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‘A passion and a mission’: a celebration of long-serving staff and faculty

Perry Calce and Benoit Lachance share thoughts about their many years at Concordia
December 2, 2014
By Theresa Knowles

A university is defined by the quality and commitment of its people. In the weeks leading up to the Long Service and Retirees Luncheon, we are profiling some of this year’s honourees in order to share a glimpse of the rich knowledge and diverse professional backgrounds at Concordia.

On December 4, Concordia is recognizing 200 employees who have reached the 20-, 25-, 30-, 35-, 40- and 45-year milestones in their careers, alongside a further 100 staff and faculty members who retired in 2013.

The annual Long Service and Retirees Luncheon is an opportunity for the Concordia community to honour these dedicated colleagues and acknowledge their many years of service, loyalty to the institution and deep commitment to its values.

Concordia is proud to honour the people who helped make it the great institution it is today — particularly as it marks its 40th anniversary.

Perry Calce: “We’re here for the students”

Coordinator Academic Programs and Curriculum Development, School of Community and Public Affairs
30 years at Concordia

Perry Calce, 30-year staff member: “Make your work a passion.” | Photos by Concordia University

As coordinator of Academic Programs and Curriculum Development, Perry Calce is responsible for admissions, recruitment, academic advising, internship, alumni relations, and program development for the School of Community and Public Affairs.

He also coordinates the school’s three programs: Community and Public Affairs and Policy Studies, First Peoples Studies, and Community Economic Development.

There’s a lot on his plate, but for Calce, it isn’t just a job. “Working closely with our students and getting to know them and see them mature and succeed is a passion and a mission,” he says.

Calce credits the late Hubert Guindon with his work philosophy. Guindon was one of the founders of Concordia’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Calce’s former professor and, most pertinently, the one who hired him.

Guindon once told Calce that “fond memories are always bound up with students: students who fearfully enter the world of ideas, whose intellectual confidence has to be built up, and who, once developed, are eternally grateful to those who encouraged them to entertain that calling.”

Calce agrees, saying that that “the pleasure of getting a call, an e-mail or a visit from former students and seeing their continued attachment to our school and knowing that you’ve played a small but a positive part in their journey” is among his most rewarding experiences at Concordia.

Over the past three decades, Calce has seen the tremendous growth of Concordia and the immense improvements to its infrastructure, and also how it has become an institution of choice for students, faculty and staff.

While acknowledging its rich history, Calce is also optimistic about Concordia’s future. For new employees, he says that achieving career longevity is possible. “Make your work a passion, or at the very least something you enjoy and it will never seem like work,” he says. “Most importantly, always remember that we are here for the students and without them we wouldn’t exist.”  

Benoit Lachance: “Always have a smile”

Moving Coordinator, Distribution and Transportation Services, Facilities Management
35 years at Concordia

After 35 years, Benoit Lachance is still happy to offer his help. After 35 years, Benoit Lachance is still happy to offer his help.

Benoit Lachance has seen a lot of change since he began working at Concordia’s Distribution Services as a helper in 1979. “That year, the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup,” he says. Over his 35 years in distribution, he’s worked with countless different employees, held five different positions under four different supervisors, and saw the Habs win the Cup two more times.

In his current role as moving coordinator, he is responsible for shipping materials between buildings and campuses, as well as all furniture moves. He sets up and resets before and after events, picking up furniture throughout the city and delivering it to all 59 buildings on both campuses.  His goal? “To make sure the work is done on time and that the customers are happy and satisfied.”

Lachance makes it sound easy, but it has been quite a challenge. “The workload has increased about 100 per cent,” he says. In 1979 there were fewer buildings than there are now. Lachance has seen the construction, renovation and acquisition of a dozen buildings over the years, including the J.W. McConnell Building (LB) in 1992, the Richard J. Renaud Science Complex (SP) in 2003, and the Grey Nuns Building (GN) in September of this year, and he’s moved furniture into each and every one. Chances are that the furniture at your work station right now is there courtesy of Lachance and his team.

He admits that it can be hard work, but there are many aspects Lachance really enjoys. For example, helping set up for the annual Centraide events or delivering the Christmas baskets donated by Concordia employees to the different associations across the city are the parts of his job he appreciates most.

When asked for the secrets of his successful career, Lachance credits his work-life balance and gives the following advice: “Always have a smile for the people inside and out of the university, and don’t be afraid to ask people if they need help.” 

The Long Service and Retirees Luncheon takes place on December 4, 2014. Watch for more stories about the 2014 Long Service and Retirees Luncheon next week.

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