Honorary degree citation - Pierre Lassonde
By: Amir Asif, June 2016
Mr. Chancellor, it is my honour to present to you Mr. Pierre Lassonde, one of Canada’s most successful mining engineers and a generous philanthropist.
Pierre Lassonde is recognized among the best mining and precious metals experts in the country.
A leading gold analyst with over 25 years of experience in the mining and investment business and co-founder of Franco-Nevada Corporation, Mr. Lassonde has further distinguished himself through philanthropy.
Over the years, he has lent his support to engineering schools and programs at numerous universities in Ontario and Quebec.
Mr. Lassonde explains his passionate support for education in an interview with the Globe and Mail.
In this interview he says the follow: “Canada’s natural resource is not our oil, it’s not our minerals, and it’s not our forests: It’s our young people.”
Across the border, Mr. Lassonde’s stewardship helped establish the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah, a nationally-ranked hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation.
A recent gift from Mr. Lassonde will fund the new Lassonde Studios, an entrepreneur living and creating facility that combines 400 student residences with a 20,000-square-foot “garage” for student thinkers and doers.
Beyond the education sector, Mr. Lassonde has served on several boards, including the Toronto Hospital Foundation, where he assisted the Cardiac Centre in raising over $25 million, as well as the Gold and Silver Institute, the World Gold Council and the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.
Since 2005, Mr. Lassonde has served as chairman of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Québec.
In addition supporting the Musée through personal contributions, Mr. Lassonde helped lead a major fundraising campaign to build a new wing, effectively doubling the museum’s exhibition surface.
Born in Saint-Hyacinthe, Mr. Lassonde is a lifelong learner.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Université de Montréal’s Séminaire Sainte-Hyacinthe as well as a Bachelor of Science from École Polytechnique.
He then travelled to the U.S., completing an MBA at the University of Utah and earning chartered financial analyst designation from the University of Virginia, before returning to École Polytechnique years later to complete a diploma in electrical engineering.
In 1982, he co-founded Franco-Nevada Mining Corporation with equally philanthropic Canadian businessman Seymour Schulich.
In 2002, Franco-Nevada was bought by Newmont Mining Corporation and Mr. Lassonde became the post-merger president of what was then the world’s largest gold producer.
In 2008, Mr. Lassonde led a group of investors in bringing the name Franco-Nevada back to the public market and became chair of the new, spun-off company.
Mr. Lassonde is author of The Gold Book: The Complete Investment Guide to Precious Metals.
He was named a companion of the Order of Canada in 2002, an officer of the Order of Quebec in 2008 and holds honorary degrees from four other universities.
In addition to being inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame in 2013, he has received several accolades for his work in the field of gold investment.
He received the Ontario Professional Engineers Award in 2004, the D.C. Jackling Award of the Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration in 2005, and in 2006 was named a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.
Mr. Chancellor, on behalf of Senate and the Board of Governors, it is my privilege and honour to present to you Mr. Pierre Lassonde, so that you may confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.