The College proudly celebrates a diverse network of over 39,000 graduates worldwide. Their ranks include a host of trailblazers and experts in their fields who share a commitment to making positive contributions to their communities and the world, to quote the Marianopolis mission. Meet some of our notable alumni below.
Judy Batalion ’96
The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos, the second book by Judy Batalion ’96, was published in 2021 to rave reviews.
After Marianopolis, she studied the history of science at Harvard then moved to London to pursue a PhD in art history. She worked as a comedian, curator, researcher and actor, among other professions. She was a columnist for The New York Times’ Motherlode and her essays about parenting, relationships, religion and health have appeared in The New York Times, Vogue, The Washington Post, The Jerusalem Post, Salon, The Forward, Tablet, Cosmo and many others.
Her first book, White Walls: A Memoir about Motherhood, Daughterhood, and the Mess in Between, was shortlisted for the Vine Award for Canadian Jewish Literature, longlisted for the Leacock Award for Literary Humor and optioned by Warner Brothers.
Francis Choinière ’16
In just a few years since graduating from Marianopolis, Francis Choiniere ’16 has already taken the classical music scene by storm. Named as one of the CBC’s “30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30” in 2020, Francis is a versatile musician, conductor, concert producer, pianist, and composer.
His career began flourishing during his time at the College when he co-founded and produced concerts for L’Orchestre Philharmonique et Choeur des Mélomanes (OPCM). The ensemble has since grown, receiving invitations to perform with world-renowned international artists including Andrea Bocelli, Hans Zimmer and Sarah Brightman. The OPCM performs three annual concerts at Place des Arts, contributing to Montreal’s cultural music scene and providing performance opportunities for emerging artists. His experience in building this non-profit orchestra gave him the tools he needed to start GFN Productions, a national entertainment company that produces film, classical and pop concerts, including music from Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Titanic, and Fantasia among others.
Chet Doxas ’99
Star saxophonist. Virtuoso. Prolific. Terrific. Those are some words used to describe Marianopolis Music program graduate Chet Doxas ’99. From the Montreal Jazz Fest to the world’s stages and internationally renowned music associations, he credits Marianopolis for helping him succeed.
Brian Fetherstonhaugh ’76
For over a quarter century at the heart of The Ogilvy Group, one of the world’s leading marketing agencies, Brian Fetherstonhaugh ’76 has worked hands on with global brands such as IBM, American Express, Cisco, Coca-Cola, IKEA, Unilever and Nestlé. As Ogilvy’s Worldwide Chief Talent Officer and former CEO of its digital marketing arm OgilvyOne, he brings a unique perspective on how brands, organizations and careers are built and how digital transformation affects creativity. His career insights in his award-winning 2016 business book The Long View: Career Strategies to Start Strong, Reach High, and Go Far have made him a sought-after lecturer at top universities such as Yale, Harvard, MIT, Columbia and McGill, where he earned his B.Com in 1979. The executive sponsor for Ogilvy’s Young Professional Network and an advisor to several start-ups, he has been a board member of Goodwill Industries for over 20 years and is a passionate supporter of its mission to help people gain independence. A Montrealer at heart, he plays hockey every Sunday night – and plays guitar and harmonica in a rock band, aptly named Plan B.
Corey Hart ’79
With gold and platinum records and a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame, Corey Hart has topped the Billboard charts multiple times and sold more than 16 million records worldwide. Inducted to Canada’s Music Hall of Fame in spring 2019, he is a member of Artists Against Racism.
Best known for his hit singles Sunglasses at Night and Never Surrender, he has won several Juno awards, including the Diamond Award for his best-selling album Boy in the Box.
When then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper named the Honourable Nicole Duval Hesler Chief Justice of the Quebec Court of Appeal in 2011, she became the 20th person and the first woman to hold the position since the court was created in 1849.
Appointed to the Superior Court of Quebec in 1992 and to the Court of Appeal in 2006, she was called to the Quebec Bar four years after graduating from Marianopolis. She joined the Montreal firm of Buchanan McAllister, later known as McAllister, Blakely, Hesler & Lapierre, in which she became a partner in 1976, specializing in civil liability, product liability, construction law, bankruptcy and environmental law. She represented the Order of Architects of Quebec before the National Assembly Committee on the reform of the Civil Code of Quebec.
