Skip to main content
LATEST INFORMATION ABOUT COVID-19

READ MORE

Dynamic duos

These five sets of Concordia alumni twins shared their university experiences — and more
May 9, 2016
|
By Maeve Haldane

Starting university is an exciting step full of promise, although it can be a little scary. So imagine being able to make such a stride with someone at your side who knows you better than anyone — your twin.

The following five sets of twins attended Concordia. Even the ones not believed to be identical are tough to tell apart. Some took every course together, some started at different times, but each was the other’s biggest booster and sharpest critic, and valued sharing this coming-of-age experience with their closest confidant.

And as Lesley Haley, BSc 96, says, “We’re twins, we’re sisters. I don’t know if it can get any closer.”

Lesley Jordan and Lisa Jordan Haley

Lesley Jordan and Lisa Jordan Haley Lesley Jordan and Lisa Jordan Haley celebrate the Gold Medal Lisa took home as assistant coach of the Canadian women’s hockey team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
On choosing Concordia

Both Lesley Jordan Haley, BSc 96, and Lisa Jordan, BSc 96, were avid all-round athletes in their high school in Westville, N.S., with Lisa favouring hockey. While playing at the Canada Winter Games in Charlottetown in 1991, Lisa was approached by Concordia Stingers women’s hockey coach Les Lawton about coming to Montreal. “I was interested in going to play hockey and study sports medicine,” says Lisa. Lesley adds, “My mom said if one of us goes, we both go together.” Lesley joined her sister at Concordia and both made the hockey team.

Though Lesley says Lisa is “definitely the leader,” Lisa was encouraged by having Lesley with her. “Moving away from home was intimidating, to a large city and large school. There are more people at Concordia than in our home town!” The Jordans chose to live in residence but not together. Lisa laughs, “Mom felt we wouldn’t get along well enough to share a bedroom.”

“Making the decision to go there was a life changer,” says Lesley. “Les was phenomenal, as was assistant coach Julie Healy [BSc 83], who’s a strong female leader.”

On being a twin

“It was a huge advantage; we had a great time for five years. Having one person by your side being brutally and objectively honest is great. You always have support and someone to lean on," says Lesley. “We each had our best friend there,” Lisa adds. “We both studied exercise science and it was fantastic that there was always someone to relate to.”

During their studies, Lisa played forward for the Stingers while Lesley worked her way up to being goaltender. Lisa claims that her sister is largely to credit for their 1995-96 team making the Concordia Sports Hall of Fame. “She moved up to being the shining star,” Lisa says.

Since Concordia

Both moved back east to Halifax to work as athletic therapists. Lisa soon became Saint Mary’s University women’s hockey coach. Five years ago she took on coaching at Ryerson University in Toronto, where she lives with her husband and son.

Lesley was an assistant coach with Lisa at Saint Mary’s, then became head coach at Dalhousie University for nine years. She now works as a paramedic in the Halifax region.

“We really were each other’s biggest fans and supporters in our sports careers, even when coaching against each other,” Lisa says. Lisa’s career pinnacle so far, though, is bringing home a gold medal as assistant coach of the Canadian women’s hockey team at the Sochi Olympics in 2014.


Bill Conrod and Scott Conrod

Bill Conrod and Scott Conrod While Bill Conrod lives in Ottawa and Scott Conrod is in Montreal, they keep in touch daily and visit each other several times a year.
On choosing Sir George Williams University (one of Concordia’s founding institutions)

Having been happily in the same high-school classes for the previous three years, Bill Conrod, BSc 62, and Scott Conrod, BSc 62, wanted to stick together and were considering their options, from joining the Armed Forces to working in a bank. Medicine had also caught their imagination. So they met with their sister’s friend, Jim McBride, BA 59, who worked in the Sir George Williams registrar’s office and told them that the faculty of science had spots available and they could apply for a bursary. The twins enrolled together and took exactly the same courses at university.

On being a twin

To help fund school, Bill got part-time work in the emergency ward of the Royal Victoria Hospital on weekends. “Because we looked so much alike we alternated the job for the next three years,” says Scott. They participated in another deception years later, when Bill was suddenly laid up in the hospital for surgery on his daughter’s wedding day. Refusing to let his daughter cancel the event, he had Scott walk her down the aisle. No one realized the switcheroo until Bill delivered a message by video.

