Power Corporation gift nurtures global citizens

Posted on Monday, September 10, 2018

A diverse group of uOttawa students linking arms outside Tabaret Hall.

Students at uOttawa will soon have new opportunities to gain the international experience needed to succeed in today’s global economy, thanks to a generous gift from Power Corporation of Canada.

A donation of $1.5 million from the Montreal company will fund Power Corporation of Canada uOGlobal Scholarships, to be offered for the first time in fall 2020. The company’s gift is a key contribution to the University’s uOGlobal recognition program, which was formally launched on September 10.

The new program will encourage more students to get involved in cross-cultural activities, so they can see the value of studying, working or doing research in another country. And when they are ready to go abroad, the new scholarships will give them the means to get there.

Leaders of tomorrow

“Power Corporation of Canada is delighted to help University of Ottawa students benefit from formative global experiences that will enrich their lives and give them an advantage in today’s job market,” said the company’s senior vice-president, Paul Genest, at the launch event. “This is an investment in the young leaders of tomorrow, and in Canada’s future.”

The new scholarships, based on need and academic standing, will provide between $2,000 and $10,000 a term for students to add an international component to their university experience, such as a CO-OP placement or research abroad. At least 200 students over four years stand to benefit from this support — and to gain the vital global skills that will set them apart in the eyes of future employers.

The company’s donation will also fund an annual Power Corporation of Canada uOGlobal Innovation Competition. Teams of students from all faculties will compete for prize money to develop a project, preferably involving green energy or financial technology, that involves working with a partner from another country or travelling abroad.

Six students stand in front of a banner with Jacques Frémont and Paul Genest.

University of Ottawa President Jacques Frémont (left) and Power Corporation of Canada Senior Vice-President Paul Genest (centre) with some of the students interested in the uOGlobal recognition program. From left: Nadia Jam, Samantha Featherstone, Gabriela Dagenais, Samuel Pilon, Jacintha Gedeon and Mairead Matthews.

Prestigious scholarships

Developing leaders through internationalization is a key pillar of uOttawa’s strategic plan. Since 2010, the University has met its target of doubling the number of students who go abroad for study or research to 1,000 a year. However, further progress is hampered by financial constraints that prevent many students from gaining the international experience they will need to thrive in an increasingly complex and competitive world.

“We have enjoyed much success in offering our students meaningful international experiences where they can learn, work and volunteer,” said uOttawa President Jacques Frémont. “uOGlobal will take this a step further. The Power Corporation uOGlobal Scholarships will play a pivotal role in our graduates’ success. These prestigious scholarships will not only provide incentives for students to engage in uOGlobal opportunities, they will also ensure that students who face financial barriers can gain international experience.”

Generous support

Frémont also spoke about the Desmarais family’s deep ties to uOttawa and decades of generous support. Many family members are uOttawa alumni, including the Honourable Paul Desmarais. The late Power Corporation CEO, who led the company from 1968 to 1996, studied commerce at uOttawa, and his wife, Jacqueline Maranger, graduated from the nursing science program. Their daughter, Sophie, graduated from the Faculty of Arts and two of their grandchildren, Olivier and Philippe, are also uOttawa graduates.Their sons, André and Paul Jr., are co-CEOs of Power Corporation.

The Power Corporation uOGlobal Scholarships were unveiled today at the university’s Desmarais Building, home of the Telfer School of Management. In 2007, at the opening of the building, Paul Desmarais Sr. commented that “our family’s commitment reflects our happy association with the University of Ottawa for more than four generations.”

In 2015, the University of Ottawa launched a $400 million fundraising campaign. Defy the Conventional: The Campaign for uOttawa is raising funds to support priorities in every faculty. The campaign will help uOttawa recruit and retain top talent and enrich the student experience.  Donations will also support innovative capital projects.

Two men and a woman chat with a student.

From left: Jacques Frémont, Paul Genest and Anne McIlroy, uOttawa’s Director of Principal Gifts, chat with student Samuel Pilon at the September 10 event launching the uOGlobal recognition program. Photos: Bonnie Findley

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