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Concordia Firsts - 2000s

Highlights of what we achieved in the 2000s

Catherine Mackenzie

Department of Art History professor Catherine MacKenzie establishes Canada’s first courses on art restitution through ground-breaking research and teachings on art provenance and works plundered by Nazis during the Second World War.

Ed Meagher

In its first nod to a sporting and academic figure, Concordia renames its 1,000-seat hockey arena on Loyola Campus after former coach and teacher Ed Meagher.

The Faculty of Fine Arts becomes the first and only in Canada to offer an accredited master’s program in drama therapy.

Concordia becomes the first and only Canadian university to offer an MA in creative arts therapies that leads to licensure as a Registered Art Therapist in the United States.

Student using a laptop

Concordia Libraries introduce a pilot project to lend laptops to students. A decade later, some 200 laptops are borrowed daily by students.

Students in the Department of Design and Computation Arts create Canada’s first extensive guidebook on contraception for young people.

John Molson

Following a generous gift from the Molson family, the Faculty of Commerce and Administration is renamed the John Molson School of Business.

It becomes the first Quebec business school and fourth in Canada to earn full accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Political Science student Waneek Horn-Miller co-captains Canada’s first Olympic women’s water polo team in Sydney, Australia.

Along with five other founding institutions, Concordia helps establish the Quebec Inter-University Centre for Social Statistics, the province’s first and only member of the Canadian Network of Statistics Canada Research Data Centres.

Art Matters

Five Faculty of Fine Arts students launch the first Art Matters festival, a celebration of student art that has since become Canada’s largest annual student-run festival.

Concordia makes its first major push into computational and theoretical chemistry and biochemistry research by establishing the Centre for Research in Molecular Modelling.

In the university’s first lab-to-market initiative, Valeo Management L.P. is created to commercialize the results of research carried out by Concordia and the Université du Québec network.


In its first major move to offer students access to digital collections, Concordia Libraries introduce downloadable e-books in seven major fields of study.

The John Molson School of Business launches an 18-credit graduate program in e-business, a first of its kind for outstanding students.


The John Molson School of Business becomes the first university program in Canada — and one of the first in the world — to become a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Program Partner.

Concordia launches the Institute for Aerospace Design and Innovation, Canada’s first university-based training and work experience institute in the field of aerospace.


The John Molson School of Business hosts its first international Aviation Management Education and Research Conference, during which Concordia officially launches its International Centre for Aviation Management Education and Research.


Hexagram Concordia — the university’s first research, media and technology hub that unites scholars across three faculties — is born.

Ned Goodman

The John Molson School of Business establishes the Goodman Institute of Investment Management in Montreal and Toronto, following a gift from Ned Goodman, LLD 97.

The program becomes the first to offer an MBA program that fully integrates the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Body of Knowledge curriculum.


To promote the sharing of research among librarians, archivists, graduate students and faculty, Concordia Libraries introduce the annual Library Research Forum.


Concordia is Quebec’s first university to complete a bond issue after it raises $200 million to pay for expansion.

German instructor Kari Doerr co-writes Nazi German: An English Lexicon of the Language of the Third Reich — the first comprehensive dictionary of the words and phrases used by Second World War Nazis.

Concordia researchers make their first major steps to help revitalize rural Canadian economies in the New Rural Economy Project, an inter-university program housed in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

1972 SGW vs. Loyola

The Concordia University Alumni Association establishes its first Varsity Athlete Chapter. Jointly by Recreation and Athletics and Alumni Relations, the chapter aims to preserve and celebrate the history of the Sir George Williams Georgians, the Loyola Warriors and Concordia Stingers.


In an information technology and computer security first, the Concordia Institute for Information Systems Engineering is established in the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science.

In a green first, the Sustainable Concordia Project is founded by students Geneva Guerin and Melissa Garcia Lamarca.

Reginald Storms

Department of Biology professor Reginald Storms and co-researchers publish the first-ever genetic profile of a living organism in Nature.

Keyboard Dress

Design and Computation Arts professor Joanna Berzowska fashions the future through the first “wearable computers” — clothes that blend technology and design.

Richard J. Renaud Science Complex

Concordia inaugurates its first building of the new millennium — the Richard J. Renaud Science Complex on Loyola Campus. The $85-million purpose-built complex includes teaching facilities, offices, and laboratories for various science departments.

