Université de Montréal celebrates a historic donation

A graduate in political science back in 1964, Guy Joron remembered his alma mater in his will. He died last December.

A graduate in political science back in 1964, Guy Joron remembered his alma mater in his will. He died last December.

Credit: Courtesy of the Guy Joron family.

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The late Quebec politician and philanthropist Guy Joron set aside $15 million in his will for his alma mater and its affiliated schools.

Dignitaries including former Quebec premier Pauline Marois gathered at the Laval campus of Université de Montréal today to celebrate an extraordinary $15 million donation from one of UdeM's alumni, the late Parti Québécois cabinet minister and philanthropist Guy Joron. The gift ranks among the largest in the university's history. Of the total, $12 million will go to UdeM itself and $1.5 million to each of the university's two affiliated schools, Polytechnique Montréal and HEC Montréal.

 

"Throughout his life, Guy remained convinced that the more a society is educated, the richer it will be socially, financially and culturally," said Joron's partner, Hugo Valencia. "He always valued education very highly and with this donation he hoped to highlight the important role that Université de Montréal plays in the Francophonie. With this gift, he wanted to show his love for the Quebec people and make a political but non-partisan gesture in favour of higher education taught in the French language he was so proud of. He especially hoped to set an example for other donors to follow."

 

A graduate in political science from UdeM, Joron was twice named to provincial cabinet in the 1970s under PQ governments led by René Lévesque. As energy minister, he developed Quebec's first energy policy. After retiring in 1981, he served on the boards of Hydro-Québec and Place des Arts. He died Dec. 28.

 

"By playing a fundamental role in putting energy at the heart of our economic and social development, Guy Joron made a significant impact on the ambitions and accomplishments of thousands of engineers across all aspects of the profession," said his close friend Gilles Savard, a Polytechnique professor who heads UdeM's Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO). "He left his mark on our collective identity with his avant-garde approach to sustainable development and knowledge. His donation now to the Polytechnique shows how important he felt it is to support future generations of engineers in Quebec."

 

"HEC Montréal would like to thank Mr. Joron for caring about young people who have the same kind of passion for business that he had, all his life," said Michel Patry, the business school's director. "Open to their communities and possessed of an irrepressible desire to change the world, these students are very much in the mould of the great philanthropist that Guy Joron became and will always remain."

 

To recognize his exceptional generosity, Université de Montréal announced that its Laval campus building will henceforth be called Guy Joron Pavilion. The change enshrines Joron's name in the history not only of the university but of Laval, where he served as an MNA (for the electoral district of Mille-Îles) from 1976 to 1980.

 

"The Guy Joron that I knew was a firm believer in knowledge and training as a way to freedom," said Claude Charron, another close friend and cabinet colleague, who was a PQ MNA and cabinet minister from 1970 to 1982.

 

"In giving $15 million to Université de Montréal, HEC Montréal and  Polytechnique Montréal, Guy Joron has pointed the way to the future in a way that shows great love for Quebec and for Quebecers," added UdeM rector Guy Breton.

 

"Mr. Joron chose not to restrict his donation to a single area of research or any particular discipline. It will go towards the university as a whole, and will last a long time, as development capital for the next generation and for those working to advance knowledge. Everyone stands to benefit."

About Guy Joron

Born in 1940, Guy Joron graduated with a B.A. in political science from Université de Montréal in 1964. In 1965 he founded a financial consulting firm, and in 1967 and 1968 also found time to be secretary of UdeM's alumni association. In 1970 Joron entered provincial politics as one of the first seven MNAs of René Lévesque's fledgling Parti Québécois, representing the Montreal electoral district of Gouin until his defeat in 1973. Re-elected in 1976 as part of Lévesque's first government, this time as MNA for the Laval district of Mille-Îles, Joron was promoted to cabinet as energy minister, and in 1978 brought in Quebec's first energy policy, considered visionary at the time for placing a moratorium on development of nuclear energy. In 1979, he moved to a new cabinet post as minister of consumers, cooperatives and financial institutions. In 1981 he retired from political life, serving on the board of Hydro-Québec until 1987 and chairing the board of Place des Arts from 1982 to 1988. Guy Joron died in Montreal on Dec. 28, 2017.

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