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Gala du commerce Encourages Students to Stay in School

HEC Montréal once again honours “daring” figures chosen by Commerce magazine

September 18, 2009

HEC Montréal will once again be turning the spotlight on the 2009 crop of daring figures chosen by Commerce magazine. In conjunction with the 56th edition of the Gala du commerce, to be held on Wednesday, September 23, HEC Montréal, the Réseau HEC Montréal and Commerce magazine will be honouring nine “big wheels” in the business world, recognized for their daring and leadership.

Some 600 members of the business community will be attending this benefit event, co-chaired by two well-known figures: Jacynthe Côté, CEO of Rio Tinto Alcan, and L. Jacques Ménard, Chair of the Board of BMO Nesbitt Burns and President of the BMO Financial Group, Quebec.

For many years now, the Gala du commerce has raised funds to be used for scholarships or financial backing for HEC Montréal student initiatives. This year the funds raised will go toward keeping Quebec students in school and helping them succeed, a cause dear to the heart of Co-Chair L.J.Ménard. The proceeds from the evening will be used for scholarships for young entrepreneurs who want to pursue their studies and hone their knowledge in specific sectors, as a way of developing their businesses and meeting new challenges.

“I was very pleased to agree to co-chair this year’s Gala du commerce, since HEC Montréal will be using the funds raised for initiatives to keep students in school,” explains Mr. Ménard. “Like BMO, HEC Montréal continues to show its leadership. I invite the business community and the private sector to step up to the plate, so that we can reach a graduation rate of 80% by 2020. This is one of the most important challenges facing us in Quebec today.”

Along with the scholarships there will be a mentorship program spread out over five years. Lastly, some of the funds raised will go to supporting an action program organized by HEC Montréal students, to prevent students at risk from dropping out of secondary school.

“I am particularly happy to co-chair the 2009 HEC Montréal Gala du commerce, for this year’s cause of keeping students in school and helping them to succeed is especially important to me,” said Jacynthe Côté, CEO of Rio Tinto Alcan. “Thanks to the strong support by the Greater Montréal business community, I sincerely believe that we can take concrete steps to improve our international competitiveness, while creating a better future for the young people who will build tomorrow’s Quebec.”


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