Learning difficulties for a chancellor of the University of Montreal

Learning difficulties for a chancellor at the University of Montreal

BET À DAY

Frantz Saintellemy, the 14th Chancellor of the University of Montreal, holds a bachelor's degree in electronic and computer engineering, graduated in 1996 from Northeastern University, and completed a fellowship in Engineering, Strategy and Complex Innovations at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Sloan).

He and his wife Vickie Joseph are the co-founders of Groupe 3737, one of the largest private business incubators in Quebec.

You are a native of Haiti.

I was conceived and delivered to Haiti by two wonderful parents, my father, Camius, and my mother, Marie-Louise Célestin, who taught me to be proud of my origins.

< p>What was your first reaction when you arrived in Montreal at the age of 7?

I was stunned by the wealth of electricity, because at 7 p.m., thanks to the lights, we weren't invaded by darkness.

Tell me about your parents.< /strong>

My father was a public collector in Haiti. In Montreal, he worked at the Lenôtre pastry shop in Outremont. For my mother, it was more difficult.

Your mother had to go to the company at 6 a.m. every morning without knowing if she had a job.

The foreman at Dominion Textiles, on Crémazie Boulevard, decided each morning who was to do the daily work. Mom often waited in vain. Despite this pitfall, she instilled in me unforgettable life values, including discipline and a passion to succeed.

You have been diagnosed with learning disabilities.< /p>

At the age of 7, at Ahuntsic elementary school, I had a lot of problems understanding my teacher. I barely mastered French, because Creole is my mother tongue. My teacher didn't have time for me, so she decided that I was having learning difficulties.

Fortunately, Professor Gérard Jeune crossed your path.< /p>

He watched me when I organized activities in the schoolyard and he did not understand the teacher's decision. He offered me a moral contract by which I promised to improve my French and my English if I wanted him to take me to his class three months later.

You listened to the tv shows Passe-Partout and Sesame Street.

I absolutely wanted to take up his challenge. Once in his class, he made me read The Hunchback of Notre-Dame and the Fables of La Fontaine. Thanks to him, I became the person I am.

Francis Millien's father opened the doors to soccer for you.

Mr. Robert Millien recruited soccer players in the parks of Montreal. He offered me the possibility of joining the Concordia team, which propelled me towards the formations of the Quebec teams.

Soccer allowed you to see other countries .

I could not afford the trips to France, Portugal, Holland and Germany, but thanks to the soccer leaders, I was able to be one of those trips.

Sport made you discern the importance of the international aspect.

Sport taught me the importance of winning, recovering from defeat, and working as a team; that is to say, to better prepare myself for the international scene and not only for my regional challenges in Quebec, both in sports and in the business world.

You had benefited of the Expos school program.

The Expos offered baseball tickets to schools. It was a great outing for me to attend several games and see the Grissoms, Wallachs, Walkers and the others in action.

Your radio cost more than your first car.

I paid $200 for my Honda, whose oil pan was punctured just like the gas tank which made me lose 40 cents on each gasoline dollars. My Pioneer radio cost more than my car.

Your first jobs?

I was a delivery man for a convenience store in Saint-Michel, and on the evenings of games for an Expos or Canadiens doubleheader, especially against the Nordiques, it paid well. I also folded children's linen in warehouses on Chabanel Street, not to mention my visits to Burger King on Crescent and Sainte-Catherine streets, for the modest salary of $3.75 an hour.< /p>

You lived in Saint-Michel and Montreal North.

In the Saint-Michel district, I lived on Henri-Bourassa near the famous hot dog restaurants Chez Lesage and Ma Tante. In Montreal North, I lived in Hénault, near Charleroi.

You went to Leblanc high school in Terrebonne to help your sister.

I went there to babysit my sister's kids when they got out of daycare. Then I attended Louis-Joseph Papineau and Calixa-Lavallée high schools.

An injury prevented you from attending Virginia Tech.

Then-coach Bruce Arena, who is now the head coach and sporting director of the New England Revolution in MLS, offered me a scholarship that paid all of my studies. Just before I left, I suffered a serious injury that prevented me from joining Virginia Tech.

You continued your university studies in the United States.< /p>

After finishing my studies at Cégep Ahuntsic, I was accepted at Northeastern University, near Boston, and then at MIT. But the most important thing is that thanks to my good grades in CEGEP, scholarship programs allowed me to study for free.

Today you have three wonderful children.

Johan, Norah and Viktor are the joy of living in the house. They play soccer, in Laval, without forgetting that they are my source of inspiration.

It was love at first sight with your wife.

The first time I met my wife, Vickie Joseph, was at my brother's wedding in Miami. It was love at first sight. During the evening, I introduced her to my family members as my future wife. A few months later, we got engaged. She is a remarkable woman who is always there to support her family members.

Learning difficulties for a Chancellor of the University of Montreal