Concordia establishes the Norman Bethune Concordia Doctoral Fellowship, the university’s first fellowship of its kind in honour of the Canadian doctor famed for medical innovations during the Spanish Civil War.
Concordia Firsts - 2010s
Highlights of what we achieved in the 2010s
Concordia is the first major Canadian university to support Open Access, which provides unrestricted, web-based access to peer-reviewed scholarly articles.
Overseen by Concordia Libraries, the online repository called Spectrum encourages open access and now holds over 10,000 peer-reviewed articles, book sections, presentations and 8,000 graduate dissertations.
Concordia’s Department of History launches a Minor in Law and Society, the first of its kind in Quebec and the only such program in Canada balancing common and civil law.
Johanna Skibsrud, MA 05, becomes the first Concordia graduate to win a Giller Prize for her novel
A Concordia team is the first in Canada to record a YouTube video for the “It Gets Better Project,” an American-led movement against the bullying of queer youth.
Rhodes Scholar Michael Noonan’s undergraduate research is the first to analyze special passageways built for salmon within hydroelectric power dams.
The Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science becomes the first Fair Trade-Certified Faculty in Canada, thanks to the student chapter of Engineers Without Borders, a non-profit organization supported by professional engineers, students, and volunteers.
Concordia launches an MA in music therapy. Approved by the Canadian Association for Music Therapy, the program is a first in Quebec.
Led by Department of Psychology PhD candidate Michael Benibgui, Concordia researchers are the first to link the stress of being rejected because of sexual orientation with disruptions in hormonal responses in lesbians, gays and bisexuals.
Marrying sociology with anthropology, Concordia becomes the first university in Canada to offer a PhD in social and cultural analysis.
Concordia Libraries become the first in Quebec — and among the first in Canada — to offer 24/7 services.
The extended service is encouraged by the Concordia Student Union and subsidized by 46,000 students.
In a Quebec first, Concordia Libraries begins lending 100 iPads and tablets to students.
In a study published in Psychophysiology, a Concordia research team led by Department of Exercise Science professor Simon Bacon makes the first links between heart disease and depression.
In its first move into collaborative and interdisciplinary research on the five senses, the Centre for Sensory Studies is established in the Faculty of Arts and Science and John Molson School of Business.
A solar stimulator-environmental chamber, Canada’s first, is built thanks to $4.6 million in funding from Industry Canada and Quebec’s Ministry of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade.
Concordia’s School of Community and Public Affairs is the first in Quebec to offer a bachelor’s degree in First Peoples studies.
Concordia launches Canada’s first multidisciplinary academic institute for the advancement of Israeli studies thanks to a $5 million gift from the Azrieli Foundation.
The Sustainable Investment Professional Certification Program is introduced by the John Molson School of Business as the first professional designation of its kind offered through a university.
Studio arts professor Lynn Hughes and sociology professor Bart Simon create TAG (Technoculture, Art and Games), the university’s first research centre in game studies and design, digital culture and interactive art.
Janis Timm-Bottos, an assistant professor in Concordia’s Department of Creative Arts Therapies, opens the storefront studio and gallery la Ruche d’Art St. Henri. The “art hive,” accessible to the public, is Montreal’s first.
History professor Ronald Rudin becomes Concordia’s first faculty member to earn a $225,000 Trudeau Fellowship.
Concordia is the first university in Quebec to introduce a co-curricular record that recognizes student leadership and volunteer engagement.
The PERFORM Centre — Concordia’s first research hub dedicated to health through prevention — begins operations.
GradProSkills is launched as the first bilingual soft-skills program in Canada to help graduate students and postdoctoral fellows transition to working life.
Le Centre conditioning centre opens in the PERFORM Centre on the Loyola Campus. The facility features the latest in fitness equipment and serves students, athletes and the community at large.
Concordia inaugurates the Centre for Structural and Functional Genomics, the university’s first high-tech lab focused on genomics, biotechnology and bioinformatics.
John Molson School of Business student Danny Luong and McGill student Alexandre Allard are the first to introduce an accelerated bacterial method to decompose polystyrene in mere weeks.
In a green first, Concordia creates the Loyola Sustainability Research Centre to promote biodiversity conservation.
Research from Department of Economics professor James McIntosh makes the first links between obesity and doctor visits in Canada.
Department of Psychology professor Jim Pfaus creates the first brain map of love and desire, showing that both emotions are akin to drug addiction.
With a pair of queens, Matthew Salsberg, BA 94 — Concordia’s first poker champ — wins the World Poker Tour Grand Prix de Paris.
In an environmental first, the Concordia Institute for Water, Energy and Sustainable Systems is established to find new technologies and solutions for water, energy and resource conservation.
