HEC Montréal alumni, prominent business executive and now politician Pierre Fitzgibbon (BBA 1978) will be building on his commitment to his alma mater with a $5 million bequest in his will. Of this amount $4.5 million will go toward setting up a substantial scholarship fund known as the Fonds de bourses capitalisé Pierre-Fitzgibbon — promotion de l’expérience internationale pour les étudiant(e)s québécois(es) et rétention du talent international des étudiant(e)s étrangers. The remaining $500,000 will be earmarked for our downtown building.
Mr. Fitzgibbon has been a donor to the School for nearly 35 years and was admitted to the Conseil des Gouverneurs in 2013. This latest and very generous gift means he is now a member of the Cercle du Directeur.
Education is very important to Mr. Fitzgibbon, who is determined to make a tangible contribution to the Quebec of tomorrow by encouraging as many young Quebecers as possible to explore their academic horizons, both here at home and internationally. In so doing, he is accentuating the support he has been providing to HEC Montréal students since 2013 by providing scholarships to those who complete part of their studies abroad.
This latest donation expands on this commitment:
What I’m doing today is consistent with what got me into politics in the first place. The more effort I put into my work, the more I realize that we have to strengthen education in Quebec. It is important that we give this all our attention as a society. The purpose of the Fonds de bourses capitalisé Pierre-Fitzgibbon will be to provide a fuller academic experience to young Quebecers and to encourage those who come to Quebec to study to make this their home.
Mr. Fitzgibbon sees international experience as something that will be beneficial to Quebec economic development going forward. More specifically, he points to changes in global supply chains that will require a broader world view. He also stresses that much still needs to be done to retain internationally recruited talent, especially in comparison to other provinces. But, as he puts it, the added wealth this represents for Quebec is enormous: “This financial support aims to create scholarships that will encourage young immigrants to stay in Quebec, so they don’t just come here, earn their degree and leave.”
Mr. Fitzgibbon also considers it vital to foster innovation in entrepreneurship, noting once again a slight delay in Quebec:
We like to say Quebec is a wellspring of entrepreneurial activity, which is true, but I’m sure that the potential for innovation in entrepreneurship has not yet been fully explored from the perspective of resolving the challenges and issues that the province will be faced with in the future.
He hopes that his gift will enable a number of students, specifically those in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines, which are particularly important to him for achieving this objective, to pursue their business administration studies and leverage this to create new, more technologically advanced and innovative companies.
Michel Patry, President and CEO of the HEC Montréal Foundation, expressed his gratitude for this generous gift:
Contributions like Mr. Fitzgibbon’s are crucial to the next generation of students. He has been a tireless supporter of HEC Montréal for many years. Attracting the best and brightest students and giving those with limited financial means the chance to continue their education will have a positive impact on all of Quebec.
Mr. Fitzgibbon has occupied leadership positions with such corporations as Domtar, Telesystem, National Bank and Atrium Innovations. He is currently the MNA for Terrebonne, the Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, the Minister Responsible for Regional Economic Development and the Minister Responsible for the Metropolis and the Montréal Region.
Recent board appointments have included Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Transcontinental Group and WSP.