McGill is mourning the loss of one of its most illustrious alumni, Edgar M. Bronfman, who died Saturday in New York at the age of 84. In addition to the BA he earned in the early 1950s, the University presented Mr. Bronfman with an honorary doctorate in June 2012.
“McGill has lost a friend, a member of the community and a great philanthropist whose name is known around the world, both for his business acumen and for his tireless work on behalf of the victims of the Holocaust, “said Suzanne Fortier, principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University. “Our deepest condolences go to his family and colleagues at this difficult time.”
Mr. Bronfman graduated from McGill in 1951. “It was at McGill that I learned to be a critical thinker,” he said in his 2012 Convocation address, going on to dedicate his honorary degree to the memory of his grandparents. “I am proud that my alma mater is among the leading universities in the world today.”
Mr. Bronfman, who joined the family distilling business, Seagram Ltd., in 1957 and became CEO in 1971, took the company into new markets and new product lines so that it became one of the world’s dominant players. But he also worked tirelessly on behalf of the worldwide Jewish community, serving as President of the World Jewish Congress from 1981 until 2007 and devoting considerable efforts to winning restitution for victims of the Holocaust. He also served as president of the Samuel Bronfman Foundation until his death.
On the day of his memorial service, a date for which has not yet been announced by the family, the University’s flag will fly at half-staff.