Communiqué de presse
Concordia grad says thanks: Student by day, cabbie by night becomes successful businessman who donates $1 million
Montreal, April 25, 2016 — It’s an incredible story of success that’s worthy of a Hollywood rags-to-riches screenplay. Concordia graduate Hardeep Grewal, BComm 83, went from having $7 in his pocket when he immigrated to Canada in the 1970s to becoming a present-day business magnate.
Grewal credits his Concordia experience as a key to his success. And, as thanks to his alma mater, he is donating $1 million to endow MBA scholarships at the university’s John Molson School of Business (JMSB).
Before succeeding in the business world, Grewal’s’ circumstances were challenging. To make ends meet as a university student he pulled double duty: classes by day and driving a taxi by night.
“My father and mother were farmers in India — with only elementary school learning,” says Grewal, who is originally from Punjab. “Their dream for my three siblings and me was to get an education.”
Appreciation for a flexible education
Concordia’s flexibility made it possible for Grewal to achieve his ambitions. As he says, “The university took me in. That’s why I’ve always been loyal.”
Today, Grewal is an immensely successful businessman. As president and CEO of Los Angeles-based OhCal Foods, Grewal manages 2,100 Subway restaurant locations in California, Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland in the United States and in Ontario, Canada. He’s one of the biggest franchise developers in North America.
“Many JMSB graduates do incredibly well,” says Concordia President Alan Shepard. “One way they show appreciation is by supporting Concordia students, who are in turn equally successful and it keeps perpetuating.”
“Such a significant gift has the capacity of creating a branching effect. There will be future generations of business leaders who can be traced back to this donation,” says Concordia’s Vice-President, Advancement and External Relations, Bram Freedman.
In recognition of the major gift, the university is naming a bright, airy space in its Molson Building after the Concordia grad and his wife. Hardeep (Hardy) Singh Grewal and Patwant Kaur Grewal Atrium.
“The naming of spaces at the John Molson Building sets an aspirational goal,” says JMSB interim dean Stéphane Brutus. “Many students come to Concordia with the hopes of achieving that kind of impact themselves.”
“I know where I came from,” says Grewal. “I’m proud to have my name attached to the school that was a building block for me.”