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October 11, 2001 Legacy helps foreign students



Col. Pierre Sévigny

Colonel Pierre Sévigny

Photo by Christian Fleury

by Sigalit Hoffman

The John Molson School of Business (JMSB) paid tribute to Col. Pierre Sévigny, P.C. O.C., V.M., by naming its international undergraduate scholarships in his honour.

The 84-year-old war hero and former cabinet minister was touched. “It’s something that happens once in a lifetime,” he said.

Sévigny has been teaching at Concordia since 1967. He helped found the School’s annual Awards of Distinction, and has been an active fundraiser for the university. Though he retired in 1995, he returned to Concordia two years later as visiting assistant professor in the Department of Management. He went on to teach business administration courses for the Finance Department.

Distinguished career

His academic career is just part of a distinguished lifetime of service to his country. In 1945, toward the end of the war in Europe, he lost a leg in the battle of Hochwald Forest, and received many military decorations, including the Virturili Militari from Poland and the Croix de Guerre from France and Belgium.

He went on to become a successful businessman, both as an importer-exporter and as a local real estate developer. A member of parliament from 1958 to 1963, he served as Associate Minister of National Defense in the government of John Diefenbaker, and played a role in persuading the Canadian government to bid on what became the hugely successful world’s fair, Expo 67.

The JMSB’s decision to name the scholarship after Sévigny was ideal, said Interim Dean Jerry Tomberlin. “This was a good way to honour him. He has done a lot of work in international finance, and has helped us out in the business school for 34 years.”

Thanks to the Pierre Sévigny Undergraduate International Scholarships, the top 10 international business students will have half of their fees waived. The tuition waiver is renewable throughout their course of study, as long as they maintain a GPA of 3.75 or higher and remain full-time students.

International students make up nine per cent of business students at Concordia, and they pay about $12,000 a year in tuition. “I guess I can look at this as a gift from God to help my parents and me,” said Bahar Ghiyaspur, a 20-year-old recipient. A native of Iran, Ghiyaspur said it was difficult to finance her overseas education.

Mohammad Arshad, 18, agreed. A native of Bangladesh, he is hoping to complete a master’s degree and eventually return to his family’s clothing manufacturing company. Both students agreed that the scholarship encouraged them to work harder. “I was going to work hard anyway, but it’s a motivation to keep me going,” Giyaspur said.

Sévigny is glad the scholarships will be going to international students. He has always been pained to see international students struggling to get by, and is relieved that deserving students will have an opportunity to focus on their studies rather than worry about their finances.

Most important to him is the sense that the scholarship is a show of friendship, and a way to encourage students from around the world to come to Concordia.