Centre for Biological Applications of Mass Spectrometry

Recognizing the importance of molecular and life sciences research, Concordia first establishes the Centre for Biological Applications of Mass Spectrometry.

For the first time, autumn convocation is split into two ceremonies to accommodate high student numbers. The events take place at Place des Arts for 1,582 graduates.

Fantasia Film Festival

Concordia hosts its first Fantasia International Film Festival on Sir George Williams Campus.

online grades

For the first time, Concordia issues student grades online, signalling the end of paper postings.

Concordia wins its first two gold medals at the 2003 Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education Prix d'Excellence. Marketing Communications wins in the Best Institutional Branding Program category. Web Communications wins for Best Institutional Home Page.

The Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science and the Ordre des Ingénieurs du Québec host Concordia’s first Professional Engineering Fair to review engineering values.

Concordia wins MBA Case Competition at home

John Molson School of Business student competitors win the John Molson MBA International Case Competition, a first in the competition’s 23-year history.

Melissa Garcia Lamarca becomes Concordia’s first sustainability coordinator as part of Sustainable Concordia, the university’s student-run environmental watchdog.

Robert Calderisi, BA 68, and his partner, Jean Daniel

Robert Calderisi, BA 68, and his partner Jean Daniel become the first couple to convert a civil union into a marriage in the province of Quebec. (Robert was also Concordia’s first Rhodes Scholar in 1968, at Loyola College).

Shuttle bus

Concordia unveils its first newly improved shuttle bus, which carries an estimated one million passengers per year.

Grey Nuns Motherhouse

In an architectural and historic first, Concordia acquires the Grey Nuns Mother House on Sir George Williams Campus.

John Molson School of Business

The John Molson School of Business establishes the Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations with HEC Montréal to promote strong corporate governance in Canada.

Solar power research gets its first major boost when engineering professor Andreas Athienitis founds and leads the federally funded NSERC Solar Buildings Research network, a pan-Canadian group dedicated to advances in energy-efficient buildings.

Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex

Concordians take their first steps inside the newly opened Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex on Sir George Williams Campus.

Evan Perigoe earns a BA in history and creative writing as the first graduate of Loyola International College (now Loyola College for Diversity and Sustainability).

In its first move to develop interdisciplinary research on the nature of business negotiations, the John Molson School of Business establishes the InterNeg Research Centre.

Concordia Spirit Team

Concordia’s first ever promotions and dance team — the Spirit Team — performs at sporting events to support Stingers varsity teams.

Communication Studies and Journalism Building

Concordians get their first glimpse of an expanded Loyola Campus as the new Communication Studies and Journalism Building opens.

Quartier Concordia

The university launches its first major urban redevelopment project, Quartier Concordia, in the neighborhood surrounding Sir George Williams Campus. 

Allegory of Earth and Water

Concordia, acting on behalf of the executors and three university beneficiaries (Concordia, McGill and Hebrew University) of the estate of Montreal art dealer and collector Max Stern, first commits to seek restitution of 400 art holdings confiscated from Stern by Nazis or sold by force in the 1930s.

Jessica Auer

Jessica Auer of the Faculty of Fine Arts becomes Concordia’s first recipient of the Roloff Beny Photo Fellowship.

Marketing Yourself

Marketing Yourself, a web-based course, wins the 2005 Canadian Association for Distance Education Award for Excellence and Innovation in Educational Design.

Fiorenzo Vetrone and Chris Boyer

In a world first, PhD students Fiorenzo Vetrone and Chris Boyer receive Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council fellowships to study microscopic particles with infrared light and lasers.

Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling

The Faculty of Arts and Science launches the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling, the university’s first research unit of its kind.

After a formal request made by environmental group Sustainable Concordia, the Centre for Continuing Education offers its first courses on sustainable development.

Concordia hosts its first Hypervisibility: Homosexualities in Contemporary Francophone Cinemas conference.

Graduate student Elaine Waddington earns Concordia’s first Brain Star Award from the Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction for her research in psychology.

Torill Kove

Concordia's first Oscar winning grad, Torill Kove, BA 85, takes home the statuette in the animated short category for her film The Danish Poet.

