Concordia's Thursday Report

Vol. 28, No. 2

September 25, 2003


Richard J. Renaud Science Complex opens in style

by Barbara Black

Photo of Lowy, Charest, Renaud and Singer

Rector Frederick Lowy, Premier Charest, Mr. Renaud and Dean Martin Singer plant a tree to mark the occasion.
Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj

The sun shone, the wine flowed, and the expressions of gratitude were heartfelt as the Concordia community and special guests celebrated the opening of the Richard J. Renaud Science Complex on Sept. 22.

Premier Jean Charest spoke with warmth and informality about the year he taught political science at Concordia in 1994-95, which he called “an absolutely marvellous experience.”

He said he has been intensely interested in universities as the result of representing the riding in the Eastern Townships that includes the Université de Sherbrooke and Bishop’s, and added that “now it’s our turn” to find the funds to support universities.

Richard Renaud, the donor after whom the building is named, said that he started studying at Loyola College 40 years ago this month. At that time, only five per cent of Canadians had post-secondary education; now, it is four times that figure and rising. With government budgets stretched to the limit for health and education spending, we must stabilize university costs.

On a happier note, he said that he and his wife Carolyn often walked their dog Logan past the Loyola Campus as the new building was going up, and marvelled at how Concordia has leapt ahead in the past decade under the leadership of Frederick Lowy.

He paid tribute to Lillian Vineberg, who chaired a committee on the revitalization of the Loyola Campus, and to Jonathan Wener, head of the board’s real estate committee, who researched the original 1916 design of the buildings and did everything possible to make the new building harmonize with the old. He also praised the work of Vice-Rector Services Michael Di Grappa’s team.

Dean Martin Singer said that the new building gave everyone “a tremendous sense of accomplishment,” and it had already enabled the Faculty of Arts and Science to attract new researchers, grants and students. He paid tribute to the teamwork of the 27 departmental chairs.

Sebastien Fournier, a fourth-year psychology student, gave a glowing tribute to the Science College, of which he is a member. It has moved from one of the Mackay St. annexes to the new building, where promising undergraduate science students will have a rare opportunity to use the latest facilities for original research.

Dr. Lowy summed up everyone’s mood when he said, “it’s a wonderful time to be here.”

The proceedings were emceeded by Charles Tisseyre, longtime host of Radio-Canada’s science program Découverte. The ceremony, which included a native blessing and a ceremonial tree-planting, was preceded by a stand-up lunch for about 150 guests.