Department of Sociology and Anthropology professor Sylvia Kairouz is awarded Quebec’s first research chair on gambling.
Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science students from Space Concordia win the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge, becoming the first Concordians to launch a satellite into space.
The Luc Beauregard Centre of Excellence in Communications Research — the first of its kind at a Canadian business school — is established at the John Molson School of Business.
Concordia’s Centre for Iranian Studies — the first of its kind in Canada — is launched.
The Stingers hit the ice in a revamped Ed Meagher Arena. Improvements to the 1,000-seat facility on the Loyola Campus include an NHL-standard rink.
With the luck of the Irish, Concordia becomes Canada’s first university to offer a Bachelor of Arts in Canadian Irish studies through the School of Canadian Irish Studies.
For the first time, Concordia Residence Life offers housing to grad students in the Jesuit Residence on the Loyola Campus.
A German museum returns a stolen artwork through Concordia’s Max Stern Art Restitution Project — a first in the initiative’s 10-year history.
In an academic first, Concordia’s communication and media studies programs crack the QS World University Rankings top 100.
With the opening of the Mordecai Richler Reading Room in the J. W. McConnell Library Building, Concordia’s Department of English becomes the first in Canada to honour the late novelist, screenwriter and essayist with a hub that’s accessible to the general public.
In its first major foray into resource conservation, the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science launches the Institute for Water, Energy and Sustainable Systems as a training ground for global engineers.
The John Molson School of Business’s MBA program earns second spot in Corporate Knights magazine’s first ever Global Green MBA Survey.
For the first time ever, one in four artists and curators featured in the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art’s “Oh, Canada” exhibit — the largest survey of contemporary Canadian art ever produced — hail from Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts.
Following restoration, the Grey Nuns Motherhouse is reborn as the Grey Nuns Student Residence and Reading Room.
Concordia Libraries opens a 240-seat silent reading room in the former chapel as well as 300 study spaces and 14 group study rooms.
Alexandre Bilodeau — the first Canadian to win Olympic gold on home soil — made history for a second time when he became the first man to successfully defend a title in an Olympic freestyle skiing discipline on February 10, 2014.
The Vanier Library first welcomes pet therapy dogs to help students reduce anxiety and lift spirits during exams.
To study the role of psychosocial factors in health problems and develop treatments, Concordia establishes its first Centre for Clinical Research in Health.
Concordia is the first Canadian university to host Encuentro, the New York-based Hemispheric Institute’s biennial conference and exhibition on art, politics and activism.
In its first push towards transforming the study of film and media history, Concordia’s Department of Communication Studies establishes the Media History Research Centre.
At the first Engineering and Commerce Case Competition at Concordia, undergraduate engineering and commerce students from seven Canadian and three international schools joined forces to sharpen their leadership and communication skills.
Journalist Francine Pelletier lands Concordia’s first Michener-Deacon Fellowship for Investigative Journalism.
For the first time, the Concordia University Alumni Association (CUAA) the Loyola Alumni Association and the Association of Alumni of Sir George Williams University formally unite under the CUAA banner.
Diane Morin, MFA 03, wins the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec’s Contemporary Art Award of $100,000. The accolade is the first of its kind in Canada.
Finance students at the John Molson School of Business become Montreal’s first scholars to access live derivatives figures through Integrated Client — trading technology from CQG, a U.S. data analytics firm whose software is used on trading floors of over 40 stock exchanges worldwide.
The District 3 Innovation Centre receives its first major gift — $1M from André Desmarais, BComm 78, LLD 07, and France Chrétien Desmarais — to advance entrepreneurial projects with proven market viability.
Award-winning journalist Craig Silverman, BA 99, becomes the first editor of internet news site BuzzFeed Canada.
The Concordia Veteran’s Association—the only association of its kind at a Canadian university—is founded by Concordia student Yves Leduc Butterworth, who was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009.
The association’s mission is to support the reintegration of veterans and current members of all service backgrounds, to help them succeed academically and complete their transition to the civilian world. .
Roshi Chadha, BA 10, MA 14, and her husband Baljit Chadha, MBA 08, co-founded the first Indigenous literary prize at Montreal’s Blue Metropolis literary festival, the First Peoples Literary Prize. The Chadha Family Foundation also funds five bursaries for Indigenous undergraduate students at Concordia.
Concordia Stingers athletes compete for the first time sporting a much-anticipated new look: rebranded uniforms and a fresh logo convey a stronger, sleeker, united squad.
Award-winning actor, novelist and playwright Ann-Marie MacDonald becomes Concordia’s first Richler Writer in Residence, working from the Mordecai Richler Reading Room in the J.W. McConnell Library Building.
