Skip to main content

What do a judge and Hollywood producer have in common?

Concordia's commemorative degree ceremony valedictorians — Lionel Chetwynd, BA 63, and Judge Pierrette Sévigny, BA 67 — return to their alma mater as part of Homecoming 2015
September 18, 2015
By James Gibbons

Lionel Chetwynd, BA 63, can make a unique claim: he is a two-time Concordia valedictorian.

Lionel Chetwynd, BA 63 Lionel Chetwynd, BA 63

The first time was when he graduated Sir George Williams University.

The second time he will be addressing graduates as part of a commemorative degree ceremony at Concordia’s Homecoming 2015 on September 24.

“I was told: ‘we’re choosing you because you probably won’t mess it up,’” chuckles Chetwynd, an Oscar-nominated Hollywood producer, on that first occasion.

Among his accomplishments, Chetwynd was appointed by American President George W. Bush to serve on the President’s Committee of Arts and Humanities.

Works such as Kissinger and Nixon — for which Chetwynd penned the teleplay — have earned him Writers Guild and Gemini Award nominations for outstanding screenplay.

“The reasoning [for being a valedictorian] is a bit different on this occasion!” says Chetwynd. “Now it’s more a chance to come full circle. To pay tribute to some remarkable and dedicated teachers who prepared me for a lifetime.”

The ceremony will recognize graduates of Loyola College and Sir George Williams, Concordia’s two founding institutions. 

Returning for their 10-year anniversary are “young alumni” — those that received commemorative degrees in 2005, the first time the ceremony took place.

Leisha LeCouvie, senior director of Alumni Relations, explains: “The purpose of the ceremony is to remind graduates of these institutions that they’re an important part of our institutional fabric and present-day Concordia.”

While Chetwynd represents Sir George Williams, Loyola College has a delegate of its own: a former Superior Court of Quebec judge. 

History-making Loyola College graduate

Pierrette Sévigny and her husband Richard McConomy Pierrette Sévigny and her husband Richard McConomy

“I received a fantastic education,” says The Honourable Pierrette Sévigny, BA 67, on her motivation to serve as the valedictorian representing Loyola College at the commemorative degree ceremony.

The former judge of the Superior Court of Quebec was among the first cohort of women admitted to Loyola College.

“I view this as an opportunity to give back,” says Judge Sévigny, adding Department of Political Science Professor Henry Habib had a major impact on her as a student.

“He helped me confirm my desire to attend law school,” says Judge Sévigny, a trajectory that led to her appointment as a judge of the Superior Court of Quebec in 1992.

“I also met my husband at Loyola!” says Judge Sévigny, referring to Richard McConomy, BA 66, also a lawyer. “We owe our meeting to Concordia.”

#CUalumni #CUhomecoming

Related links

Back to top

© Concordia University