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Honorary degree citation - J. Sebastian van Berkom

By: Reena Atanasiadis, June 2017

Mr. Chancellor, it is my honour to present to you Mr. J. Sebastian van Berkom, investment guru and exemplary Concordian.

The child of Dutch immigrants, Mr. van Berkom came from humble beginnings.

Sa famille a émigré au Canada dans les années 1950, et il a obtenu un diplôme en commerce de la Sir George Williams University en 1969.

M. van Berkom a débuté sa carrière en gestion de placements à la caisse de retraite de Bell Canada en 1971.

Aujourd’hui, ses entreprises – Van Berkom et associés inc. et Van Berkom Golden Dragon limitée – gèrent un portefeuille de titre internationaux à petite capitalisation d’une valeur de 4 milliards de dollars.

He is also a founding director of the Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations in Canada (IGOPP).

Throughout his career, Mr. van Berkom has made outstanding contributions to Montreal, Quebec, and Canada.

In 2015, he donated $1 million to the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital to support research on treatments and cures for Parkinson's and other neurological diseases. That same year, he gave $1 million toward the creation of the Nicolas Steinmetz-Gilles Julien Chair in Social Pediatrics in the Community at the Montreal Children's Hospital.

Mr. van Berkom is also a champion of the arts, donating $500,000 to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 2014 to permanently acquire The Sun, a blown-glass sculpture by internationally-renowned artist Dale Chihuly.

At Concordia, his donations have funded the Van Berkom Chair in Small-Cap Equities, the Van Berkom and Associates Inc. Bursary, and the John Molson School of Business Small-Cap Case Competition.

In late 2014, he donated $1 million to JMSB to help establish the Van Berkom Small Cap Investment Management Program, of which I am the founding academic director.

The program provides training in small-cap stock portfolio management for a select group of eight graduate students, giving them the life-changing opportunity to manage a real portfolio.

In tribute to one of Mr. van Berkom’s own great mentors and to help the next generation of investors achieve similar heights, students who complete the program are named Stephen A. Jarislowsky Fellows.

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

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