For the first time at Concordia, undergraduates from our Software Engineering and Computer Science Society organize a 12-hour hackathon on worldwide Local Hack Day.
Concordia’s Centre for Human Relations and Community Studies is the first university-based program affiliated with ICF (International Coach Federation)-Québec. The centre’s programs offer certification and training of coaches.
Academics Without Borders establishes its inaugural global-operations base at Concordia.
The NGO will examine ways of deepening the participation of university researchers, faculty, students and staff in international projects.
Concordia’s Department of Theatre introduces a new program, the Specialization in Performance Creation.
The program is designed to address the 21st-century realities of the increasingly multidisciplinary aspects of theatre and performance.
With the launch of a new Stingers look, Concordia becomes the first Canadian university to partner with Russell Athletic — a leading producer of collegiate and professional sports apparel and a division of Fruit of the Loom Inc. — as the university’s official provider of uniforms and varsity sportswear.
Jennifer McGrath, associate professor in Concordia’s Department of Psychology and director of its Pediatric Public Health Psychology Laboratory, is the inaugural PERFORM Chair in Childhood Preventive Health and Data Science.
Désirée McGraw, BA 93, becomes the first female president of Pearson College UWC in Victoria, one of 14 United World Colleges around the globe.
For the first time, Concordia offers to waive tuition fees for two Syrian refugees, in a partnership with the Syrian Kids Foundation, a Montreal-based humanitarian relief and social services organization.
Patti Sonntag, BA (journ.) 00, managing editor at The New York Times’ News Services division, is Concordia’s first journalist-in-residence.
She leads an independent study designed to build students’ investigative and data journalism skills.
Concordia introduces its first Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) in Aerospace Engineering degree after receiving approval by the Government of Quebec in early 2016.
The university joins an elite group of Canadian institutions that offers the designation.
Concordia hosts the first North American Polyglot Symposium on July 23 and 24.
The symposium brings together language lovers – most of whom are proficient in at least English, French and Spanish – from across the continent for lectures and workshops.
Concordia introduces a doctoral program in software engineering, the first in Quebec and one of only two in Canada.
The university already offers popular bachelor’s and master’s programs in the burgeoning field, and the new PhD program will meet the growing industry need for high-calibre software engineers.
Concordia hosts the first-ever North American edition of the Global Diplomacy Lab in November.
Experts from around the world gather to explore the new and more inclusive reality that, thanks in large part to the digital communications explosion, more and more individuals are becoming diplomats in their own right.
Concordia’s Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science welcomes a new department. Preparing professionals for diverse fields from aerospace to biomedicine, the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering complements the nine already-existing engineering programs offered in the faculty.
Concordia first introduces its 9 Strategic Directions. The university game plan includes calls to: Double Our Research; Teach For Tomorrow; Get Your Hands Dirty; Mix It Up; Experiment Boldly; Grow Smartly; Embrace the City, Embrace the World; Go Beyond; and Take Pride.
For the first time, Concordia is selected as one of Montreal’s Top Employers by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers.
The annual competition, which began in 2006, recognizes employers in Greater Montreal that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work.
Michelle Richardson, BA (journ.) 04, becomes the first editor-in-chief of the newly merged newsrooms of the Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Sun newspapers in March.
She is also Concordia’s first graduate to oversee a merged newsroom.
Geneviève Mottard, BComm (acct.) 98, GrDip (acct.) 99, becomes the first woman president and CEO of the Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec.
The Ordre represents 38,000 chartered professional accountants across the province.
Concordia’s GradProSkills introduces a new series of seven workshops on leadership that will provide master’s and PhD students the tools they need to thrive in their respective fields.
The series, the first of its kind in Canada, will help grad students better prepare themselves to take the leap into the workforce.
As part of a Concordia-directed research project, Montreal gets its first-ever Inuktitut-language radio show. Nipivut, meaning “our voice” in Inuktitut, features English and Inuktitut programming for Inuit to tell their own stories.
In an effort to support Olympic hopefuls, Concordia will be one of nine Canadian institutions to take part in the Game Plan Education Network. The new initiative will provide flexible academic programs for student athletes while they train and compete.
Tony Hong Truong, BSc 11, is the first Concordian to circumnavigate the globe, through Clipper Round the World, the world’s longest ocean race (64,000 km).
Isabelle Dostaler, professor in the Department of Management in the John Molson School of Business, is the first Concordian to appear on Radio-Canada’s Tout le monde en parle.
Dostaler discusses the aerospace industry on the February 21 edition of the highly popular TV talk show.
