March 24, 2021
The future HEC Montréal building in the downtown business district will be named the Hélène Desmarais Building, in recognition of this Quebec businesswoman’s unflagging commitment to her alma mater and a donation of $7 million by the Paul and Hélène Desmarais family. This gift, the most generous in the School’s history from an individual or family, will go toward the construction of the building, to be completed in the fall of 2022.
This announcement is an important step for HEC Montréal: the first time in its history that it has given a name to one of its buildings.
“For over 30 years, Hélène Desmarais has made an exceptional contribution to the School’s renown and to developing future generations of managers. Associating her name with this new building is a way of underscoring the important and constantly growing role of women in entrepreneurship and in the business world,” says HEC Montréal Director Federico Pasin.
“The new downtown building will let HEC Montréal continue to play its role as a global hub of scientific advances. I share the School’s ambition to build on its internationally recognized fields of expertise and to act as a driving force in supporting businesses as they take on the challenges of technological transformation. This close and agile collaboration with industry will be founded on practical expertise in the economic world and in-depth knowledge of the technologies shaping our future,” says Hélène Desmarais.
The Hélène Desmarais Building will house programs for practising professionals, such as the MBA and EMBA and executive education by the École des dirigeants. The School wants to be more accessible to executives and professionals working in the downtown business district, helping to transfer knowledge to organizations and improve the skills of the business people who power the Quebec economy.
“The HEC Montréal Foundation is pleased and privileged that Paul and Hélène Desmarais are supporting the cause of HEC Montréal. Their aim has always been to encourage the School to join the ranks of the top institutions in the world, by training tomorrow’s leaders,” says Michel Patry, President and CEO of the HEC Montréal Foundation.
With this gift, the HEC Montréal Foundation has already reached 60% of its objective, i.e. $24 million of the $40 million target, to support the construction of the downtown building. Different initiatives will be launched over the next few months, as it continues its “Powering the Heart of Business” campaign by appealing to the HEC Community and the general public.
The new building in the downtown business district, set next to St. Patrick's Basilica, is now under construction. In addition to educational programs, the Hélène Desmarais Building will house branches of several research and knowledge transfer centres and the School’s entrepreneurship and innovation facility, along with a conference centre and other community services.