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New CASA gift helps inspire legacy of support at John Molson School of Business

Student association has raised more than $340,000 to help fellow students in need
February 3, 2023
By Ian Harrison, BComm 01

Two rows of CASA members sit on a couch and stand behind it to pose for a picture “Knowing that people are enjoying their undergraduate experience with the help of CASA gives me a lot of joy,” says CASA president Demetre Christopoulos, seated fourth from left, surrounded by his CASA colleagues.

A recent combined donation of $80,000 from the non-profit Commerce and Administration Students’ Association (CASA) to the Campaign for Concordia: Next-Gen Now promises to provide critical financial support to cohorts of students at the John Molson School of Business.

The new round of funds — taken from sponsorship and student fees — will be used for a general bursary endowment, an awards endowment and to aid students from underrepresented backgrounds. Impressively, CASA’s historic support for students at the faculty now totals more than $340,000.

This kind of student-led initiative has become a John Molson hallmark, says Dean Anne-Marie Croteau.

“The vibrant student life that exists here at John Molson — from community-oriented student associations to case competitions and our consistently strong performances at the Jeux du Commerce — is a powerful recruitment tool,” notes Croteau, who has been with the faculty since 1997. “Students want to come to John Molson because of it and, thanks to CASA’s generosity, many will get the financial support they need to help them balance academics, internships and extracurriculars.”

A bishop with a grey beard wears a robe-like vestment with a large cross around his neck “I wanted not just to get a degree but to use university as an opportunity to grow as a person,” says Bishop Thomas Dowd, BComm 92, Concordia’s inaugural John F. Lemieux Medal recipient in 2018.

CASA’s legacy of support for fellow John Molson students dates back to when Thomas Dowd, BComm 92, served as president of the association.

Dowd, now Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario, says that his time as a Concordia undergraduate was “life-changing,” thanks in no small part to his involvement with CASA.

“We wanted to encourage the faculty to recruit and retain a more diverse population of students,” says Dowd of the bursary fund’s genesis. “It was an obvious way to help and a show of solidarity from one group of students to another.”

Without his CASA experience, adds Dowd, he may have never considered the priesthood.

“​​I had never been involved in student life prior to Concordia,” he admits. “But I quickly realized that there were elements of my skill set that I wanted to focus on, both socially and leadership-wise. I wanted not just to get a degree but to use university as an opportunity to grow as a person.

“Through CASA, I learned how to network, how to run a meeting and how to work with a board. Advocating for and serving students was very transformative and rewarding.”

A man with short dark hair wears a black suit and tie CASA president Demetre Christopoulos says that being able to help his fellow students is “incredibly fulfilling.”

An ‘incredibly fulfilling’ experience

That’s largely what attracted CASA’s current president, Demetre Christopoulos, to join the association as well. The fourth-year accountancy major, who’s secured a job at KPMG after graduation, says that the benefits of CASA are manifold.

“It started for me when I participated in orientation week and got a taste of what student life was like at John Molson,” says Christopoulos. “I was lucky enough to attend some CASA events and loved it.”

When COVID-19 compelled the university to pivot online, CASA stepped in to help, an initiative Christopoulos ranks as one of his proudest accomplishments.

“Enhancing our peer-tutoring program was a personal goal of mine, and it really took off during the pandemic,” he says. “We reached a new peak, doubling the number of tutors and offering support for at least 30 classes. With all of the difficulties of online learning, we were able to offer more resources for students.”

That’s ultimately what this latest gift of $80,000 to encourage students in need is all about, adds Christopoulos.

“When I see first-hand the appreciation people have for some of the initiatives we organize and put together, it’s incredibly fulfilling. Knowing that people are enjoying their undergraduate experience with the help of CASA gives me a lot of joy. I’m really happy that we can provide that to students.”

To learn more about CASA Cares, the charitable arm of CASA, visit


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