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The Campaign for Concordia: NEXT-GEN. NOW.

University leaders explain how the $250-million campaign will transform Concordia
January 30, 2018
By Howard Bokser

The next generation is here. With the November 2017 launch of the $250-million Campaign for Concordia: Next-Gen. Now, the university has set in motion the most ambitious fundraising effort in its history.

Thanks to a number of exceptional gifts, the campaign is off to a strong start. “We’re already more than halfway to our goal,” says Concordia President Alan Shepard. “We’re very grateful to our community of donors, who I’m sure will help us meet or surpass our record target.”

The campaign will support Concordia’s nine forward-thinking strategic directions, which were unveiled in 2015:

  • Double Our Research: pursue bold goals in research that reflect our talents and our ambition to tackle big challenges;
  • Teach For Tomorrow: deliver a next- generation education that’s connected, transformative, and fit for the times;
  • Get Your Hands Dirty: use rich experiences outside the classroom to deepen learning and effect change;
  • Mix It Up: build agile structures that facilitate intellectual mixing and internal collaboration;
  • Experiment Boldly: be inventive and enterprising in creating tomorrow’s university;
  • Grow Smartly: add capacity where our strengths and emerging enrolment demand intersect;
  • Embrace the City, Embrace the World: achieve public impact through research and learning;
  • Go Beyond: push past the status quo and go the extra mile for members of our community;
  • Take Pride: celebrate successes and be purposeful about building a legacy.

Funds raised will cement Concordia’s position as Canada’s next-generation university. They will focus on three major themes:

  • Next-Generation Ideas to fuel new institutes, research centres, think tanks and academic programs. These will allow Concordia research to tackle big questions in diverse areas such as preventive health, cybersecurity, urban centres and arts, culture and technology.
  • Next-Generation Talent to multiply hands-on and work-integrated learning by creating accessible online options and building more pathways for international study and social engagement. The goal is to provide students with a range of opportunities through field schools, graduate and undergraduate student awards, real-world experience and online learning.
  • Next-Generation Impact from think tanks, living labs, entrepreneurship centres and innovation hubs; Concordia’s community and industry engagement will grow through social innovation, public scholars, open access, knowledge sharing and more.
Campaign for Concordia

The campaign team is being led by Shepard and campaign co-chairs Andrew Molson and Lino Saputo Jr., BComm 89.

Members of the leadership team, as well as the university’s senior administrators, share their vision of the campaign and how it will help propel Concordia’s future.

Alan Shepard

Alan Shepard
President, Concordia

“For all universities, societal shifts are creating new challenges. The digital revolution is transforming how information is shared and, therefore, how people learn. And what people need to learn — the information, and especially the skills — is shifting as change accelerates in the 21st century.

In such an era of uncertainty, universities need to Teach for Tomorrow — one of our nine strategic directions. Our strategic directions are guiding our journey to stay ahead of the curve on all of this revolutionary change.

Teaching for Tomorrow means many things. We’ve listened to our students, and we’re providing more learning opportunities that are hands-on and integrated with the work world. More labs, more field trips, more internships, more co-op placements and more entrepreneurship opportunities at our District 3 Innovation Center.

Turning education towards the future means helping our students Embrace the City, Embrace the World. We are giving them more opportunities to get involved in communities here and around the world, and to attend classes abroad. 

Teaching for Tomorrow means Mixing It Up. A good example is the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology, where our students and researchers from the fields of design, art, culture and technology meet.

Turning teaching towards the future also means to Go Beyond. We are investing in our students through scholarships and research funds and we support them after graduation.

And Teaching for Tomorrow means Doubling Our Research, Experimenting Boldly and Growing Smartly, where our expertise intersects with increasing demand. And demand for Concordia certainly has increased. We’ve had record funding for our groundbreaking research and record enrolment, while other universities are feeling a demographic dip.

Our campuses are bubbling with activity, and the excitement generated by Concordia radiates far beyond our facilities. Investing in our next generation together means we all have to continue our ninth strategic direction, and that’s to Take Pride. Take pride in what we’ve already achieved together, and take pride in what we will achieve.

We have so many worthy centres and institutes that are pulling together expertise from Montreal and around the world to solve local and global problems. And we really do have so many outstanding students. They constantly impress me.

Concordia is Canada’s next-generation university. And the next generation is now.”

Andrew Molson

Andrew Molson
Partner and Chairman, Res Publica Consulting Group;
Director, Molson Coors

Co-Chair, The Campaign For Concordia

“My father, Eric Molson, became very involved in Concordia in the 1990s and 2000s [as chancellor]. I was very much inspired by his dedication to the university. Following his work, I learned on my own how great an institution Concordia is for a city like Montreal, and indeed for our country.

