DUniv. 2012

Honorary Doctorate Recipient


A true pioneer, Michèle Thibodeau-DeGuire has paved the way for her contemporaries in engineering, diplomacy, communications and philanthropy. She was the first woman to graduate in civil engineering from Montreal's École Polytechnique, then, the first woman consulting engineer in Quebec, and, finally, the first woman to serve as a Quebec delegate-general abroad. Since 1991, Michèle Thibodeau-DeGuire has served as president and executive director of Centraide of Greater Montreal, using her ability to bring people together and her boundless energy to make that organization a leader in the field of philanthropy. Each year, Centraide of Greater Montreal raises approximately $50 million from businesses, employees and the general public, which supports 370 organizations and community projects, particularly in the area of poverty reduction.

A lifelong Montrealer, this woman of action worked for 20 years as a structural, and later, consulting engineer for firms in that city. At the outset of the 1980s, the Quebec government offered her the prestigious position of Quebec delegate-general to New England. She benefited greatly from the experience, which was a chance to form many close relationships and to see the influence of great American universities on their communities' development. When she returned to Montreal, she took on the positions of assistant to the chair, and later, director of public relations, at the École Polytechnique.

Throughout her brilliant career, Michèle Thibodeau-DeGuire's pragmatic and highly sympathetic approach, her patience and her perseverance in the face of difficulty have earned her the deep respect of those in both community and business circles. She has been named a Great Montrealer, a Knight of the Ordre national du Québec, a member of the Order of Canada and a Fellow of Engineers Canada, and has received honorary doctorates from every Montreal university. Michèle Thibodeau-DeGuire's personality and impressive career path are a powerful source of inspiration for our students. 

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