Concordia University

Concordians Louise Dandurand and John Parisella land Quebec’s highest civilian honour

Premier Philippe Couillard has named a leading academic research administrator and a celebrated ‘homme politique’ to the Ordre National
June 15, 2016
By Tom Peacock

Louise Dandurand (left) and John Parisella have been named officers of the Ordre Nationale du Québec. "The insight, initiative and expertise of Louise Dandurand [left] and John Parisella helped shape Concordia."

Louise Dandurand, Concordia’s former vice-president of Research and Graduate Studies, has been named an officer of the Ordre National du Québec for her formidable dedication to higher education.

Another Concordian — John Parisella, who served as a member of the Board of Governors and a special advisor to the university’s president, as well as chief of staff for two Quebec Liberal Party leaders — was also recognized.

As recipients of the province’s highest civilian honour, Dandurand and Parisella will join 32 other inductees at an official ceremony on June 22 at the National Assembly in Quebec City.

“The Ordre National du Québec is fitting recognition for the enriching contributions of these two committed former members of our our university,” says Alan Shepard, Concordia’s president.

“The insight, initiative and expertise of Dandurand and Parisella helped shape Concordia, and our province, into what they are today.”

Louise Dandurand: a driving force in research

After coming to Concordia in 2006, Dandurand worked tirelessly with her colleagues to increase the university’s research and graduate studies profile.

“There has been a significant cultural shift to give research and graduate studies their lettre de noblesse, and I think this is what my team can be very proud of,” she said at the time of her retirement from Concordia in 2011.

Peter Kruyt, then-chair of the Board of Governors, described her contributions in glowing terms: “Louise brought the university into the major leagues," he said.

“She has been a driving force in supporting graduate studies and making it an integral element of the broader research and training agenda at Concordia.”

Dandurand started her career in political science at the University of Ottawa.

After teaching for five years, she was appointed director of Policy and Planning at the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and, subsequently, secretary general of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

She held various positions during her term at SSHRC, including acting president, and served as director of the new FQRSC (Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la société et la culture).

From 2012 to 2015, Dandurand was president of Acfas (Association Francophone pour le savoir). In 2014, during her tenure, Concordia hosted the association's 82nd Congress, the largest multidisciplinary gathering of research and knowledge in the French-speaking world.

John Parisella: a Quebec ‘homme politique’

A well-known contributor to Quebec’s political, business and educational landscape, Concordia alumnus John Parisella returned to campus in the late nineties — first as a member of the Board of Governors (1998 to 2005), and then as head of communications and special advisor to the president (2005 to 2009).

He contributed to a major redesign of Concordia’s visual image, as well as changes to its strategies and objectives for improving public awareness, both internally and externally.

Prior to his work at Concordia, Parisella served as director general of the Liberal Party of Quebec, and chief of staff to Quebec premiers Robert Bourassa and Daniel Johnson. He also advised Premier Jean Charest.

Parisella graduated from Loyola College, one of Concordia’s two founding institutions, with a BA in Political Science in 1967. He went on to earn degrees in political science, education, and management from McGill University, and a certificate in senior government management from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

In 2009, Parisella was appointed Québec’s delegate general in New York and Washington. He is currently executive director of Campus Montreal, a major fundraising campaign for Université de Montréal (UdeM) and its affiliated institutions.

Parisella has also served as a volunteer on numerous boards, including Concordia’s Board of Governors.

More Concordia connections

Three other 2016 recipients of the Ordre National du Québec are connected to Concordia.

They are First Nations filmmaker and activist Alanis Obomsawin (grand officer), who received an honorary doctorate from Concordia in 1993; Alain Pinsonneault (knight), a professor of Information Systems at McGill, who received a Bachelor of Commerce from the university in 1984; and businessman Placide Poulin (knight), who received the Award of Distinction from the John Molson School of Business in 1998.


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