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Carabins: Robert Panet-Raymond is the greatest ever donor French-speaking university sports

October 29, 2014

Montreal, October 29, 2014 – Today, Robert Panet-Raymond, a Carabins football player from 1961 to 1963 and Polytechnique Montréal civil engineering graduate, became the largest donor in the history of French-language university sports in North America. After giving the Carabins organization $275,000 in 2011, Panet-Raymond has made a second personal donation of $475,000, bringing his total contribution to a record $750,000.

Robert takes over as the largest donor from Guy Fréchette, a graduate of HEC Montréal, an Ernst & Young retiree and great supporter of the Carabins, who had generously contributed half a million dollars ($500,000) to Université de Montréal’s sports program in October 2013.

“I’m a firm believer in university sports and the skill set they provide student-athletes. They help ensure our society keeps moving forward,” Panet-Raymond said. “Sports promote effort, team spirit, excellence and discipline, all core values worthy of high praise. By combining sports and academics, we’re not just developing role models for today’s youth, we’re also educating a new generation of leaders to build the society of tomorrow.” Panet-Raymond is also a Harvard Business School MBA graduate.

“University sports today may be very different from back when I took part in them, but I can personally attest to the many ways the benefits of sports have helped me throughout my career. I’m at a point in my life now where I want to support the next generation,” Panet-Raymond said, who quickly made his mark in the business world, notably as senior vice-president of commercial banking, Eastern Canada, for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) from 1992 to 2004.

“I encourage all former Carabins athletes and Université de Montréal alumni to give what they can, because every donation counts. Together we can really make a difference.”

A donation earmarked for upgrading the Carabins football team locker room

The $475,000 gift will be used to kick off a major $2 million renovation project at the CEPSUM stadium to be completed by the end of summer 2015. The third floor of the facility, built in 1964, will be completely renovated, including the Carabins football team locker room, which will be renamed in honour of Robert Panet-Raymond, as well as the locker rooms for the men’s and women’s soccer teams. A number of physiotherapy suites and bathrooms will also undergo renovations, and several systems, including electrical, plumbing and ventilation, will be updated. In addition to Carabins athletes, the facilities are used by many others throughout the year, including children attending CEPSUM day camps in the summertime.

“It’s a great honour to have my name associated with my former team’s locker room. I’ve been a big supporter of the Carabins football team since its re-launch in 2002,” said Panet-Raymond. “The locker room is an ideal place for sharing the emotions and values promoted through sports. It’s an exceptional learning environment for anyone involved in a team sport like football.”

“We can’t forget that when the football team was formed back in 2002, we only had nine months to hire coaches, recruit players, build a locker room, open a sports medicine clinic and buy equipment,” said Université de Montréal athletics director Manon Simard. “While the team’s current locker room is functional, it doesn’t fully meet their actual needs. Robert Panet-Raymond’s financial support will help us provide three of our teams with a world-class space to call their own in an environment worthy of our university.”

“Robert is a former Carabins athlete who quickly figured out how he could help, and now he’s answering our call for donations a second time,” Simard said. “His generosity sends a very clear message to our organization and we’re all so grateful to him. People like him are the key to helping us move forward.”

Carabins football team head coach Danny Maciocia also wanted to highlight Panet-Raymond’s commitment to the organization. “Robert made a very generous donation today, but his contribution to our program is more than just financial. He has always been and continues to be there for us when we need him. Having an adequate locker room is a must when you’re looking to build a decent football team. The players – current and future – and I will never be able to thank him enough.”

Promoting the culture of philanthropy in the French-speaking world

Announced at a press conference today, the historic donation was made to Campus Montréal, the joint fundraising campaign by HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal and Université de Montréal. To date, the philanthropic appeal has raised half of the $500 million it hopes to collect in order to further develop the French-speaking university complex, which is the largest in the world.

“The quantity and quality of the projects we’re looking to undertake are what make our fundraising campaign the greatest in the history of French-speaking universities,” said John Parisella, executive director of Campus Montréal. “This donation is a gift of leadership. Thanks to the benefits they derive from combining sports excellence and academics, our Carabins have become a trademark for our campus and our student-athletes are true ambassadors of the sports-studies format. Our institution develops exceptional individuals who take action in communities here and abroad, with the idea that most of them will become the leaders of tomorrow.”

“Robert Panet-Raymond’s gesture will help us ensure our cause moves forward. An alumnus and former student-athlete, Robert is more than just committed to improving our campus. Through his actions, he strengthens and promotes our institution’s philanthropic culture,” Parisella said.

“Ever since he first got involved with the Carabins organization, Robert has always been there to support us and help us develop a world-class program on a number of levels,” said CEPSUM executive director Paul Krivicky, noting that Panet-Raymond has been chairman of the CEPSUM board since 2002. “He’s a man of great passion with determination to spare, someone who’s not afraid of putting his words into action. What he did today makes him a pioneer and he deserves all the credit he gets.”

About Robert Panet-Raymond

Born in Montreal, Robert Panet-Raymond wore the Carabins football uniform from 1961 to 1963 as a defensive back and placekicker. During this time, he completed a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at Polytechnique Montréal before getting a master’s in business administration from the Harvard Business School. Robert then built a successful career in business, holding a variety of positions, including president and chief executive officer of Les Rotisseries St-Hubert from 1985 to 1991, and senior vice-president of commercial banking, Eastern Canada, for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) from 1992 to 2004. When the time came for him to retire in 2004, he returned to Polytechnique Montréal where he has been an associate professor ever since.

As a corporate director, Panet-Raymond sits on the board of a number of organizations, including the Agence métropolitaine de transport (metropolitan transportation agency) and the Colabor Group.

Robert has also actively been sharing his experience and expertise with the university, sitting on the Université de Montréal board of directors and executive committee since 2000 and serving as CEPSUM chairman of the board since 2002.

His involvement in the field of education extends to the international scene, serving as deputy chairman of the House of Canadian Students in Paris and as director of the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris (international university campus in Paris).

A strong advocate of the sports-studies format, student-athletes and physical activity, Panet-Raymond – an avid cyclist and cross-country skier – was named governor emeritus of the sports excellence program in 2011.

Married to Francine Martel since 1967, Robert has two sons, Éric and Carl, and five grandchildren.


Benoit Mongeon
Communications Co-ordinator
Carabins de l’Université de Montréal
514-232-4420 (mobile)

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