Concordia teams up with the United Nations to offer a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) — the UN’s first-ever Canadian MOOC.
“Wicked Problems, Dynamic Solutions: The Ecosystem Approach and Systems Thinking” is an interdisciplinary course open to all.
Concordia postdoctoral researcher Ehsan Rezabeigi, PhD 15, wins top prize in the jury selection for Science Exposed, the first science image contest from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).
The award-winning photo is a close-up image of a flower-like implant that promotes bone regrowth.
Concordia launches the first open-access academic press in Quebec. The Concordia University Press is a non-profit, open-access publisher of scholarly books that makes all its peer-reviewed titles available for free to anyone with internet access.
Concordia launches its first major fundraising appeal of the millennium on November 1. The Campaign for Concordia: Next-Gen. Now has an ambitious $250 million target to support Concordia’s nine, forward-thinking strategic directions.
The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada becomes the first-ever recipient of the Simone de Beauvoir Institute Prize. The Prize recognizes women who are building a world dedicated to gender equality and social justice.
Concordia graduate student Lindsay Nixon, BFA 16, is the first person to be appointed to the position of Indigenous editor-at-large for Canadian Art magazine. In the new role, she will be writing, editing and building a network of First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists across the country.
Concordia hosts Canada’s first Next City Vanguard Conference, an annual experiential urban leadership gathering of 45 urban leaders under the age of 40. The event is a collaboration between the university and Next City, a Philadelphia-based non-profit whose mission is to inspire social, economic and environmental change in cities through journalism and events around the world.
With the support of a $2.4-million grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), as well as additional funding from the Government of Canada’s Research Support Fund, the Genome Foundry, a shared facility housed at the Centre for Applied Synthetic Biology (CASB), is inaugurated in 2017. Like the CASB, the Genome Foundry is the first of its kind in Canada.
New Concordia research identifies genetic mechanisms that can be targeted to extend human lifespan. In two recently published articles, Vladimir Titorenko, Concordia Research Chair in Genomics, Cell Biology and Aging examines what delaying and accelerating yeast genes might mean for humans. He led the studies with a group of fellow researchers.
Thirty years after becoming the first woman to graduate with a PhD in building engineering from Concordia, Gina Cody, MEng 81, PhD 89, makes a $15-million gift to her alma mater. The Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science becomes the first engineering faculty in Canada to be named after a woman.
Concordia’s first-ever Winter Pride is organized by a cohort of students from the Simone de Beauvoir Institute’s Sexuality Studies program at Concordia. Winter Pride features film screenings, workshops and lectures to help connect the LGBTQ community to their peers and services.
Thanks to $10 million in new funding over seven years from the Government of Canada, Concordia receives the green light to nominate its first Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Smart, Sustainable and Resilient Cities and Communities. Concordia is one of only nine Canadian institutions to advance in the CERC competition in 2018.
Natalie Phillips, professor in Concordia's Department of Psychology, and her team are the first to use high-resolution, whole-brain MRI data and sophisticated analysis techniques to measure cortical thickness and tissue density within specific brain areas.
The province of Quebec names André Roy, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, and Michel Magnan, professor in the Department of Accountancy, among the first Distinguished Members of the Ordre de l’excellence en education. Administered by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, the new honour was established this year to reward individuals for their standout contributions to education.
First-year software engineering students Nicolas MacBeth and Alex Shevchenko take home first prize in their first hackathon at HackHarvard. Joining forces with McGill University students, MacBeth and Shevchenko created an app to test sobriety using artificial intelligence. HackHarvard is a 36-hour hackathon where participants work to build an app from concept to working prototype.
Concordia researcher Vivek Venkatesh is named co-chair on Prevention of Radicalization and Violent Extremism by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The chair, a first of its kind in the world, underscores the role of education as a tool to counter the spread of terrorism.
Anthony Beauregard, a second-year Concordia Stingers student-athlete, becomes the first Stinger since 1991 to be named MVP by the Ontario University Athletes (OUA). Beauregard was the leading scorer in U SPORTS and the OUA during the 2017-18 season.
Amir Hooshiar, is the first Concordian to receive the NSERC Gilles Brassard Doctoral Prize for Interdisciplinary Research since its inception in 2012. The $10,000 award is given to an outstanding recipient of a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship who best exemplifies interdisciplinary research.
Concordia welcomes Geneviève Sioui as its first Indigenous community engagement coordinator. In her role, Sioui will connect people and communities to resources, and support initiatives that come from Indigenous groups, students or citizens.
Concordia launches its first-ever Art Hive on its Sir George Williams Campus — made possible thanks to the generous support of the Rossy Foundation. The art hive will also serve as the heart of the International Art Hives Network — a Canadian first in community-based inclusive spaces that advance wellbeing through art.
