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Honorary degree citation - France Chrétien Desmarais

By: Anne-Marie Croteau, October 2015

Mr. Chancellor, it is my honour and privilege to present to you Madame France Chrétien Desmarais, a prominent businessperson, distinguished lawyer, and a longstanding pillar of our community – both locally and nationally.

Community; Clean water in developing countries; Healthcare; Olympic sport in Canada; Education: These are the areas where Madame Chrétien Desmarais is reputed as a leader of tremendous impact, and capable of mobilizing actors, toward a common goal, that is making our society a better one.

Madame Chrétien Desmarais occupe plusieurs fonctions fort importante pour notre société. Elle est Présidente du conseil d’administration de la Société des célébrations du 375e anniversaire de Montréal.

De plus, elle siège au conseil d’administration de la Fondation québécoise pour la protection du patrimoine naturel du Québec.

Elle est vice-présidente de ONEDROP, une organisation internationale à but non lucratif, créée en 2007 par le fondateur du Cirque du Soleil. Leur mission : voir l’eau comme source de changement, une force capable de transformer le monde.

En développant des infrastructures donnant accès à de l’eau potable aux populations dans le besoin, ONEDROP facilite l’autonomie à long terme de ces communautés et de leurs familles.

As one of the most freshwater-rich countries on earth, it might be easy for us, leaving in Canada, to overlook the scarcity of safe drinking water, in many regions of the world.

The mission of ONEDROP is to secure this most basic human need for everyone, everywhere.  

Madame Chrétien Desmarais is also safeguarding the wellbeing of many through the Montreal Heart Institute Foundation, supporting research and treatment within the domain of cardiology.


As a chairperson, she is an instrumental force who has helped the Institute reach unmatched success in areas of technology, strategy and funding.

She is a founding member of the Canadian Olympic Committee Foundation, which was established in 2007. This foundation advances Canada’s Olympic team and supports programs dedicated to aspiring Olympians.

As if she wasn’t busy enough, Madame Chrétien Desmarais demonstrates great esteem for higher education, as she provides exceptional service and guidance to the University community.

The John Molson School of Business is very grateful to have Madame Chrétien Desmarais as the Champion of the Executive MBA cohort who will graduate in 2017.

In her role, she meets periodically with this next generation of leaders, providing them with a first-rate example of responsible leadership and business acumen.

She is also a proponent of innovation at Concordia, as she supports Concordia’s thriving District 3 entrepreneurship incubator. District 3 is helping revitalize Montreal, as it channels into the city’s booming start-up sector.

A law school graduate of the University of Ottawa, Madame Chrétien Desmarais was honoured for her commitment to society with the Order of Canada in 2012.

Mr. President and Vice-Chancellor, on behalf of the Senate and the Board of Governors, it is my honour and privilege to present to you Madame France Chrétien Desmarais, so that you may confer upon her the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

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