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Top marks a family tradition

Math whiz Matthieu Hubert receives Governor General's Academic Silver Medal, looks forward to a future in medicine
June 19, 2012
By Tom Peacock

When it came to finding role models, actuarial mathematics student Matthieu Hubert didn’t have to look very far. As he explains, his high-achieving family provided most of the inspiration he needed to achieve the highest grade point average (GPA) among Concordia graduates this school year.

“My mother is a nurse, my sister is a police officer, and my father and two brothers are engineers. They all worked hard to get where they are and showed me that hard work pays off,” he says.

Matthieu Hubert | Photo by Concordia University
Matthieu Hubert | Photo by Concordia University

For his efforts, Hubert received the Governor General’s Academic Silver Medal at this year’s spring convocation. The medal is awarded each year to the undergraduate student who finishes his or her degree with the highest GPA.

It’s not the first time a Hubert has earned such an honour. In fact, scholastic aptitude seems to run in the family. Matthieu’s father Pierre and his uncle Marc both earned the Governor General’s Academic Silver Medal when they graduated from the University of Ottawa in electrical engineering. Although the medal is usually only awarded to one student, an exception was made because the identical twins earned exactly the same high average.

Matthieu’s older brother Jonathan earned the Governor General’s Academic Bronze Medal (awarded to the high school student with the highest marks) when he graduated from Collège Charles-Lemoyne 1999. In 2007, Matthieu himself won the bronze medal when he graduated from the same high school.

For his part, Matthieu admits to having some facility when it comes to schoolwork. “I am very fortunate that academics have consistently come easy to me,” he says simply. Also, even though he enjoys his downtime — playing tennis with friends, or volunteering with a local AIDS foundation — he doesn’t argue with himself when it comes time to hit the books.

“I am a very disciplined and organized person, so I always follow a schedule to make sure I do everything I need to do and stay on top of things,” he says.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Hubert seems to have an uncanny ability to put things into perspective. “Mathematics often involves many minute details, which are important, but they tend to make us lose sight of the big picture. I try not to lose sight of the big picture while simultaneously being aware of the details.”

During Cegep, Hubert studied health sciences, but when he discovered he had “a certain affinity” for math, he decided to pursue his undergraduate degree at Concordia in actuarial mathematics.

“Actuarial mathematics prepares students to be professionals who use mathematical models to analyze and solve financial problems under uncertainty,” says the blurb on the department website. Does Hubert envision a future designing insurance or benefit plans? Not quite.

“I was just accepted into medical school and have chosen to go to the Université de Montréal,” he says. “Ideally, I would like to become a general practitioner. Their role in our health system is primordial, and yet most people do not have a GP!”

Hubert, who grew up in the South-Shore suburb of Brossard, has had the same doctor since he was born. “I appreciate the relationship I have with her, and hope I can create such doctor-patient relationships of my own in the future,” he says.

In the meantime, Hubert is making the most of some much-needed time off, travelling around Europe; taking in some of the bigger picture.

“I’ve already been to Lisbon, Madrid and Barcelona and will be headed to Brussels, Antwerp and Amsterdam to finish off my trip,” he writes in an email. “I’m having a wonderful cultural experience; meeting people from all over the world and learning so much about the cities I visit.”

Related link:

•  Actuarial Mathematics

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