Launch of the Campus Montréal fundraising campaign

November 29, 2012

Quebec’s largest university complex – HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal and Université de Montréal – launched a major fundraising campaign today, under the name “Campus Montréal.” This campaign, the French-speaking world’s largest ever to be conducted in the university sector, has a goal of raising half a billion dollars to support Campus Montréal in its teaching and research mission.

Campus Montréal has already raised $199.5 million, close to 40% of its target, in the silent phase of the campaign. The money will be invested in four major sectors: a bursary fund for students (30%), research projects (35%), infrastructure (25%) and the student environment (10%). The planned projects will be concentrated in sectors that are already key strengths at Campus Montréal: healthcare and personalized medicine, advanced science and technology, energy and sustainable development, creativity and entrepreneurship, and internationalization and pluralism.

Five influential figures have agreed to serve as honorary chairpersons of the fundraising campaign: the Hon. Louise Arbour, President and CEO, International Crisis Group; Hélène Desmarais, Chair of the Board and CEO, Centre d’entreprises et d’innovation de Montréal; Geoff Molson, President and CEO, Club de hockey Canadien, Bell Centre and evenko; Michael Sabia, President and CEO, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec; and Thierry Vandal, President and CEO, Hydro-Québec. Campus Montréal will also enjoy the support of an impressive team that includes volunteers from families who have made major contributions to Quebec as we know it today and highly experienced professionals.


Putting higher education at the heart of society’s priorities

During a luncheon at the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, university administrators Michel Patry, Director of HEC Montréal, Christophe Guy, CEO of Polytechnique Montréal and Université de Montréal Rector Guy Breton explained their vision for Campus Montréal.

Guy Breton emphasized the importance of investing in higher education. “Montreal is the university capital of Canada. It brings together the largest number of students and researchers in the country. This city has everything it takes to be a leader, but it must sustain its momentum, and so we’re inviting the greater community as a whole to support higher education and its development as an essential social project.”

The launch of the Campus Montréal campaign also coincides with the opening of the preliminary workshops for the Summit on Higher Education. These initial workshops concern the quality of higher education. “What makes a great university is the quality of its teachers and their research projects, its libraries, laboratories and study facilities,” said Christophe Guy, CEO, Polytechnique Montréal. “Quality comes at a price, but it’s still the best possible investment we can make.”

The money raised through the fundraising campaign will support the excellence of Campus Montréal, said HEC Montréal director Michel Patry. “Philanthropy in academia is not for meeting basic needs. It’s not about covering a grocery list. It’s about  adding value to the work of researchers and students.”


Bringing the community together

Mr. Patry thanked Ms. Arbour and Ms. Desmarais as well as Mr. Molson, Mr. Sabia and Mr. Vandal for their support and leadership. “Campus Montréal is about more than philanthropy,” said Mr. Patry. “It’s first and foremost a deeply-rooted university community. The commitment of our five co-chairs to this campaign speaks for itself in terms of the relevance of the project, the importance of investing in higher education."

Mr. Guy also pointed out the strength of the three institutions. “Our university complex forms the richest, most diversified community of talent in Quebec. This is an asset that’s corresponds to the complexity of today’s world. In order to meet the global challenges that confront us, we have no other choice but to work as a team and share our knowledge.”

“Talent is the world’s most sought after resource , Mr. Breton added. This is the raw material of everything that surrounds us. Everything that affects us. In the 21st century, the talent will be the wealth of nations. And universities are talent incubators.”

Taken together, the institutions that form Campus Montréal boast one in four of Quebec’s university students, a position as the Quebec’s leading centre for research and ongoing agreements with over 600 international institutions.


Developping a culture of philanthropy

Philanthropy in the university community serves to support specific projects and contribute to excellence.  “It’s a culture we have to develop. In order to remain among the world’s finest, philanthropic support is essential. Philanthropy provides added value to the efforts of our researchers and students. Philanthropy is the sparkplug that fires us up to exceed all expectations,” said Campus Montréal Executive Director John Parisella.

The last major fundraising campaign held jointly by HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal and Université de Montréal took place a decade ago and raised $218 million. Those funds in turn made it possible to seek additional funding, particularly in terms of research grants. This leveraging effect increased the total amount that was raised to $446 million.

For further information about the Campus Montréal campaign, including the full text of the talk given today by Dr. Breton, Dr. Patry and Dr. Guy, please visit

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