Le Gym

Le Gym, Concordia’s downtown fitness hub located in the Computer Science, Engineering and Visual Arts Integrated Complex, first opens its doors to students, faculty and staff.

Concordia is Canada’s first university whose work with the Charted Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute enables students to simultaneously earn MBAs and CFA designations.

Mohan Munasinghe

Mohan Munasinghe, MA (econ.) 75, is Concordia's first and only Nobel Peace Prize winner, pictured here with co-winner Al Gore, LLD 07.

Munasinghe receives the prize as part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, where he serves as vice-chair.

Liam Mahoney

Quarterback Liam Mahoney is first Stinger to claim the prized Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Peter Gorman Trophy for Rookie of the Year. 

In a branding first, Concordia introduces its new logo: an emblem that combines an open book, a mind-body-spirit triangle and a rising sun.


Concordia students Mohamed Shuriye and Peter Schiefke inspire the first Youth Action Montreal summit on climate change. David Suzuki and Al Gore attend as speakers.

Cammi Granato

Former stinger Cammi Granato is among the first women inducted to the International Hockey Hall of Fame (2008), the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame (2009) and the Hockey Hall of Fame (2010).

John Molson School of Business students win a record three gold medals, a first in a one-year period, at the TD Meloche Commerce Games, Omnium Financier and Marketing Happening.

Concordia's baseball club

Concordia’s baseball club wins its first conference championship in 2007, advancing to the Canadian Interuniversity Baseball Association (CIBA) national championships. 


Concordia deploys Canada’s first Wi-Fi network on a university campus.

Erica Lehrer

In a first key move to better understand the aftermath of mass violence, professor Erica Lehrer launches the Centre for Ethnographic Research and Exhibition after Genocide.

Art as Witness

Concordia hosts Art as Witness: Art, Art Therapy and Trauma Resolution, Canada’s first conference on trauma and art.

Vortex rings

Mechanical and Industrial Engineering professor Georgios Vatistas, along with assistant professor Kamran Siddiqui and graduate student Hamid Ait Abderrahmane, first prove J.J. Thomson’s 125-year-old theorem on the stability of vortex rings.

Thomson theorized that up to six — potentially seven — naturally occurring vortices could rotate around the centre of a larger vortex.

Gabriel Bran Lopez

Alumnus Gabriel Bran Lopez, BA 08, launches a pilot project called Youth Fusion in partnership with Concordia.

The Montreal-based organization strives to lower high school dropout rates among at-risk youth through educational projects that contribute to their learning, qualifications and social integration. By its 10th anniversary, Youth Fusion has offices in Quebec City, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Toronto and Thunder Bay.

Lopez is pictured, far right, with emeritus Board of Governors president Peter Kruyt, BComm 78; Mohamed Shuriye, BA 08; and Al Gore, LLD 07, former vice-president of the United States.

Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering professor Suong Van Hoa is awarded the first Nano-Academia Award by NanoQuebec.

Cinema students

The Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema’s doctoral program in Film and Moving Image Studies is lauched as Canada’s first English-language PhD program dedicated entirely to this academic field.

MBA students from the John Molson School of Business participate in their first National MBA Games — the largest gathering of its kind — in Hamilton, Ont.

Molson Building

The Molson Building opens in 2009 on Guy Street with a fully functional solar wall that generates electricity from the sun — a world first for a university building.

Giacomo Volpe, BFA 09

Giacomo Volpe, BFA 09, is the first deaf student to graduate from film production at Concordia.

Adrian Tsang and Vincent Martin

In a green first, Adrian Tsang and Vincent Martin of the Centre for Structural and Functional Genomics obtain an unprecedented $22 million to study ways to transform agricultural and forestry waste into fuels.

Stinger Dome

Concordia erects Quebec’s first air-supported campus dome — the Stinger Dome — enabling athletes to overcome cold weather.

Concordia’s Project Hero Scholarship is born. The $2,000 award is the first of its kind that supports children of Canadian Forces personnel killed in action.


The John Molson School of Business opens its first Laboratory for Sensory Research in 2009 to research visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory and gustatory cues among consumers and their responses to products, brands and retail environments.

In its first major push towards advances in corporate social responsibility, the John Molson School of Business inaugurates the David O’Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise.

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