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Honorary degree citation - Richard Renaud

By: Dominic Peltier-Rivest, June 2009

Mr. Chancellor, it is my honour to present to you Mr. Richard Renaud: business leader, philanthropist, visionary and a strong friend and supporter of Concordia University.

Richard Renaud can best be described as a self-made man. He is a talented businessman who has used his skills and his intelligence to build a string of successful companies and investments. The business community readily acknowledges his innovation, his courage and his vision. However, what also distinguishes Mr. Renaud is his profound attachment to values that he has held both in his private life and in his professional endeavours. They are values that he shares with his partner in life, Carolyn. What you see is what you get, whether you do business with him or you seek advice or assistance.

Richard Renaud est connu pour son respect des autres et admiré pour sa grande générosité d’esprit. Il se fait un point d’honneur d’être fidèle à ses croyances et à ses pratiques. Il n’est donc pas surprenant qu’il choisisse de s’associer avec des personnes et des organismes qui traitent dignement leur personnel.

We all know the public face of Richard Renaud; his philanthropy and his dedication to education and underprivileged children are well documented. In 1984, he founded the Roasters Foundation whose mission is to promote entrepreneurial philanthropy and promote innovative education and health care programs. He has given generously of his time to many organizations, such as Centraide, the Canadian Olympic Foundation and the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews. Since 2002, he has served as chair of the board of directors at St. Mary’s Hospital.

Toutefois, nombre des contributions de M. Renaud passent inaperçues. Ce mécène ne cherche pas la reconnaissance publique, mais vise plutôt la poursuite du progrès. Diplômé du Loyola High School et du Loyola College, il a toujours attribué son succès professionnel à l’excellente formation qu’il y a reçue.

He embraced the motto of Loyola High School - “a man for others” – making it his credo and leading him to seek out opportunities to give to others.

His involvement with Concordia University has everything to do with students, the quality of their education and their student life. As a member of Concordia’s Board of Governors since 1989 and a guide in our friend- and fundraising endeavours, Mr. Renaud’s focus has always been student-centered. His dedication to providing support to Concordia students in need is legendary. Established in 1998, the Carolyn and Richard Renaud Endowment funds bursaries, scholarships and teaching assistantships. In the 2008-2009 academic year alone, his endowment supported more than 135 students. In fact, in the past decade, he has supported thousands of students, making him the university’s single largest supporter of student aid.

Mr. Renaud is also a generous organizer, donor and contributor to the Hitting the High Notes Gala that funds fellowships in the Fine Arts, and the Best of the Best Extravaganza, which supports John Molson School of Business Fellowships.

Rick founded the Concordia Foundation and attracted the country’s brightest financial minds to the Foundation to help grow it and make the right policy decisions. As a result, it grew to $100 million in a relatively short time.

Richard Renaud is also a pioneer and founder of eConcordia, which provides online courses and training to thousands of students both nearby and abroad. He firmly believes that traditional forms of education need to be expanded and be available beyond the physical borders of our universities. For him, education is a universal value and the best guarantee for the progress of humankind and the fight against poverty and disease. He is a believer in youth and the next generation.

The magnificent Richard J. Renaud Science Complex on the Loyola Campus stands proudly as a symbol of Rick’s dedication to progressive education and research as tools for a better world.

L’homme est réaliste et expérimenté, mais défend encore les idéaux qu’il prônait lorsqu’il étudiait au baccalauréat, c’est-à-dire la tolérance, la justice et l’égalité, qui inspirent d’ailleurs toujours ses activités philanthropiques.

In recent years, he has been recognized for his dedication to the community. The Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award from the Dalai Lama and a National Philanthropy Day award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals are recent examples of this. In December 2005, Pope John Paul II approved and Pope Benedict signed the Cross Pro-Ecclesia at Pontifice for distinguished service to the Church of Montreal presented to Richard Renaud.

Success in business, engagement in the community, commitment to education – all these make Rick a strong role model for Concordia students. He is someone who derives a greater joy in giving than in taking. Our future is brighter because of his dedication.

Mr. Chancellor, on behalf of Senate and the Board of Governors, it my privilege and honour to present to you Richard Renaud so that you may confer upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

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