Guy Fréchette Makes Historic Donation to Carabins Varsity Sports Program

October 23, 2013

Guy Fréchette, a graduate of HEC Montréal, corporate director, Ernst & Young retiree, and great supporter of Université de Montréal Carabins has contributed half a million dollars ($500,000) to the Carabins Varsity Sports Program. As part of the Campus Montréal fundraising campaign, the donation is the largest ever made to a varsity sports program at a French-language university in Quebec.

This historic announcement was made Wednesday at a press conference and will support the efforts of 450 athletes from 19 Carabins teams who are studying at Campus Montréal’s three institutions: HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal and Université de Montréal.

A proud graduate…

A keen football player, Guy Fréchette left his hometown of Joliette in 1966 to pursue a degree in commerce and join the Carabins football team. His dream to play university football was crushed when, upon his arrival at HEC Montréal, he learned that the varsity sports program was being cut in favour of grassroots sports.

“In a way, giving young student-athletes the opportunity to enjoy an experience that I missed out on is part of the reason that I am giving back to my alma mater,” said Guy Fréchette, also pointing out how the education he had received played an important role in his life and career.

“Other than obtaining a high quality education, what they will learn through sports will enable them to thrive and contribute to the advancement of our society. The Carabins are role models for our youth, and this allows them to develop their full potential, which is something that is important to me.”

In addition to his distinguished 38-year career at Ernst & Young, Guy Fréchette has always been very active in the community. He was president of Montreal’s Board of Trade from 2000 to 2001; sits on the Board of Directors of HEC Montréal; chairs the HEC Montréal Foundation; and has been a board member of CEPSUM for several years.

“The pride of our great Carabins campus is not the only thing as it takes institutions to create it,” said Guy Fréchette. “Today’s announcement is just the beginning and I hope that this gesture I inspires others.”

… and a man of heart

“Guy Fréchette is a big-hearted man, a dedicated man who believed in us and decided to become involved to help us further develop the Carabins,” said Paul Krivicky, CEO of CEPSUM, the primary source of Carabins funding. “His passion and intensity makes him a builder.”

“This gift today is exceptional and is certainly a first. We are very proud that people from the business community continue to support the Carabins with such vision. We believe in the benefits of varsity sports and we hope that others follow the path opened up by Mr. Fréchette today.”

Promoting the culture of philanthropy in the French-speaking world

In April 2010, the Carabins’ specialized training room was named after Robert Panet-Raymond, a corporate director and former member of the Carabins football team. Chairman of the CEPSUM board at the time, this generous donor was the first to make a substantial contribution to the varsity sports program of a French-language in Quebec. The amount of his gift: $276,000.

“It is the quantity and quality of our projects that make our fundraising campaign the biggest in Francophone history,” said John Parisella, Executive Director of Campus Montréal. “Today we celebrate a gift of leadership. Sporting excellence has become a trademark for our campus. Academic and athletic success can go hand in hand. We develop exemplary community leaders and professionals who take action here and abroad.”

“Guy Fréchette’s donation helps expand the philanthropic culture of the Francophone world. This is a promising trend for the future.”

Consolidating athlete services

The Carabins Varsity Sport Program has been one of the fastest growing programs in the country since its revival in 1995. It is currently the largest sports program, in terms of student-athletes and teams, of any francophone university in Quebec and second overall. Guy Fréchette’s support will help consolidate and improve the services offered to student-athletes in their academic and athletic pursuits.

“Mr. Fréchette’s choice means a lot to our organization. Far from being only a gift, his donation reflects his commitment and is a great vote of confidence,” said Manon Simard, Director of Universite of Montréal’s sports programs. “He not only endorses our organization, but also the project and the vision behind it.”

“Many people help us in different ways and we need all the support they can give. Guy Fréchette goes even further and we sincerely thank him. This is a strong helping hand that will have a direct impact on our student-athletes.’’

As a token of appreciation, the Carabins lounge, a gathering place for the athletes and CEPSUM’S partners during football matches, will henceforth be called Salon des Carabins Guy-Fréchette.

About Guy Fréchette

It was Guy Fréchette’s love of football that led him leave his hometown of Joliette in 1966 to attend Université de Montréal. When the Carabins team was disbanded, he stayed on and studied management at HEC Montréal. He graduated in 1970 with a Bachelor of Commerce and became a Chartered Accountant in 1972, ranking among the best in Canada.

He then began a remarkable 38-year career at Ernst & Young, where he served as audit partner for several major Quebec companies before heading the department. He later became Managing Partner of the Quebec office, followed by his appointment as Vice Chair and member of the Executive Committee of the firm for the last ten years of his career.

Guy Fréchette has been active in the community for many years, notably with the Montreal Board of Trade, where he was president in 2000-2001, and with HEC Montreal, where he was awarded an honorary degree in 1998. As a member of HEC Montréal’s Board of Directors, he helped establish the Board of Governors in 2008, which includes several business people having made considerable donations to the school. In 2012, he became chairman of the Board of Directors of the HEC Montréal Foundation.

In 2002, at the request of Robert Lacroix, former rector of Université de Montréal, he became Governor of the Carabins to help revive the football team. A proud and generous donor since then, he reaffirms his support to the varsity sports program with a $500,000 gift to the Campus Montréal fundraising campaign to benefit HEC Montréal, Polytechnique Montréal and Université de Montréal.


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For information, please contact:
Benoit Mongeon
Communications Coordinator
Carabins de l’Université de Montréal

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