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Daniel Langlois (1957 – 2023): Donor and visionary businessman

‘One of the most active patrons of culture of our time’
December 20, 2023
By Ian Harrison, BComm 01

The image shows a man smiling at the camera, wearing a dark academic gown with maroon and gold accents on the sleeves, indicating a ceremonial occasion, possibly a graduation or academic event. Daniel Langlois, LLD 04, a visionary business man and philanthropist, left an indelible mark on cinema and technology.

Daniel Langlois, LLD 04, a visionary businessman and philanthropist, tragically passed away with his partner Dominique Marchand on the island of Dominica on December 1. He was 66.

Langlois left an indelible mark on cinema and technology, and was commemorated “as one of the most active patrons of culture of our time” when conferred an honorary doctorate by Concordia in 2004.

In 1986, Langlois founded Softimage, which went on to play a pivotal role in the film industry through innovative computer-animation techniques. The software developed by the company became integral to the creation of visual effects in iconic films such as The Matrix, Titanic, Men in Black and Jurassic Park.

Langlois’s charitable commitments were extensive. His philanthropic foundation gave generously to empower artistic, scientific and technological research throughout Montreal, the province of Quebec and beyond.

In 1999, he founded Ex-Centris, a Montreal-based space that became a centre for cinematic and new media creativity. A generous supporter of the Campaign for Concordia, Langlois also gave a total of $300,000 over the years to fund a variety of initiatives at the university, particularly at the Faculty of Fine Arts.

On Dominica, Langlois and Marchand played a pivotal role in the development of Coulibri Ridge, an eco-friendly complex that became a source of national pride. Additionally, their civic commitment was evident through the Resilient Dominica Project Foundation, dedicated to the island’s reconstruction after the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

In recognition of his significant contribution to Dominica’s sustainable development, Langlois was honoured earlier this year with a Meritorious Service Award. The acknowledgment took place during a ceremony commemorating the island nation’s day of independence in November.

Langlois’s other honours include Canada’s National Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young in 1994. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented him with a Scientific and Technical Oscar in 1997. He was appointed a Knight of the National Order of Quebec in 1999 and an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2000.

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