We have a wonderful public education system in Canada. But we also under- stand these schools can be even better with help from volunteers and philanthropy. It’s a way to deliver added value for our already great system.”

Lino Saputo Jr.

Lino Saputo Jr. , BA 89
Chairman of the Board and CEO, Saputo Inc. 

Co-Chair, The Campaign for Concordia

“As businesses evolve, as human characteristics evolve, as technologies evolve, education needs to evolve as well. When you think about Concordia’s nine strategic directions, they’re actually very much in sync with where society is going. I really like the idea

of this university going to the next generation — adapting its programs and its schedules to the next generation. I think that’s where Concordia is heading — I like being a part of that.”

Gina Cody

Gina Cody , MEng 81, PhD 89
Executive Chair, McIntosh Perry Ltd.

Vice-Chair, Toronto, The Campaign for Concordia

“I realize I became who I am today because of what Concordia gave me three decades ago. I came from Iran during the revolution [1979]. Concordia accepted me with open arms. I was treated equally. Being a female or from another country didn’t matter. Concordia provided me with the equipment and tools to be ready for a male-dominated society. I believe that we all became whoever we are because of the possibilities and opportunities given to us during our education.”

Mutsumi Takahashi

Mutsumi Takahashi , BA79, MBA 95, LLD 13
Chief News Anchor, CTV Montreal News

Honorary Chair, The Campaign for Concordia

“Concordia showed me what options I had and gave me a grounding to allow me to choose what was best for my career. I think that’s an obligation and duty that all of us have, to show students now what their options are, to help them realize their potential.

When I was growing up, my father would teach me mathematical equations and then show how these could apply in everyday life. Concordia does that. It takes an education and helps you apply it to everyday life.”

Peter Webster

Peter Webster
Chairman of the Board, R. Howard Webster Foundation

Honorary Vice-Chair, West Coast, The Campaign for Concordia

“When we went as a board to visit the PERFORM Centre on the Loyola Campus, it was absolutely an eye-opener to see what was going on and to see the huge co-operation it has with the community. The end goal is to make society better. I saw a presentation by some Concordia students who were taking moisture out of the air in the desert to allow plants to grow. Now if that isn’t thinking way out there, I don’t know what is.”

Jonathan Wener

Jonathan Wener, BComm 71
Chancellor, Concordia
Chairman and Ceo, Canderel

Honorary Chair, The Campaign for Concordia

“I find our students excel in business,  in the arts, in computer science, in engineering, because they’ve come out with a practical background. I excelled at Concordia because with the case- method system we were confronted with problems to solve. These business cases were an excellent way to prepare you for business. I thrived on that and loved every minute of it.

I had a production professor who said, ‘Machines depreciate, people appreciate — invest in people.’ That’s what we’re about to do with this campaign — it’s an investment in the future.”

Bram Freedman

Bram Freedman
Vice-President, Advancement and External Relations

“As our most ambitious fundraising campaign to date, the Campaign for Concordia will support our nine bold strategic directions. To fuel its growth — especially in teaching and high-tech research — Concordia must continue to stand out.

The Campaign for Concordia is a call to our alumni, faculty, staff and friends to give to our university to support our growth.

It is through our diversity that we are able to innovate for the future. We live in a technological age where the pace of change is increasing. The Campaign for Concordia will support our students and researchers. We build think tanks, institutes and research centres to bring together experts in knowledge hubs that will improve society.”

Graham Carr

Graham Carr
Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs

“Above all, the Campaign for Concordia provides us with the opportunity to support exciting initiatives that we otherwise couldn’t afford, but that will lift our academic enterprise to a new level. We’re already doing many incredible things at the university in terms of our programs, support for students, connections to community and research.

We have truly gifted faculty, dedicated staff, exciting students from almost every country in the world, and formidable partners in the private, public and not-for-profit realms. Yet to truly unleash all that capacity, to enable Concordia to reach its full potential, we need generous gifts that match the passion of our donors with the knowledge, action and creativity of our community. It isn’t just Concordia that will benefit. Nor is it just our students. It’s Montreal, Quebec, Canada and the world.

This campaign comes at a pivotal juncture in the university’s history.

We have just embarked on an ambitious pathway to realize a set of strategic directions that will define Concordia’s future and set the tone and tempo for what a next-generation university can and should be. Never before has our community had so much to be enthusiastic about.

Students from all over Quebec and the world are aspiring to study here. We are committed to creating novel, flex- ible spaces where creativity, research and the development of new ideas can flourish. Our research output is growing at record levels and Concordia is known nationally and internationally as a true leader in many fields. The campaign is perfectly timed to tap into, feed and nourish that optimism, that belief in the possibility of positive change.

