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Honorary degree citation - Michèle S. Jean

By: Randy Swedburg, June 1995

Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Michèle Jean, an accomplished journalist and author, outstanding public administrator, renowned adult educator and proud mother of four children. Her exemplary leadership and commitment to excellence are a source of inspiration to all who are associated with her.

Née dans la ville de Québec, Michèle Jean a fait ses études à l'Université Laval et à l'Université de Montréal avant de devenir journaliste au quotidien Le Soleil. Au cours des années 60, elle élève sa jeune famille tout en travaillant à temps partiel comme rédactrice pigiste et professeure. De 1975 à 1984, elle est conseillère en éducation des adultes au Collège Bois-de-Boulogne.

In 1980 she took a leave of absence from her counselling position, to chair the Commission of Inquiry on Vocational and Socio-Cultural Training for Adults in Québec. The report of this two-year, 244 public hearings assignment is entitled Apprendre: une action volontaire et responsable and has been hailed as the blueprint for adult education in Québec. It has also been recognized as an exemplary document by educators in other provinces, and indeed, in many other countries. The report has euphemistically become known as the "Jean Report".

Depuis 1984, Mme Jean a occupé des postes de plus en plus importants au sein de la Fonction publique, et notamment ceux de sous-ministre adjointe et directrice générale, Division de la formation professionnelle, au ministère de la Main-d'oeuvre et de la Sécurité du Revenu du Québec; directrice exécutive des Services de l'emploi et sous-ministre déléguée au ministère de l'Emploi et de l'Immigration du Canada; et haut fonctionnaire au Secrétariat d'Etat. Elle est aujourd'hui sous-ministre de l'un des plus grands ministères du gouvernement fédéral, celui de la Santé.

Throughout her career, Michèle Jean has been an active supporter of equal access for women in all aspects of society. From her early writings as a journalist, continuing into her years as a teacher and on into her life as a public administrator, she has continued to champion the rights of women. She has written numerous articles on the subject, been an avid speaker and advocate, conducted workshops aimed at a better understanding of the needs of women, assisted in founding the feminist journal Les têtes de poiche, and played an active role in developing benefits for women in the workplace.

Elle est auteure et co-auteure de nombreuses publications, notamment L'histoire des femmes au Québec depuis quatre siècles, Québécoise du 20e siècle, et Implications of Technological Change for Adult Education.

An untiring leader, she has committed a great deal of time and energy to the support of numerous organizations as a board or committee member, which range from the Université de Montréal and the Collège Bois-de-Boulogne, to the Commission de la construction du Québec and the Québec Scientific Policy Board. She is an active board member of ELDERHOSTEL Canada where she has been supportive of learning programs for older adults across Canada, in Québec and right here at Concordia University. In these voluntary activities one can discover the extraordinary commitment of this individual. Her willingness to become involved is a shining example for us all.

Récipiendaire d'un grand nombre de distinctions, Mme Michèle Jean a été choisie à deux reprises l'une des dix Femmes de l'année au Québec. Elle est reconnue comme une exceptionnelle andragogue et un chef de file dans le domaine de l'administration publique. Elle a été nommée femme de carrière de l'année.

Mr. Chancellor, it is my privilege and personal pleasure to present to you, on behalf of the Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Michèle Jean, so that you may confer on her the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

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