The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) congratulates Michel de la Chenelière, chairman of the museum's board, on receiving a doctorate honoris causa from McGill University, presented at convocation on June 4. The highest distinction awarded by a university, this honorary title recognizes his profound commitment to society and his unfailing efforts to improve the lives of others through philanthropy and the arts. The Museum stated that it was delighted with this recognition of the exceptional involvement of a great philanthropist.
Speaking to McGill's recent education graduates, de la Chenelière affirmed his unwavering commitment to their future profession: "Study and education are essential to success and the betterment of society. Today, my main occupation is promoting visual arts education and art therapy at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts." He exhorted the young graduates to "never forget the essential impact of education through arts on a child's development."
Michel de la Chenelière, C.M., C.Q., Ch.O.M., and Doctor of Letters, honoris causa
A pioneer in French-language education publishing in North America, and preeminent patron of education at the MMFA, Michel de la Chenelière is an entrepreneur who dedicated his career to education and promoting the French language with publications that bear his name. Through his Foundation, he is continuing his mission to encourage education, academic success and social inclusion through arts and culture, as well as public art and theatre. Since 2010, this remarkable patron has enabled the MMFA to expand its educational and community programs, and to move forward with innovative projects in health and art therapy.
With two major donations from this passionate defender of education, the Museum doubled the area it devotes to education with the creation of the Michel de la Chenelière Studio in 2012, and then tripled it with the Michel de la Chenelière International Atelier for Education and Art Therapy in 2016. This facility has become a model on the international scene, welcoming more than 300,000 participants every year, a record in Canada.
A member of the MMFA's Board since 2011 and the MMFA Foundation since 2014, Michel de la Chenelière was appointed Vice-President of the Board in 2017, and President in 2019. Since 2012, he has chaired the Museum's Art and Education Committee and since 2013 has awarded annual scholarships to students in graduate and postgraduate programs to recognize the quality of their theses. He also serves of the board of FRAME (French and American Museum Exchange), whose members include more than 30 French and North American Museums, including the MMFA.
Michel de la Chenelière also serves on the board of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, the organizing committee for the Canadian Arts Summit held in Montreal in April 2019, as well as chairing the development committee of MU. Respected across Canada, Mr. de la Chenelière is a member of the Order of Canada, the Ordre national du Québec, the Ordre de Montréal, as well as the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the Republic of France. He is also the winner of the Camille-Laurin prize from the Office québécois de la langue française and the Award of Excellence in Philanthropy from the Canadian Museums Association.
—Montreal Museum of Fine Arts