Stéphane Cardin, GrDip 92, becomes the first employee in Canada to be hired by Netflix. Formerly with the Canada Media Fund, Cardin now joins the internet entertainment service as director of Regulatory Affairs and Industry Relations for Canada and will be based in Montreal.
A team of engineering researchers at Concordia become the first in the world to successfully print a 3D object using sound waves on April 27, 2018. Four years later, the research is published in the journal Nature Communications, and honoured as one of the top 10 scientific discoveries of the year by Québec Science magazine.
Concordia leverages its expertise in data science and information systems security by joining its first artificial intelligence (AI) research supercluster. The SCALE.AI, the AI-Powered Supply Chain Supercluster is one of only five projects that received funding from the Government of Canada as part of its new $950 million Innovation Superclusters Initiative.
For the first time since 2005, the Concordia Stingers claim the RSEQ (Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec) women’s hockey championship. The Stingers defeat the Université de Montréal’s Carabins 3 to 1 in the third-and-deciding game of the championship series.
Concordia welcomes its first-ever political party-in-residence. The Faculty of Fine Arts teams up with Denmark's The Alternative, a Danish political party and social movement, founded and led by Uffe Elbaek, to work with Concordia students across disciplines on a year-long project focused on how the arts can influence political decision making.
Muthukumaran Packirisamy, professor in the Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Aerospace Engineering is the first-ever Quebecer to be honoured by the U.S. National Academy of Inventors (NAI). Packirisamy will become a NAI Fellow of the prestigious American organization and honoured for his innovative life's work.
Each year, the team competes in the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race, a mechanical and civil engineering competition. Held at a different university each year, the competition is attended by approximately 30 universities across Canada and the United States.
Concordia partners with five other universities to launch FUSION, the first national skills-development innovation network. With a $2.5-million investment from the Government of Canada, the project will help prepare graduating students for the future economy.
CODE-E, a theatrical robot created by PwC to interact with students and spark interest in technology, made its first Canadian appearance at Concordia University. CODE-E moderated a discussion between Gina Cody, MEng 81, PhD 89, namesake donor of the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science, and Lori-Ann Beausoleil, a partner and national leader of Compliance, Ethics and Governance at PwC.
Concordia partners with Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, Catallaxy and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to create the first Industrial Research Chair in Blockchain Technologies. The principal chairholder, Jeremy Clark, is an associate professor at the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science.
Shoushi Bakarian, an undergraduate student in the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science, spearheads the Stratos Aerospace Lab (SAL), an initiative to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among students and youth. Bakarian also launched SAL's first social entrepreneurial aviation product — Ventus — a tube that fits into the ventilation systems of small aircrafts. Bakarian is a Syrian-Armenian refugee who was granted permanent residency in Canada in 2016.
David Heurtel is Concordia's first public administration scholar-in-residence and will work with the university's Faculty of Arts and Science to demystify how politics and policy work. Heurtel hopes to offer insight into how politics work, how policy is made and how theoretical knowledge can be applied to the real world.
Concordia Model United Nations (CONMUN) hosts its first-ever conference at the univeristy. CONMUN provides students with opportunities to compete in different Model United Nations conferences around the world. Student delegates are assigned countries and are placed in committees to debate and propose solutions to hypothetical political situations.
Concordia researchers create Canada's first publicly-available portal, which retrieves weather information from as far back as 1840. The new set of online tools were developed by Ali Nazemi, an assistant professor in the Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering in Concordia's Gina Cody School of Engineering, together with undergraduate student Shakil Jiwa.
Joe Culpepper is Concordia's first 'circademic', developing new ways to practice and experience magic. He will spend two years developing three new hybrid circus-magic apparatus prototypes — circus apparatuses that in some way create a magic effect.
Concordia is among 15 founding institutions from four continents in the new Global Biofoundry Alliance (GBA). The alliance represents a coalition of synthetic biology organizations that will accelerate and enhance biotechnology research. Vincent Martin, professor in Concordia’s Department of Biology, is co-director of the university’s Centre for Applied Synthetic Biology — home of Canada’s only genome foundry.
Concordia, Ericsson and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) create the first Industrial Research Chair in Software-Defined Networking and Network Functions Virtualization Security. Valued at $1.8 million, the new chair in the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science brings together industry and academia.
Concordia announces its first partnership with the Court of Quebec. In collaboration with Morton Minc, BA 67, Concordia’s jurist-in-residence, the court will host up to eight students from the Law and Society minor in the Department of History, who will gain behind-the-scenes access to the province’s judicial system.