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Tribute to a visionary engineer, outstanding businessman and renowned philanthropist – Mr. BERNARD LAMARRE (1931-2016)

March 30, 2016 - Source : NEWS

It was with great emotion and sadness that the Polytechnique Montréal community learned of the death of Mr. Bernard Lamarre, a pillar of engineering in Québec, today, March 30, 2016, at age 84. Polytechnique offers its sincere condolences to Mr. Lamarre’s entire family, friends and associates, and wishes to add its voice to those of all who knew him and worked with him by extending a well-deserved final tribute. A graduate of Polytechnique and Chair of its Board of Directors from 2002 to 2012, Bernard Lamarre is a model and an emblematic figure to the entire Polytechnique community.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Polytechnique in 1952, Mr. Lamarre continued his studies at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London through an Athlone scholarship awarded to him by the British government. He also received a master’s degree in the plasticity of concrete from the University of London in 1955.

His engineering career began at the firm Lalonde & Valois, where he quickly showed great talent and climbed through the company ranks. The firm changed its name in 1972 to Lavalin Group Ltd. Mr. Lamarre would serve as its President and CEO until 1991, when Lavalin merged with SNC. He chaired the SNC-Lavalin Inc. Commercialization Committee and served as an advisor until 1999.

During his years at Lavalin, Mr. Lamarre was in the forefront of major projects that transformed Québec. The Trans-Canada Highway in Montréal, the Louis-Hippolyte-Lafontaine Bridge-Tunnel, Montréal’s Olympic Stadium and the Alcan aluminum smelter at La Baie were all among the major achievements he directed or administered. He also led projects abroad, including the Intermodal Highway in Benin and the Palais de la culture, Centre sociocultural and Museum and Sanctuary of the Martyrs in Algeria.

His quick-witted speaking style and consensus-building and persuasive observations led him to be invited throughout his career to speak to various audiences in the fields of engineering as well as arts & culture. He was involved in many publications, writing technical texts or opinion pieces that drew the interest of decision-makers, businesspeople, politicians, journalists and students. Because of his thoughtful and rigorous opinions, he was asked continuously to take part in discussions involving major engineering or economic projects.

Bernard Lamarre also had great faith in young people and always kept their interests in mind when the time came to guide their projects and initiatives. He proposed ambitious reforms to undergraduate programs at Polytechnique.

His diplomatic flair, amiable character and emotional intelligence made him a person whose presence was sought in various business sectors. This led to positions as a member or chair of the boards of directors of many companies and organizations with diverse goals.

Closer to home, he was first a member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation de l’École Polytechnique from 1987 to 1992 and then Chair of the Board from 2002 to 2012. Under his direction, substantial resources were allocated to major projects that advanced Polytechnique, and he played a frontline role in the construction of the Lassonde Buildings.   

Throughout his career, Mr. Lamarre amassed honours, medals and awards given by various associations, orders and institutions. This also included a number of major distinctions, among them 11 honorary doctorates from Canadian universities. He was named an Officer of the Ordre national du Québec and of the Order of Canada in 1985 and a Great Montrealer the following year. In 1986, he received the Gold Medal of the Canadian Council of Engineers and, in 2003, the medal of the Association des ingénieurs-conseils du Québec. In 2006, the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec honoured him with an Award of Excellence for his body of work and for his contribution to his profession.

Bernard Lamarre was also recognized for his great generosity and his philanthropic spirit. He became involved in many fundraising campaigns and supported a number of causes that he believed in.

On behalf of staff, faculty and all present and past students, Polytechnique CEO Christophe Guy and Board Chair Michèle Thibodeau-DeGuire express their sincere condolences to Mr. Lamarre’s spouse, children and grandchildren and to his friends and associates.

L’héritage d’une grande figure du génie québécois, Magazine Poly, printemps 2012


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Bernard Lamarre, Chair of the Board of Directors of Polytechnique Montréal, wins TELUS Community Excellence Award