We've done McGill, we've covered Concordia, and even Bishop's, so now it's about time l'Université de Montréal got the celebration-of-celebrities treatment. We know you've been waiting for it. Okay, maybe not, but here we are anyways.
Before you even begin griping, I'll be the first to admit that the term "celebrity" was used pretty liberally in this article's title. The qualifications for celebrity-hood as deemed by society probably aren't met by the following UdeM alumni, which is a crying shame, because they have all accomplished way more than certain celebrities (*cough* every single Kardashian *cough*).
So while the following alumni may not be recognizable at first sight like some celebrities, that doesn't mean you shouldn't be incredibly proud to know that they graduated from l'Université de Montréal. Check out who made the list below.
Pierre Elliot Trudeau
A legend in Quebec and Canadian politics, the former Prime Minister of Canada (and father of the current PM) Pierre Trudeau began his academic career at UdeM, earning a law degree in 1943. After WW2, Trudeau would continue his studies at several notable academic institutions (Harvard, Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris, London's School of Economics), then entering the realm of politics. Trudeau's list of accomplishments runs quite long, and you can read more about him here.
Not only did Justin Trudeau's father attend l'Université de Montréal, so did his wife, Sophie Grégoire. Originally, however, Grégoire began her post-secondary career at McGill, choosing to study commerce. Only later did Grégoire switch over to UdeM for a communications program. The decision definitely worked out as the woman currently heralded as "the Prime Minister's wife" had already made quite a name for herself as a successful journalist and broadcaster.
Pierre Karl Péladeau
Commonly referred to as "PKP," Pierre Karl Péladeau/the once king of media in Québec attended both UQAM and UdeM, attaining a philosophy degree from the former and a law degree from the latter. Shortly after PKP completed his studies, he went on to become involved with the family business, the Quebec media mega-corporation Quebecor. Now PKP is the leader of the Parti Québécois, as you probably already know given all the drama that ensured after he entered the political game.
Studying cinema at l'Université de Montréal, Dédé Fortin's future success wouldn't lie in the realm of film, but rather music. You may already recognize Fortin as the frontman of the popular Quebec-based 90s band Les Colocs, which produced 7 studio albums during the group's tenure. Unfortunately, both the band and Fortin's life would meet an early end, as Fortin would take his own life in 2000 by seppuku, the Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment traditionally reserved for samurais.
When it comes to naming some of the most powerful and influential individuals in Canada, Calin Rovinescu would definitely be included. The current CEO of Air Canada, the nation's largest domestic and international airline, Rovinescu is also the Chairman of the Star Alliance Chief Executive Board which controls the world's largest global airline alliance, and is a Member of the Board of Governors of the International Air Transport Association. Quite a selection of important titles, to say the least, and you can add alumni of UdeM to that list, as Rovinescu earned his Bachelor of Civil Law from the university in 1978.
Before 1934, no woman had ever received a Ph.D from l'Université de Montréal, as Katharine Banham (standing middle, above) was the very first to do so. Specializing in developmental psychology, Banham graduated from her Ph.D program at UdeM with honours, and continued to be a trailblazer for women in psychology, often being the only female faculty member at the institutions she taught at.
Banham's most notable positions include the Head Psychologist of the infant program at (what is now) the Lenox Baker Children's Hospital) in North Carolina and associate professor at Duke University where she co-founded the Duke University Nursery School and established a foundation to aid future young women endeavouring to enter the field of psychology.
There is some speculation as to whether or not Blanche Lamontagne-Beauregard attended l'Université de Montréal, but certain sources claim she studied literature at the university. For the sake of talking about exceptional women, we're going to just go with naming Lamontagne-Beauregard a UdeM alumni as she was the very first published female poet in Quebec never use a pseudonym.
Lamontagne-Beauregard published her first collection of poetry, Visions gaspésiennes, in 1913 when she was just 24. Age didn't seem to factor into her work, however, as the collection won her Prix de la Société du parler français au Canada. Lamontagne-Beauregard went on to create 12 more poetry publications, establishing her as one of Quebec's poetic greats.
One of Quebec's most celebrated and successful filmmakers, Denys Arcand has won an Academy Award (along with being nominated many more times), three César Awards, and various prizes from a plethora of esteemed film festivals, including Cannes and TIFF.
Surprisingly, Arcand actually wanted to be a tennis player. Things changed when he was studying history at UdeM, thanks to frequent road trips with friends to go watch films in New York that weren't available in Quebec. So in some part, Arcand owes his success to UdeM, as he might not have developed a passion for cinema without his university experience.
Graduating from l'Université de Montréal in 1970 with a Bachelor of Laws, Louise Arbour would go on to have a wildly successful legal career and shape Canada (and the world at-large) as we know it today. Standing on the Supreme Court of Canada from 1999 to 2004, Arbour was also the UN High Commissioner for Human Right and President and CEO of the International Crisis Group, a title she held until 2014. For her many accomplishments, Arbour was inducted to Canada's Walk of Fame, which isn't as important as her legal work but is still pretty cool.
A former Canadian Olympic diver, Anne Montminy competed in both the 96 and 2000 Summer Olympics, earning a bronze medal in the latter. But Montminy wouldn't stay a professional athlete forever. Rather impressively, Montminy studied law while diving at UdeM, earning her LL.B. in 1999. She has since gone on to become a successful lawyer, working in both Montreal and San Francisco for high-profile law firms.