As a young university with proud roots, we’re on the cusp of taking a giant step into the future. And the campaign will be a critical enabler of our vision and goals.”

Christophe Guy

Christophe Guy
Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies

“The Campaign for Concordia will support investigations and discoveries that are transdisciplinary, collaborative and impactful in the sense that the knowledge uncovered by our researchers will inform both government policy and society as a whole.

Investing in next-generation re- search will allow Concordia to continue strengthening the training that we of- fer students through a research-based education. The invaluable foundation that students gain through their work here in methods and methodology will ultimately lead them to becoming better professionals, transferring their knowl- edge to the workplace.

The Campaign for Concordia will contribute greatly to the university’s Double Our Research strategic direc- tion. That, for me, has much to do with leveraging the responsiveness and flexibility of both Concordia’s faculty members and state-of-the-art facili- ties. I also hope that connections made during the campaign will pave the way for partnerships with both the public and private sectors, providing us with a solid framework for growth.”

Paula Wood-Adams

Paula Wood-Adams
Dean, Graduate Studies

“As a university with a growing graduate student population, our most important mandate is training the leaders of tomorrow by giving them the means to push the boundaries of their disciplines. The campaign is a way for us to get out there and let our communities know that big things are happening here, things that will make a change in their everyday lives, whether through new technologies or different ways of approaching pressing challenges.

I am confident that the campaign will translate into new opportunities for overall recruitment. We’ll be able to reach even more top-tier students and faculty members to join our labs and classrooms. More awareness also means more collaboration and, consequently, more innovation.”

Amir Asif

Amir Asif
Dean, Faculty Of Engineering and Computer Science

“Concordia is recognized for its commitment to accessibility and social responsibility. Many of our graduates were first- generation university students.

The Campaign for Concordia will enable the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science (ENCS) to reaffirm the university’s aspirations and make ENCS a reality for bright, hardworking young people.

It will help us train students with skills to design next-gen technologies in a socially responsible manner. It empowers us to retain faculty members who are leaders in their field, who are passionate about educating young minds and who are pursuing cutting-edge research. It will allow us to develop student spaces, hands-on teaching labs and state-of-the-art facilities on campus, infrastructure that facilitates learning and research of the highest quality.

The campaign will inspire the ENCS community to be the best that we can be.”

Anne-Marie Croteau

Anne-Marie Croteau, Bsc 86
Dean, John Molson School of Business

“As a proud graduate and long-time faculty member, I have seen Concordia change in so many wonderful ways over the years.

In my new role as dean of the John Molson School of Business, I regularly meet alumni whose sons and daughters are now studying here. A second generation of students now calls Concordia home.

Our community’s financial support, through the Campaign for Concordia, will equip the university with the means to provide this generation with an outstanding educational experience — one that will prepare them for a meaningful career and for having a positive impact on society.”

Rebecca Duclos

Rebecca Duclos
Dean, Faculty Of Fine Arts

“I see a huge role in the future Concordia for experimental and experiential pedagogical practices that the Faculty of Fine Arts has long embraced.

For the faculty, this campaign is about building the infrastructure to share our material and methodological practices both inside and outside the university. We want more support for all students, more STEAM [science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics] collaborations across the whole university, and more research-creation projects with major partners like the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

We’re one of the largest comprehensive fine arts institutions in all of North America. We will always be a faculty where scholarly, visual, performing, cinematic, design and digital arts thrive. And we want to share what we do with an ever-larger community of people who can wrap their arms around real initia- tives that benefit society.

The campaign is a rare opportunity for us collectively to reflect on the kind of university we want to build for the future. It’s a significant move for Concordia to transform its ideas for new directions into real proposals that say to the larger community, ‘Yes! This is what we want. This is what we believe in. Follow us and support us!’”

André Roy

André Roy
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science

“This campaign represents an immense opportunity to inspire people with the bold and creative initiatives our faculty is pursuing in various fields, such as preventive health, global environmental change, human rights and genomics.

The emphasis of the campaign on investing in top talent will help us advance our innovative and interdisciplinary academic project and realize our goals for the coming years, as outlined in our faculty’s strategic plan, FAS 2025.

This campaign embodies our university’s shared ambitions, including Indigenous advancement, inclusiveness, cutting-edge pedagogy, student success and community engagement.

We all have a role to play as champions for this cause, and it is my hope that our collective efforts throughout the campaign will see professors, students, staff and alumni finding new and unexpected ways to work together as a team, with a combined desire and determination to be the next-generation university.”

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