On a parallel career track, Madam Duval Hesler has presided over many human rights tribunals, as a member of the Federal Human Rights Tribunal, and trained the Quebec Human Rights Commission on evidence of discrimination.
She has been a frequent lecturer on human rights, environmental law and the administration of justice at the behest, among others, of the Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice and the National Judicial Institute.
Maya Johnson ’03 became the youngest reporter in the CTV Montreal newsroom at age 21. She has covered breaking news across Quebec and Canada, from the 2013 train derailment and explosion in Lac Mégantic, to the 2014 Parliament Hill shootings in Ottawa, to provincial elections ushering in historic changes in Quebec’s National Assembly. A member of the Quebec Parliamentary Press Gallery’s board of directors, she made her anchor-desk debut in 2015 and became anchor of CTV Montreal News at 5 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. in March 2021.
Set designer Christine Jones ’85 received her first Tony for her scenic design of the musical adaptation of Green Day’s American Idiot. She was honoured with a second Tony for her set design for the immensely successful New York and London productions of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
The creator of stunning sets for opera, most notably for the Metropolitan Opera, Christine Jones teaches at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. A former lecturer at Princeton University, she served as the Denzel Washington Guest Chairperson for Fordham University’s Theatre Department.
In 2015, she received an Obie for sustained excellence in set design. That same year, New York Magazine listed her innovative Theatre for One, in which one actor, musician or dancer performs for a single audience member in a booth-sized stage, as a top 10 theatre event.
Junia Jorgji ’06
Arts and Sciences
Junia Jorgji ’06 is the Chief of Design at the National Gallery of Canada. She has held lead positions designing exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. After earning a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Architecture from McGill University, she worked as an architectural lighting designer for CS Design in Montreal and has also practiced in New York and Paris. Her public speaking engagements about museums, exhibition and lighting design have taken her to institutions and conferences as far away as Australia and Jordan.
While working at CS Design, Junia received the IES Lighting Award of Merit for Arctic Adaptations, the Canada Pavilion presentation at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2014.
Dr. Victoria Kaspi ’86
“It was at Marianopolis that my career trajectory started,” says Dr. Victoria Kaspi ’86, one of the world’s top observational astrophysicists and one of McGill University’s first Canada Research Chairs. From Marianopolis, she went on to undergraduate studies at McGill and graduate studies under Nobel Prize winner Joseph Taylor at Princeton University.
After positions at the California Institute of Technology, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she returned to McGill, where she conducts groundbreaking research primarily concerning neutron stars and pulsars. In 2016 Dr. Kaspi became the first woman to be awarded the Herzberg Gold Medal, Canada’s top science prize. In 2021 she received the Shaw Prize in Astronomy.
Marianopolis was honoured to welcome her as the Class of 2016 Convocation Speaker.
Dr. Kosar Khwaja ’94
A love of providing acute care has taken Dr. Kosar Khwaja to all corners of the world.
An internationally sought expert at optimizing patient flow at trauma centres, he has served as a special consultant to numerous Canadian federal bodies, represented the Public Health Agency of Canada on the Vancouver Olympics Mobile Medical Unit Committee and is a member of the Emergency Response Unit of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. He is also the assistant to the Montreal Canadiens’ chief surgeon.
As co-leader of the international consulting firm Code Blue Advisors he brings advanced emergency, trauma and critical care systems to public and private health-care institutions, major sporting events such as the Olympics and the Euro, large corporations and for disaster preparedness throughout the world.
After completing his Trauma and Critical Care Medicine Fellowship at McGill University, where he is now associate professor, he received an Executive MBA from HEC Montréal in 2010. He established and directs acute care surgery at the McGill University Health Centre, where he is also associate director of the Trauma Program and director of clinical research in critical care.
A key player in redeveloping Montreal’s hospital network, he has used simulation models to predict resource allocation for surgical in-patient and ambulatory care across various institutions.
Marianopolis was honoured to welcome him as the Class of 2019 Convocation Speaker.
The creator of eponymous fashion label Erdem, which he founded in 2005 with a collection of softly sweeping dresses and floral prints that are now a part of his signature aesthetic, this Marianopolis graduate now has his clothes stocked the world over, from Bergdorf Goodman to H&M.
