Being an undergraduate in the McGill Faculty of Engineering was a transformative experience, says Pierre Arsenault, BEng’88. “There was a great education, as well as the life beyond the classroom, which included not only social activities but also opportunities for leadership and personal development.”
Arsenault took full advantage of these opportunities. In his second year, he was elected the McGill representative to the Québec Engineering Students Association, and he soon joined the association’s executive. In 1987, his third year, he co-chaired a group that brought 1,000 engineering students from across the country to Montreal for a week of activities as part of a centennial celebration of engineering as an organized profession in Canada. “We put together an amazing program,” he recalls. “I was really proud of it.”
In his fourth year, he led a successful Co-op McGill bid to run the Québec Engineering Students Association’s subsidized computer purchase program, and then organized the distribution of personal computers to engineering students throughout Quebec.
“McGill marked a major milestone in my personal development,” he says. “Those four years were fantastic in terms of learning about myself and the world.”
Today, Arsenault is the President and CEO of Groupe JDL-Lagüe, distributing John Deere equipment in Quebec and Ontario. He is also a staunch contributor to McGill’s Alma Mater Fund, earmarking his annual donations to benefit the Faculty of Engineering.
“For me to give to McGill is one way to say thank you for what I received,” he says. “And at the same time I feel I’m contributing to the future of Montreal and Quebec. McGill is a gem we need to support.”