Introducing the co-chairs of UdeM’s new fundraising campaign

Credit: Amélie Philibert, Université de Montréal

In 5 seconds

Four proud graduates of the university are set to take the lead in spurring alumni and donors to give generously in the coming years.

Université de Montréal’s Lheure est brave campaign aims to go where no French-language university fundraising initiative has gone before: raise $1 billion and achieve 200,000 alumni acts of engagement for the first time in its history.

The fruits of the campaign will enable UdeM to enhance the student experience, innovate for the common good, protect the health of all ecosystems and support the development of communities.

This unprecedented initiative will make UdeM the best place to invest and the best incubator of solutions to current and future societal challenges, and its success will depend on the people who lead it.

L'heure est brave's four co-chairs have made a long-term commitment to mentoring, giving and active engagement. They'll be playing a key role in strategizing to achieve the campaign's ambitious objectives.

Leaders in their respective fields, they're giving their time and talent to help build the world of today and tomorrow.

Here's a bit more on each.

Nicolas Duvernois: Universities as “talent incubators”

Nicolas Duvernois

Nicolas Duvernois

Credit: Courtesy

Nicolas Duvernois holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from UdeM and is the founder and CEO of Duvernois Creative Spirits, one of Canada’s leading independent distillers. He created Pur Vodka, the first made-in-Quebec vodka, winner of the Gold medal at the international Vodka Masters competition in London.

As an entrepreneur, author and speaker, Duvernois wanted to get involved in his alma mater’s major campaign to give back to an institution he believes in and encourage the entrepreneurial community to do likewise.

“UdeM is not only a centre of learning, knowledge and expertise, it’s also a major social player in Quebec," he said. "Going to university means becoming a better person, developing an open mind and building lasting relationships. For all these reasons, my university education has played an important role in my business career. And to find answers to the societal issues of the present day, I believe we need to combine the on-the-ground know-how of entrepreneurs with the knowledge of academics.”

Marie-Josée Gagnon: Making a difference

Marie-Josée Gagnon

Marie-Josée Gagnon

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Marie-Josée Gagnon graduated from UdeM with a degree in political science and is the founder and president of CASACOM, a respected public relations firm at the intersection of business and communications.

Known across Canada for her passion and forward-thinking vision, Marie-Josée Gagnon is also deeply involved in promoting the success of women. She founded the Brave podcast series, which features courageous Quebec women with extraordinary life stories.

Her goal is to help individuals and businesses excel and make a positive impact on society. She brings her flair to the campaign team, along with her extensive network and knowledge of fundraising strategies and communications campaigns.

“Participating in UdeM’s campaign is a way to help thousands of young people have fulfilling careers," she said. "I myself am very grateful for what the university has given me. The four years I spent studying political science and participating in extracurricular activities set me on my professional path.”

Louis Gagnon: Expanding the boundaries of the university

Louis Gagnon

Louis Gagnon

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Louis Gagnon, CEO Canada of Intact Financial Corporation, has nearly 30 years of experience in the insurance industry. He graduated from UdeM with a degree in economics and has been involved in his alma mater for years.

A strong advocate of equity and inclusion, Gagnon also believes that education is an important lever for social advancement. He wants to use his influence in the business community to reach people outside the country who feel the same way about education and university research. 

“I hope to project the Francophonie outside Quebec by speaking from the heart and sharing my energy," he said. "I truly believe that UdeM is capable of having a positive influence in our world. I am confident that we will achieve our goals and bring people from different fields together to address the big issues we face.”

Ravy Por: Contributing to solutions

Ravy Por

Ravy Por

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Ravy Por, managing partner for artificial intelligence and data at Deloitte Canada, has more than 17 years of experience in AI and innovation. She helps companies achieve their business goals by optimizing data science and cloud technologies.

Active in the community, Por is the founder of Héros de chez nous, an organization that works to democratize technology education, particularly in AI, among young Canadians, and to promote diversity and inclusion.

She is throwing her energies into UdeM's campaign because she wants to make a contribution to the search for long-term solutions to global issues.

“In my work," she said, "I use theories and discoveries from academic research. By taking part in the campaign, I hope to help on a larger scale and increase the tangible impacts, particularly through the funding of chairs, students and research centres.

Please give!

To meet the great challenges of our time, Université de Montréal is launching its Lheure est brave campaign.

By contributing, you will help the university develop our students’ potential, innovate for the common good, safeguard the health of living beings and improve the daily lives of our communities.

Your donation makes a difference. Let’s join hands for a better tomorrow!

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