brewers Academy Master Brewer certificate and then, step by step he advanced through various technical and managerial positions to President and then Chairman of the Board of Molson, Inc.

To t he broader Montreal community he is known as a stalwart champion of this city, and of anglophone-francophone rapprochement. He and his family were the owners of the Montreal Canadiens Hockey Club for many years and built the Molson Centre, now the Bell Centre. He is a director of the Montreal General Hospital and its Foundation, of La Vie des Arts and of the Canadian Irish Studies Foundation that he has supported, here at Concordia, the most important Irish studies program in Canada.

To the Molson family he is, foremost, husband to Jane Mitchell Molson, father to Andrew, Justin and Geoffrey and grandfather to their seven children, as well as brother to his siblings. But he is also the family patriarch now, the sixth generation Molsen to head what came to be the principal of the businesses established by the first Canadian Molson, John Molson, in the 18th century. Eric has ensured the continuity of this dynasty, virtually unique in Canada in its stability and length.

And to Concordia University he is the Chancellor who by his steadfast quiet leadership saw the university through both foul weather and fair. Education has always been important to Mr. Molson. A graduate of Princeton University (chemistry) he went on to study economics at McGill. Both Princeton and McGill have reason to be grateful to him. But in recent years it is the university he led as Chancellor from 1993 to 2005 that has most benefited from his interest, commitment and generosity. He was instrumental in the decision by his company, his family and the Molson Foundation, led by his brother Stephen, to provide the magnificent donation that has
made the new John Molson School of Business building possible. I understand that construction is to begin shortly. As it raises this building, in the style of the beautiful Engineering Visual Arts complex across the Street will be yet another Molson contribution to the quality of life of Montreal as well as of Concordia University.

Mr. Chancellor, my wife Mary Kay and I have had the great privilege of working closely with Jane and Eric Moslon during ten years as his Vice-chancellor and President. His devotion to Concordia, his strength of character, his dignity and his consideration of others have been nothing short of exemplary.

Mr. Chancellor, on behalf of Senate and the Board of Governors, it is my distinct honour to present to you Mr. Eric Herbert Moilson so that you may confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws, Honores Causa.

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