#ImmigrationMatters in Montréal, Quebec

Once a foreign student in these halls, leading businesswoman Gina Cody has left her mark… and her name… on Concordia’s Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science with a $15 million endowment.

Building opportunities for future Canadian engineers

Building opportunities for future Canadian engineers

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Transcript: “Immigration Matters in Montréal, Quebec”

Video length: 3 minutes, 18 seconds

Inspiring music, composed of piano and strings, plays throughout.

An aerial view of downtown Montréal is shown.

Text displays: “Immigration Matters in Montréal, Quebec”

Gina looks up, straight at the camera. Gina walks around the Old Port of Montréal.

Gina: My name is Gina Cody. I came to Canada in 1979 during the revolution in Iran.

Archive photo: Gina is in a classroom with a professor.

Gina: My brother had organized a meeting with me and a professor at Concordia.

At a busy street intersection, students walk from a bus into the university. A traffic light counts down the time remaining to cross the street. The Concordia University facade is shown.

Gina: He looked at my marks and he said, “Why would you go anywhere else? Why don’t you come to Concordia, and we’ll give you a scholarship.”

Series of archive photos: Gina as a child; Gina as a student, working with heavy equipment; Gina as a student, working with another student; Gina as a student, smiling at the camera

Gina: Since I was a child, my mother, who married young, she always said, “I really want you and your sister, to continue your education, and be independent.”

Archive photos: Gina graduating

Gina: I did my PhD and did as much as I could to carry on the mission that was given to me by my mother.

Series of archive photos: Gina wearing a hard hat and smiling at the camera; newspaper clipping, with a photo of Gina, entitled “Meet Doctor Fix-it”; Gina leaning on a desk in a big office, with multiple diplomas and awards hanging on the wall behind her

Gina: Within a year I was offered a job at a company. Later on I became a partner, and then became the sole owner. For 3 years I was awarded one of the best managed companies.

At a large ballroom event, there are multiple round tables of seated people talking to each other. Alan is in conversation with a guest.

Text displays: “Alan Shepard, President of Concordia University”

Gina is seated at one of the round tables; she looks around. Gina takes a photo with a young woman at her table. She talks to the young woman.

Alan: Gina came to Concordia as a young woman. She was the first woman in her program to finish a PhD in building engineering.

A series of old newspapers clippings, featuring a photo of Gina and other students posing together, is shown. The titles of the clippings read “Lively Engineering Week draws hundreds of students” and “Women engineers look to each other for inspiration”. An archive photo of Gina at a board of governors’ ceremony is shown.

Alan: Gina’s had a long association with the university, even after she graduated. She served on various advisory committees for the university, and for the last 4 years or so she’s been a member of our board of governors.

Alan is in conversation with a guest. Gina is seated at a round table and is in conversation with a guest. They all laugh together.

Alan: Gina mentioned to me that she might be interested in making a gift. I didn’t really understand initially that it would be the transformative gift that it has become.

There is a screenshot of web article, entitled “Engineer and business leader Gina Cody makes a $15-million gift for Concordia’s next generation”. The first sentence reads: “On September 24, Concordia made history. It became the first Canadian university with an engineering faculty named after a woman”.

The Concordia “C” statue stands right outside the university’s doors. Students walk out through the university doors. People’s feet walk in a corridor. An escalator is moving.

Alan: The donation creates scholarships and bursaries for young people who are going to come here and study, who might not have otherwise had the opportunity to do so.

A ray of sun shines through a window. Hannah is talking to Gina.

Text displays: “Hannah Jack Halcro, engineering student & President of Space Concordia”

Gina shakes the hand of a Space Concordia Club member. Hannah and Gina are talking together and walking through the Space Concordia classroom. Gina smiles.

Hannah: She came by and she visited each of the student societies, kind of shook all of our hands and asked what we were doing, so I told her what we were doing and she was very impressed.

On the Concordia display board, a photo of Gina is shown, with the words “Voici l’école de génie et d’informatique gina-cody”.

A series of archive videos and photos shows female engineering students working in the field. Hannah and Gina go down an escalator and walk along the Concordia hallways.

Hannah: By having a woman as a face of the school, I feel comforted. As a woman in a STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] field, we don’t see as much discrimination as perhaps historically we have, but there’s a lot of struggle that’s internalized within. Questions like, “Do I belong here? Am I a real engineer?”

Concordia’s engineering building is shown against the bright blue sky. Hannah and Gina walk down the interior staircase of the building. The camera tilts up to show the sign above the staircase that reads “École de génie et d’informatique gina-cody” and “Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science”.

Hannah: But having a woman as a face of your school is a reminder every day that, yes, you do belong here and you can do great things.

The scene fades to black.

Canadian, Quebec and Montréal flags blow in the wind, in front of Montréal City Hall. City hall’s chandelier and the mayor’s room are shown, with a city of Montréal flag behind the desk and chair. A close-up of an open black pen on an open book is shown. A close up of the book’s red cover that reads “Livre d’or” is shown.

Gina: I’m quite honoured to be given the chance of signing the Livre d’or of Montréal.

Gina shakes hands with the Dean of Engineering in a hallway, at City Hall. She greets several others in the hallway. Gina greets the Mayor of Montréal, Valérie Plante. Gina writes in the Livre d’or with a black pen.

Gina: It’s a confirmation of acceptance of a person that has made contributions. I was provided with an opportunity that changed my life.

An aerial view of downtown Montréal is shown.

Series of quick videos: Gina, on an escalator, talking; Gina pointing at objects on the Space Concordia wall; Gina laughing in an elevator full of students; Gina greeting guests at the ballroom event; Gina laughing at the round table; Gina smiling proudly, at City Hall

Gina: Giving back to the society that made you who you are is not an option, it’s an obligation.

The Montréal mayor makes an entrance at City Hall.

Text displays: “Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montréal”

Gina and the mayor walk from one room to another. Gina and the mayor exchange gifts. The mayor wears a burgundy hoodie, with text that reads “Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science, Concordia University” and laughs. Both Gina and the mayor are wearing the burgundy hoodies, and they pose for a photo.

A close-up of Gina’s signature in the Livre d’or is shown. An aerial view of the Montréal Old Port is shown, with the Canadian flag flying in the wind and the Montréal Observation Wheel on the right.

Gina: By me giving all these scholarships to all these students, I’m hoping that most of them will do the same thing I did, and the circle continues of people who succeed and give back. That’s how Canada was made, that’s how we will have an inclusive society.

The scene fades to black.

Text displays: “Immigrants enrich our communities.”

The scene fades to black.

Text displays: “Share your story #ImmigrationMatters Facebook: @CitCanada; Twitter: @CitImmCanada; Instagram: @CitImmCanada”

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada corporate signature is shown, along with the copyright message, “Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, 2018”, followed by the Canada wordmark.

Immigration profile: Montréal, Quebec (Census Metropolitan Area)

Quick facts:

  • Immigrants make up almost a quarter (23%) of Montréal’s population.
  • Haiti is the largest source of immigrants in Montréal, followed by France and Morocco.
  • More than half (55%) of all immigrants who came to Montréal between 1980 and 2016 were economic immigrants, while 28% were sponsored by family, and 16% were refugees.

Did you know?

  • With 200,000 university students, including 33,000 international students, Montréal ranks second among North American cities for the number of university students per capita.

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