“Being a twin was a great help at university,” says Scott. “We got to know everyone and became active in various committees.” The Conrod boys took part in the annual variety shows and helped plan orientation week and Winter Carnival. They were also members of the Garnet Key Society.

Since university

After completing their degrees, each decided to go into education. Bill taught high school and then at Montreal’s Dawson College, where he eventually became an administrator. He then worked in Prince George, B.C, and Algonquin College in Ottawa, where he retired in 2000. He is also the author of two books, Memories of Snowdon in the ’50s and More Memories of Snowdon in the ’50s. “I’m still married to my college sweetheart, Jill Foote, with four children and 10 grandchildren, all causing some mischief somewhere,” Bill says.

Scott’s education career wound through Montreal elementary schools, and he then became director general of the Laurenval School Board (now Sir Wilfrid Laurier). He allegedly retired 16 years ago but still worked at various education jobs. He is now teaching education nearly full-time at McGill University. Scott is married to Beverley White, BA 81, MA 84, PhD 92, who has a thriving psychology practice. They have three children and five grandchildren. “Bill beat me on that,” quips Scott.


Faye Assee and Chrystal Assee Gignac

Faye Assee and Chrystal Assee Gignac Faye Assee and Chrystal Gignac Assee frequently take vacations together, most recently to St. Maarten in the Caribbean. They both run and go on hikes with the whole family.
On choosing Concordia

Andrea Perreault, BSc 80, BCSc 85, and Nancy Perreault, BSc 87, were attracted by Concordia’s flexibility and strong science programs, although they didn’t want to take the same classes. Andrea studied biology (and, briefly, German), then switched into computer science.

Nancy pursued biochemistry full-time for a year and then continued at night while finishing a college diploma in architectural technology during the day. She greatly appreciated how the university accommodated her needs.

On being a twin

Nancy found it fun to have someone she was so close to at university. “We got to meet each other’s friends and make new friends, and ended up in a big group together,” she says. Nancy did find the inevitable mix-ups sometimes tiresome. Once at the Louvre Museum in Paris someone came up to her and asked if she had been in his biochemistry class last semester. “I thought, wow, I can’t even escape being mistaken for my sister even in another country all the way across the ocean!”

Now, when Andrea stands at the back of her Montreal West Island home, she can see the front of Nancy’s house. Andrea’s mother-in-law is also an identical twin, so Andrea’s husband Pierre Helleur, BComm 76, knew the importance of the twin relationship and helped find the place nearby. This is one astute husband: Andrea says that when they met at Concordia he sought her out at her locker. Nancy instead showed up, but after a moment of conversation he said, “You’re not Andrea, are you?” He didn’t even know she had a twin.

Since Concordia

Nancy worked in a research lab and as a teacher, spent time at home with her family and now proofreads English as a Second Language textbooks.

After graduating, Andrea set up computers for an office and then stayed at home with her family, and later was a substitute teacher. Her first-born was autistic, and Andrea was initially told he was unlikely to ever go to school. She worked hard with him over the years and he went on to attend Concordia’s John Molson School of Business, before deciding it wasn’t for him. “It has been an interesting and rewarding journey even though it was fraught with many unknowns,” Andrea says.

Andrea is now studying to be a massage therapist using the energetic polarity technique. “This is a profession which I can do at my own pace and I really enjoy,” she says. “I intend to work until the day I die.”

Nancy and Andrea’s daughters are almost like sisters, only three months apart. The girls, Nancy says, “have a great time telling everyone they could almost be half-sisters because their mothers are identical twins.”


Andrea Perreault and Nancy Perreault

Andrea Perreault and Nancy Perreault Nancy Perrault paints watercolours while Andrea Perrault designs greeting cards on the computer and holds workshops for others. “We’re both technologically savvy and creative,” Andrea says.
On choosing Concordia

Andrea Perreault, BSc 80, BCSc 85, and Nancy Perreault, BSc 87, were attracted by Concordia’s flexibility and strong science programs, although they didn’t want to take the same classes. Andrea studied biology (and, briefly, German), then switched into computer science.

Nancy pursued biochemistry full-time for a year and then continued at night while finishing a college diploma in architectural technology during the day. She greatly appreciated how the university accommodated her needs.

