Media contact information
Annie Touchette
Senior Communications Advisor, Communications and Public Relations
Polytechnique Montréal
(514) 231-8133

Tara Gholami, first recipient of the Order of the White Rose

In tribute to the victims of December 6, 1989, Polytechnique helps strengthen a passion, realize a dream.

November 25, 2015

The administration of Polytechnique Montréal is very pleased to present today the very first Order of the White Rose scholarship to Tara Gholami, a mechanical engineering graduate from the University of Calgary. This $30,000 scholarship was created last year and will now be awarded annually to a Canadian woman engineering student who wishes to continue her engineering studies at the master’s or doctoral level in Canada or elsewhere in the world.

Christophe Guy, Chief Executive Officer of Polytechnique, along with Michèle Thibodeau-DeGuire, Principal and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Corporation de l’École Polytechnique de Montréal, and Nathalie Provost, a Polytechnique graduate who was injured during the sad event, enthusiastically commend Ms. Gholami for her exceptional academic and personal achievements. The scholarship's first recipient is currently furthering her mechanical engineering studies at Stanford University in California.

“The Order of the White Rose was established last year as part of the 25th commemoration activities for the tragedy of December 6, 1989, at Polytechnique and is designed to honour the victims of this event," says Mr. Guy. “This scholarship recognizes not only the importance that Polytechnique attaches to women’s contributions to engineering, it is also part of the dream of all young women who want to embrace a career in engineering. Tara Gholami – like all the recipients who will follow her in the coming years – is a source of inspiration for these young women.”

Says Ms. Gholami: “I am thrilled to receive the Order of the White Rose scholarship and I want to thank Polytechnique Montréal for so kindly reviewing and selecting my application,” says Tara Gholami. “I was raised in Iran until the age of 11, in an environment where I was exposed to strong female role models who encouraged my achievements. Being close to these women enabled me to believe in myself and my abilities, and to become whatever I wanted, as long as I worked hard. I am now reaping the rewards of these efforts and I hope that my journey will inspire other young girls who feel passionate about a science career.”

And Ms. Thibodeau-DeGuire, who in 1963 was Polytechnique’s first woman graduate in civil engineering, adds: "As chair of the selection jury, I have to admit that the excellent quality of the applications made our job quite difficult. However, the choice of Tara Gholami was unanimous, first because she is a woman with an impressive portfolio, and second because she is a woman of compassion and commitment who is laying the groundwork for a long line of recipients who will serve as role models for other young women who are interested in the sciences.”

“I am proud to be the ‘Godmother’ of the Order of the White Rose because this initiative keeps the memory of my classmates alive,” Ms. Provost says. "By providing significant financial support, this scholarship enables a future engineer to realize a dream that may sometimes seem unattainable, a dream that is similar in many respects to the one that was cherished by those who have left us.”

The selection jury for the Order of the White Rose was chaired by Ms. Thibodeau-DeGuire. It also included other outstanding people in the Canadian higher education community, namely:

  • Elizabeth Cannon, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Calgary
  • Suzanne Fortier, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, McGill University
  • Cristina Amon, Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, University of Toronto
  • Patrik Doucet, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering,  Université de Sherbrooke
  • Joshua Leon, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Dalhousie University
  • Pearl Sullivan, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, University of Waterloo
  • Kimberly A. Woodhouse, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Queen’s University

Finally, Polytechnique Montréal wishes to point out that the second annual Week of the White Rose will take place this year from November 30 to December 6, when it will be possible once again to purchase virtual white roses through the fundraising campaign’s transactional website. All funds raised through the sale of virtual roses are used to give young girls from disadvantaged and multiethnic backgrounds the opportunity to be introduced to the sciences through various activities, such as day camps and science workshops organized by Folie Technique.


About Polytechnique Montréal

Founded in 1873, Polytechnique Montréal is one of Canada's leading engineering teaching and research institutions. It is the largest engineering university in Québec for the size of its graduate student body and the scope of its research activities. With over 43,000 graduates, Polytechnique Montréal has educated nearly one-quarter of the current members of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec. Polytechnique provides training in 15 engineering specialties, and has 265 professors and more than 8,000 students. It has an annual operating budget of over $200 million, including an $80-million research budget.


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Media contact information
Annie Touchette
Senior Communications Advisor, Communications and Public Relations
Polytechnique Montréal
(514) 231-8133

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