Priceless knowledge

A donor, Mrs. Suzanne Gouin-Boudreau, is sitting at a picnic table, smiling, in front of Tabaret Hall.

Through her bequest, Mrs. Suzanne Gouin-Boudreau wishes to inspire future students to take the path of classics studies and develop an historical perspective to better understand the present.

When she returned to school at age 43 to do a bachelor’s at the University of Ottawa in medieval studies, retired major Suzanne Gouin-Boudreau (BA ’01) had a couple of revelations: that studying the past can shed light on the present and that it’s easier to concentrate on your studies when you don’t have to work … or even handle day to day matters!

“My husband took care of everything,” says Gouin-Boudreau, a former lawyer, as the husband in question, retired colonel Joseph André Boudreau, looks on affectionately. “It helped me succeed. At the same time, I saw youth with outstanding talent who didn’t have the money or support they needed. They ended up packing it in, which I found really unfortunate.”

Now both retired after careers in the Canadian Forces and the federal public service, the couple also share a love of the arts, culture and history.

The Gouin-Boudreau Scholarship in Classical Studies, which will be created through a future gift, is meant to help students continue in a field that Gouin-Boudreau considers to be of fundamental importance, especially in a time when ethics are having a tough time of it.

“There’s a lot of intellectual richness, plenty of lessons not to be forgotten in the classics, all that comes from the Middle Ages. History is constantly repeating itself. People have to learn to think for themselves and have a historical perspective, to properly understand the present,” she says.

Determined to help the next generation, Gouin-Boudreau has also generously offered part of her precious collection of facsimiles and rare books to the University of Ottawa’s Archives and Special Collections.

“I want as many people as possible to benefit,” she says. “These days, people give a lot for medicine, technology or law — everything with a price. But history is priceless.”

“I saw youth with outstanding talent who didn’t have the money or support they needed. They ended up packing it in, which I found really unfortunate.”

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