On being a twin

Nancy found it fun to have someone she was so close to at university. “We got to meet each other’s friends and make new friends, and ended up in a big group together,” she says. Nancy did find the inevitable mix-ups sometimes tiresome. Once at the Louvre Museum in Paris someone came up to her and asked if she had been in his biochemistry class last semester. “I thought, wow, I can’t even escape being mistaken for my sister even in another country all the way across the ocean!”

Now, when Andrea stands at the back of her Montreal West Island home, she can see the front of Nancy’s house. Andrea’s mother-in-law is also an identical twin, so Andrea’s husband Pierre Helleur, BComm 76, knew the importance of the twin relationship and helped find the place nearby. This is one astute husband: Andrea says that when they met at Concordia he sought her out at her locker. Nancy instead showed up, but after a moment of conversation he said, “You’re not Andrea, are you?” He didn’t even know she had a twin.

Since Concordia

Nancy worked in a research lab and as a teacher, spent time at home with her family and now proofreads English as a Second Language textbooks.

After graduating, Andrea set up computers for an office and then stayed at home with her family, and later was a substitute teacher. Her first-born was autistic, and Andrea was initially told he was unlikely to ever go to school. She worked hard with him over the years and he went on to attend Concordia’s John Molson School of Business, before deciding it wasn’t for him. “It has been an interesting and rewarding journey even though it was fraught with many unknowns,” Andrea says.

Andrea is now studying to be a massage therapist using the energetic polarity technique. “This is a profession which I can do at my own pace and I really enjoy,” she says. “I intend to work until the day I die.”

Nancy and Andrea’s daughters are almost like sisters, only three months apart. The girls, Nancy says, “have a great time telling everyone they could almost be half-sisters because their mothers are identical twins.”


Pierre Dionne and Michel Dionne

Pierre Dionne and Michel Dionne Pierre Dionne resides in Toronto while Michel Dionne lives in the Montreal region. “When possible, we try to take vacations together and manage to see each other at least four times a year,” says Michel.
On choosing Concordia

When Michel Dionne, BSc 90, and Pierre Dionne, BSc 90, started university in the 1980s, Concordia was the only Montreal school to offer a degree in actuarial mathematics. Yet the twins saw two huge advantages in attending Concordia. “First, being French-speaking, we knew that this would help improve our English language skills, which is a must if you want to work anywhere in North America,” says Michel. The other was that Concordia’s co-operative education program let them try out different actuarial internships, which really helped them figure out where they wanted to specialize.

Another reason? They enjoyed each other’s company — and studying together — so of course wanted to be at the same university.

On being a twin

Deciding what field to study is stressful, Pierre and Michel admit, as it will have an impact on the rest of one’s life. “But we always had a lot of communication between each other, and this helped in choosing,” says Michel. “That we have the same aptitude and taste also made these discussions much easier.” They came to a decision together, to study actuarial mathematics with a minor in computer science. After a year, they re-evaluated and both decided that dropping the minor and taking economics, management and other business courses would be better for their careers.

Being in the same classes was a tremendous help for exchanging ideas and studying. Yet they’re also very competitive. “Neither one of us wanted to end up with a lower mark!” Michel says. This resulted in exceptional GPAs of 4.26 and 4.20, out of a maximum of 4.30 — politely, they don’t mention whose was whose. “However, since we had similar handwriting, thought processes and aptitude, some teaching assistants thought we were copying each other’s homework,” Pierre says. “One teacher decided to sit us at the opposite ends of the classroom during exams, remarking, ‘I know you will write the same thing anyway, but let’s split you up just to be safe.’”

Since Concordia

Pierre lives in Toronto with his wife DeDe and a dandy hairless Sphynx cat, while Michel is married to Sylvie Beauchemin, has two teenage daughters and lives on Montreal’s South Shore. Both have reached high levels in their fields: Pierre is senior vice-president and chief agent for the Canadian branch of the international reinsurance company CCR, and Michel is vice-president and appointed actuary for Intact Financial Corporation.

Both are wine enthusiasts and have cellars that boast bottles from all over the world. No doubt they continue to compare notes as they did at university, but these days over grape varietals rather than statistics.

Maeve Haldane with her twin sons.

— Maeve Haldane is a Montreal freelance writer and mother of twin boys.

She is pictured here with her sons enjoying Rockefeller Center, steps from the Lego Store, in New York City in summer 2011.



Back to top Back to top

© Concordia University