In memory of Professor Richard Donovan


Published: 8Aug2019

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the sudden passing of an exceptional teacher and colleague, Professor Richard George Donovan (or “Dono” as he was known to students). Professor Donovan has taught at Desautels since 1997, first as a Faculty Lecturer and most recently as a Senior Faculty Lecturer, and has served in many other administrative roles in our Faculty, including as Associate Dean of the BCom program from 2001-2004 and Director of the BCom program from 2013-2014. Over the span of his career, he was perhaps best known for his commitment to case training.

Born in Montreal in 1965, Professor Donovan completed his BCom at McGill in 1988 where he met his wife Carmy. As a proud alumnus who went on to positively shape our Faculty and the lives of our students over many decades, Professor Donovan’s dedication and enthusiasm will be greatly missed. It is indeed difficult to imagine Desautels without his kind presence.

Professor Donovan taught and mentored countless students across levels, including undergraduate, graduate, executive education, and at the McGill School of Continuing Studies. A recipient of numerous teaching awards, such as the Desautels Distinguished Teaching Award, the M.U.S. Teacher of the Year and Contribution to Student Life Awards, and multiple Jeux de Commerce Prix de Reconnaissance, as well as a nominee for the Principal's Prize for Excellence in Teaching, he prided himself on providing the best learning experience for all.

His case course, for example, helped many students develop skills to problem solve creatively and he openly shared related techniques with fellow international case coaches.

A champion of experiential learning, Professor Donovan generously contributed his time and expertise as a coach to numerous case teams. For over two decades, he mentored hundreds of students to compete on local and international stages, allowing them to put their management theory into practice. Travelling with students across continents, he was instrumental in putting McGill on the map for its talented management students.

He also helped design and lead original case competitions that continue to attract students from across the world to campus. Included among them are the McGill Management International Case Competition (MMICC) and the Global Retail Challenge – prestigious events that each benefitted from his involvement.

As some of his former students put it:

“Thinking of Professor Donovan brings a smile to my face; he always filled the classroom with motivation and inspiration.”

“Professor Donovan always wanted the best for his students. Going to Japan and China with him as our coach was one of the proudest moments of my time at McGill. He will be missed by so many.”

Professor Donovan will be remembered for his collaborative, friendly demeanour, his commitment to his work, and his genuine care for his students. His loss is a major one for the McGill, Montreal, and international case competition communities. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family during this difficult time.