After graduating from the College’s CALL program (now ALC: Arts, Literature and Communication), he earned a bachelor’s degree in fashion at Toronto’s Ryerson University before moving to London in 2001 to attend the Royal College of Art, to steep himself in British culture and fashion (he is of English and Turkish descent). Little wonder that his designs are now donned by royals such Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle.
Soon after graduating from Marianopolis with a Bachelor of Arts in English conferred by the University of Montreal, Louise Pagotto ’71 began teaching high school in Papua New Guinea under the auspices of the Canadian University Service Overseas.
She crisscrossed the Pacific Ocean several times over the next few decades for education and work. She earned a Diploma in Teaching English as a Second Language from the University of Papua New Guinea, a Master’s degree in linguistics from McGill University, focusing on the syntax of Ojibwa, a First Nations language in Western Quebec, and a PhD in linguistics from the University of Hawaii Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. The subject of her dissertation was the verb morphology of Marshallese, a Micronesian language spoken in the Marshall Islands.
Along the way she taught in Papua New Guinea and Hawaiʻi. Today she is chancellor of Kapi‘olani Community College in Honolulu, which she joined as a teacher of composition and linguistics 1989.
Professor Monique Polak ’79
Prolific is one word used to describe longtime Marianopolis English and Humanities Professor Monique Polak, who graduated from the College in 1979 and has been teaching here since 1985.
A journalist and the CBC/Quebec Writers’ Federation inaugural writer-in-residence, she is an award-winning author in the highly competitive young-adult fiction market and the two-time winner of the Quebec Writers’ Prize for Children’s and YA Literature.
Annamaria Popescu ’79
A mezzo-soprano who has graced operatic stages across Asia, Europe and North America, Annamaria Popescu ’79’s musical studies at Marianopolis gave her an entrée into McGill University’s Schulich School of Music, thanks to the two institution’s long-standing partnership. She went on to the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia and the Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, where she honed the refined, warm and expressive singing technique for which she is renowned.
Highlights of her career include more than a dozen productions at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala. She has sung under the baton of Bruno Bartoletti, Andrew Davis, Sir Colin Davis, Christoph Eschenbach, Riccardo Muti, Michael Tilson Thomas and many others. She now devotes much of her time to teaching Voice and Italian Diction at McGill, where she and countless other Marianopolis graduates have developed their talents.
Fourteen years after the Montreal native finished Marianopolis, Netflix announced that he would be the food and wine expert in its revival of the groundbreaking reality TV show Queer Eye. To say that the actor, model and chef is a cultural icon would be an understatement.
Shobhita Soor ’07
Pure and Applied Science
Transforming insects into food? It may sound unappealing until you learn about its promising impact on food security, livelihoods and the environment.
Former U.S. president Bill Clinton awarded the Hult Prize to Shobhita Soor ’07 and her fellow McGill University MBA classmates for their work on this emerging and critical front. The prize supports business plans designed to provide access to vital needs such as food, education and water.
Since then, the classmates’ plan has become Aspire Food Group – a global industry leader in the edible insect movement that aims to make this alternative protein more accessible to the people who need protein the most – and Shobhita is Aspire’s Chief Impact Officer.
With a joint law and finance degree from McGill, she develops business strategies that comply with the cultures of potential markets and executes projects that educate rural farmers in insect farming.
Sugar Sammy ’95
Internationally renowned comedian Sugar Sammy ’95 was once a Marianopolis student who benefited from the College’s small size, individualized attention and multi-cultural student body.
“It was small, I got to know pretty much everyone,” he says of the College. “I got to make friends really quickly and keep those friends. I also felt like I got an education not just in class but outside of class.”
Brandon Silver ’13
Before the World Economic Forum named him a Global Shaper and before TIME published his writing advocating for jailed blogger Raif Badawi as a member of his legal team, Brandon Silver was an enthusiastic student-delegate on the internationally ranked Marianopolis Model United Nations team.
Today, as Director of Policy and Projects of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, he oversees advocacy, legal teams and policy development for the international consortium of politicians, scholars, jurists, NGOs and students united in the pursuit of justice anchored in Wallenberg’s legacy.
Brandon’s career on the forefront of human-rights advocacy was launched in large part by his experience at the College, where he was involved in numerous endeavours outside the classroom and completed the College’s International Studies, Law and Social Justice and Third World Studies certificates.
