Hello, Aanii, Bonjour,
It is with immense sadness that I learned of the passing of Madame Aline Chrétien, Laurentian’s inaugural chancellor and one of our University’s greatest champions.
Flags on campus will be lowered at half-mast Tuesday, September 15 to honour and commemorate Madame Chrétien’s life and legacy.
Madame Chrétien was known as the force of nature, “the rock of Gibraltar,” who inspired and skillfully advised her husband and former Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien, over the course of his long and storied political career. “It will be Jean’s turn to assist me in my duties,” she had quipped about her new role at Laurentian University.
In her role as Laurentian’s first chancellor, Madame Chrétien presided over convocation ceremonies, conferred degrees, provided advice to the University president and helped promote the institution. She was deeply passionate about education, which had been denied to her as the oldest daughter of a large family, and emphasized that Laurentian’s bilingual and Indigenous education programs were “close to her heart.”
Madame Chretien was self-taught and pursued her passion for languages, and spoke French, English, Italian, and Spanish. “Education was always my goal,” she said to The Northern Life in 2010.
In her 2010 address to fall convocation on the morning of Oct. 30, Madame Chrétien spoke words that still resonate: “Every generation in history has risen to meet the challenges of its time. I now ask you to rise and meet your challenges - I believe you will.”
Let us continue to carry forward Madame Chrétien’s legacy as a great advocate of Laurentian, of higher education, and of the aspirations of our youth.
Thank you, Merci, Miigwech
Robert Haché, Ph.D.
President and Vice-Chancellor