In 1961, the Loyola Alumni Association and the administration of Loyola College, one of Concordia's founding institutions, agreed to create the Loyola Medal as a permanent tribute to outstanding leadership and achievement on the Canadian scene.
The first medal was awarded in 1963 to General Georges P. Vanier, former governor general of Canada and Loyola alumnus.
In 1989, it was agreed that the Loyola Medal would be established as an award by Concordia University and given every two years to an outstanding individual who meets the specified criteria:
Outstanding citizens as evidenced by their character and life philosophy and who have made a significant contribution to Canada. They shall embody the ideals and spirit which characterized Loyola College.
Individuals whose receipt of the award will bring prestige to both the Concordia and Loyola names.
*The selection of Jean Vanier as a recipient of the Loyola Medal in 1993 was made based on the information available at that time. Concordia University and its Loyola Alumni Association (now known as the Loyola Alumni Founding Chapter) were deeply shocked by the findings of the independent inquiry commissioned by L’Arche International and published in February 2020. Concordia University and the Loyola Medal selection committee unequivocally condemn such behaviour.