A Most Honorary Doctorate

|President's Blog

Even as a student, Luc Maurice was bursting with hope, energy and a passion for growth and learning. This passion never wavered, and it’s undoubtedly one of the reasons he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business.

Surrounded by hundreds of graduates, Luc Maurice donned the ceremonial robe on June 6th to receive the highly prestigious honoris causa, recognizing his exceptional entrepreneurial achievements, outstanding philanthropic contributions and dedicated advocacy for older persons.

True to form, he addressed the graduates with the same authenticity we’ve come to know, sharing his story with them. As a witness to this presentation, I can confirm that the audience was completely captivated and that he greatly inspired these future professionals, who will in turn play an important role in society.

I’ll let his powerful words speak for themselves. Once again, on behalf of everyone, our warmest congratulations, Luc, on this outstanding honour!

Alain Champagne


Watch the speech on video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jePUwc6pz0



Honored guests,

Dear graduates,

Parents and friends,

I’m both humbled and delighted to be here today, as a recipient of this honour, of course, but mostly for the privilege of sharing this moment with you, dear graduates. Your energy is contagious, filled with hope and vitality. I’ve always thought of these ceremonies as incubators of young minds, full of innovation and greatness, eager to get out in the world, to make a difference and to touch lives. Today you may or may not know where your individual paths will take you, but commit to staying aware and curious, to never losing your appetite for learning, and then to learn some more, and you’ll find your path, I promise.

I found mine during a morning run.

The year was 1984. I was an MBA student in Western Canada. While jogging, I came across an unattractive box-like block of cement. “Senior’s residence”, said the sign. I was extremely close to my grandparents, who had played a pivotal role in my upbringing, and at that moment, only one thought crossed my mind: Never ever will I allow my grandparents to live in such a dump! And there it was, my path…I had just found it. I needed to build living environments where my grandparents and their peers could maximize their well-being and happiness.

Now of course this story wasn’t always so seamless and romantic. The roadblocks were numerous and sometimes seemingly impossible to overcome. It took me a few tries, a bankruptcy, and many lessons on resilience, emotional intelligence, the quality of the relationships we build and, of course, the darn bookkeeping!

But that morning jog ended up being quite a productive one, nevertheless. Today, Le Groupe Maurice includes 37 residences and is home to more than 13K active older adults across the province. It’s mostly a testament to the fact that luxuries, such as a purposeful life, choices and fun, are for everyone, including people who are older than us.

The company’s ambitious expansion plan continues to cater to the needs of the increasing demands of our aging population. It has become an industry reference in Canada, as well as a brand, and a foundation, championing important social causes, such as the fight against ageism. A partnership with a publicly traded American company in 2019 brought the organization to the next level, where it’s now on the brink of exporting its operations and building outside of Quebec.

So that was my story.

You’ll each have your own. And although no two stories are exactly alike, I believe that there are three universal truths at the core of all entrepreneurial successes. I’ll share them with you:

Number 1: When picking a client, pick someone you already love. It’s easier than trying to love them only once they’ve become your client. My grandparents were the clients I picked. I loved them dearly. Trying to understand what their and other seniors’ needs, aspirations and interests were, was a natural reflex for me. And the more I got it, the more they got me, and the faster the business grew.

Number 2: Know that if you give to your community, that community will give back to your business. It’s not always intuitive, especially when you’re first starting out. But do give back. Whatever giving back means to you: financially or with your time, your expertise, your experience… The community will give back to you 10-fold. All sustainable relationships are win-win. Le Groupe Maurice has always allocated a greater budget to community outreach programs than any other player in the industry. We’ve also had the highest occupancy rate in the industry for the past 25 years. That is not a coincidence. I believe there’s a correlation between the two elements.

And number 3: Treat your passion like you would treat the love of your life: Know when to pull it closer and know when to give it some space. Almost 2 years ago, I stepped down as CEO of my company and handed it to my successor. It was the best decision I’ve ever made, for myself and for the company. The entrepreneurial stage of any successful endeavour has an expiry date. There will come a time when a different set of skills and expertise are required to continue on the path of greatness. Know when that time is.

Creating a better life for seniors has always been, and will continue to be, my passion. Stepping away from Le Groupe Maurice’s daily operations not only didn’t take that away from me, but it allowed me to find new ways to manifest that passion in our world. A new project has since been born. One on which I’m working with different levels of government and that will launch, over the next two years, 1,000 social and affordable units distributed among 10 cities across the province, for seniors who otherwise would not have the means to live in a safe and welcoming environment.

Dear graduates,

The scope and the variety of the challenges we face nowadays, and that we will continue facing for many years to come, can seem overwhelming, it’s true. Many say that the world we live in today is worrisome. I say that there has never been a better time to Create, to Innovate, to have an Impact and to make a real Difference, for those who are prepared, willing and determined to take action.

I look forward to the future where you will be our leaders, innovators and influencers.

Never cease to learn and to grow.

Love your passion.

Love your community.

Love the people close to you.

And have a blast!

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