As a legal researcher and writer he contributes to academic publications on human rights, constitutionalism and technology law. As an author, he seeks to highlight human rights in general and dissidents in particular.
A graduate of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, he received a Masters of Law at UC Berkeley on a merit scholarship for excellence in public law. He has won the CBC Reader’s Choice Prize, the Harvard University Diplomacy Award and the TD Merit Award for Community Leadership, among other distinctions.
Daniel Thompson ’81
The Vice President of Lorne Steinberg Wealth Management, Daniel Thompson ’81 credits Marianopolis for helping him become one of Canada’s most successful businesspeople.
“If there was one thing that really stood out in my memory about Marianopolis, it’s the quality of the teachers,” he says, “They really did care, they knew who you were.”
After Marianopolis, he received an undergraduate degree from the University of Western Ontario, an MBA from McGill University and both the Chartered Financial Analyst and Chartered Financial Planner designations.
Ted Ty ’87
How to Train Your Dragon 2; Rise of the Guardians; Kung Fu Panda; Madagascar; Lilo and Stitch; and Disney classics like Mulan, Pocahontas and The Lion King: the impressive career of Ted Ty ’87 as a lead animator for Disney and Dreamworks is peppered with work on beloved and box-office-record-breaking movies, which millions of people throughout the world have watched time and again. With degrees from Concordia University and the California Institute of the Arts, he has more than a quarter decade of experience at the feature animation level and his credits include almost two dozen feature films.
Today, Ted is back home in Montreal as Animation Director at L’Atelier Animation in Mile End. Under his care and with his boundless imagination, the local creative powerhouse followed up its first feature-length film, Ballerina, with Fireheart, which tells the story of a teenage girl who dreams of being a firefighter in 1920s New York City.
Marianopolis was honoured to welcome him as the Class of 2018 Convocation Speaker.
Dr. Avi Wallerstein ’85
LASIK MD co-founder Dr. Avi Wallerstein ’85, who counts among his many distinctions the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, remembers Marianopolis as fostering in him a strong work ethic that has served him well.
Director of Refractive Surgery and Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at McGill University, where he teaches ophthalmologists-in-training, and Director of Refractive Surgery at the Royal Victoria Hospital, where he performs surgeries, Dr. Wallerstein went on to complete his medical degree at Queen’s University, specialized in ophthalmology at McGill and did his post-doctoral fellowship training in cornea and laser refractive surgery at North Shore University Hospital and New York University.
“My experience at Marianopolis was excellent,” he says. “I was very much with like-minded people.”
Dr. Beatrice Wang ’83
Dr. Beatrice Wang ’83 is one of the world’s top dermatologists. A dermatologic surgeon, she’s an Assistant Professor in the Division of Dermatology at McGill’s Department of Oncology and she directs the McGill University Health Centre’s Melanoma Clinic. She founded and runs a busy medical practice in Westmount that is unique in that it accepts both cosmetic and surgical patients. Dr. Wang also serves on various cosmetic advisory boards and to date has been involved in over 50 clinical trials in dermatology research. Her expertise is routinely sought out internationally by both medical associations and the media.
Marianopolis was honoured to welcome her as the Class of 2013 Convocation Speaker.
A graduate of Marianopolis during its earlier years as Quebec’s first university-level institution for women, Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré ’63 went on to become the first African-Canadian appointed judge in the province’s history. She also holds the distinctions of being the first African-Canadian law dean after her 1996 appointment at the Faculty of Law, University of Windsor, as well as the first Employment Equity Commissioner of Ontario. In 2012, she retired from the Court of Quebec and sat as a supernumerary judge until 2017.
Westmoreland-Traoré laboured tirelessly in the public sector as a board member of the Office de protection des consommateurs du Québec, as a Canadian Human Rights Commissioner and as the first Chair of Quebec’s Conseil des communautés culturelles et de l’immigration. Her influence extended internationally, through her role on the Board of the South Africa Educational Trust, on several observer missions to Haiti and as legal counsel to that country’s Commission nationale de vérité et de justice.
She was also active as a board member of several non-profit organizations dedicated to community solidarity and protection of human rights, including the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, La Ligue des droits, Centraide du Grand Montréal, the National Congress of Black Women of Canada and the Canadian United Nations Association.