Polytechnique Montreal celebrates 150th anniversary

13 Nov 2023 | Network Updates | Update from Polytechnique Montréal
These updates are republished press releases and communications from members of the Science|Business Network

Maud Cohen, President of Polytechnique Montreal. Photo : Bénédicte Brocard

Maud Cohen, President of Polytechnique Montreal. Photo:Bénédicte Brocard

150 years! What a source of pride!

As the first francophone engineering university in North America, Polytechnique Montréal has, since its creation, trained engineers of the highest level and developed cutting-edge research. As such, our university has contributed to the technological and scientific innovations that have changed the world and particularly shaped modern Québec.

This year, along with the entire Polytechnique Montréal community, we want to acknowledge these successes and put forward the passion for engineering. This passion is what will enable us to develop solutions for the considerable challenges of a changing society. Today, we have all the more reason to celebrate and to continue to imagine, to build, to connect… We are ready to design the world of tomorrow!

Maud Cohen, President of Polytechnique Montréal (Poly Mag Winter 2023 – Volume 20 number 1) – Read the full magazine (only French version)


It is with great honour that I extend my heartiest congratulations to Polytechnique Montréal as it marks its 150th anniversary this year. For a century and a half, this institution has been at the forefront of cutting-edge research while providing some of the best education in the world.

I would know. The years I spent there were some of the most informative and inspirational ones of my life.

Even in the most difficult, unimaginable of times, Polytechnique Montréal has stood strong. The face of resilience; an inspiration for us all.

Today, as immense global challenges spread far and wide, education is the key to us successfully tackling and overcoming them.

To the entire team behind this wonderful institution, I wish you continued success and continued impact. We need it and we will all be better off for it.

With my warmest regards and very best wishes for the next 150 years!


Montreal is known worldwide for its style, its flair and its passion for living. That passion extends not only to literature, music and the performing arts, but to science and technology as well. The city is a centre of scientific learning and research, and for 150 years, Polytechnique Montréal, the oldest francophone engineering university in North America, has been a foundation of the city’s global reputation in the applied sciences. It has long been a magnet for talent, bringing to Montreal, Quebec and Canada top students, engineers and researchers from around the world.

For 150 years, Polytechnique Montréal has made major contributions to Canada’s strength in science and technology and helped to keep French voices at the forefront of scientific discovery, innovation and application. English may have become the predominant language of international scientific exchange and publication, but people of all languages need to be able to communicate about science and use it in their vernacular. This is especially true of engineering and the applied disciplines, which use science to bend and shape the neighbourhoods and communities we live in, from infrastructure, buildings and machines to manufacturing and communication systems, not to mention every electronic device used in our homes and workplaces.

Polytechnique Montréal’s leadership in diversifying the science and engineering workforce is exemplary. In a field dominated by men, the university has made unparalleled efforts to recruit women to its programs. By 2020, Polytechnique had already met the Engineers Canada goal of increasing female engineering graduation to 30 per cent, 10 years ahead of schedule.

The university’s motto, taken from Hooke’s law of physics, is Ut tensio sic vis – a phrase whose symbolic meaning is that results are proportional to effort. Throughout its history, Polytechnique has lived up to this maxim. No wonder it’s the pride of its city, its province and the entire country. I applaud Polytechnique Montréal’s 150 years of achievement and look forward to many successful decades ahead.


As the first French-language engineering university in North America, Polytechnique Montréal is an essential hub for training top engineers, and a leading-edge research destination that has earned an international reputation for excellence. With 150 years of research and service to the community, this is a milestone worth celebrating.

The university has contributed to numerous technological and scientific innovations in Canada, notably in the fields of biomedical engineering, water treatment, innovative materials, and safe and green transportation. These accomplishments, among others, also make its researchers highly sought-after partners by scientific teams from around the world.

Canada Foundation for Innovation, an organization that invests in the research infrastructure needs of researchers at post-secondary research institutions across Canada, is proud to support Polytechnique Montréal by investing in equipment and facilities that are not only essential for cutting-edge research but are also instrumental in training the next generation of talented and ambitious researchers who will be key contributors to a bright future for Quebec and Canada.


On behalf of Canada’s 12 provincial and territorial engineering regulators and the more than 300,000 members of the engineering profession in Canada, it is my great pleasure to extend my warmest congratulations to Polytechnique Montréal on its 150th anniversary.

Since its founding in 1873, Polytechnique Montréal has left an indelible mark on the engineering profession in Quebec and throughout Canada. It has provided thousands of engineers with the educational foundation upon which they have built successful careers. Their graduates have gone on to make significant engineering contributions in a wide range of industries not only in Quebec but also across Canada and around the world.

As the only national voice of the engineering profession, Engineers Canada is proud to have a longstanding relationship with Polytechnique Montréal. For example, we have teamed up to offer a free virtual course on applying sustainability guidelines in engineering practice that has attracted more than 10,000 participants in Canada and globally. Polytechnique Montréal’s professors and alumni have been volunteers on our committees and champions of our work. And Polytechnique Montréal has made a sustained effort to attract more women to engineering – achieving a milestone in 2021 with 30 per cent of graduates being women – and is an important partner in our national effort to make the engineering profession more equitable, diverse and inclusive.

As a graduate of Polytechnique Montréal myself, I witnessed first-hand its commitment to training future engineers. The education and experiences I gained there have been invaluable to me in my professional journey and have helped shape me into the engineer and leader I am today. I am honoured to have been even just a small part of the university’s history and to be part of such a vibrant and innovative community.

This anniversary is not just a celebration of Polytechnique Montreal’s rich history and its commitment to excellence in engineering education and research, but also an opportunity to recognize the achievements of its students, faculty, staff and alumni. Polytechnique Montréal’s first 150 years have built a legacy of innovation and progress that I am confident will continue for the next 150 years.


As the first French-speaking engineering university in North America, Polytechnique Montréal has a long history of educating professionals who are attuned to the needs of our society. These professionals – along with research efforts at the institution – have been instrumental in moving Quebec, Canada and the world forward through the advancement and application of science and technology.

Continuing this trajectory of societal impact are the far-reaching and ambitious projects currently underway at Polytechnique Montréal. They will help to create a more sustainable future, for example, through the investigation and application of clean energy sources, green materials and technologies that promise better outcomes in many fields, including health care, manufacturing, transportation, mining, cybersecurity and more.

Due to close collaborations with academic, industry and community partners, the solutions under investigation for today’s most pressing challenges at Polytechnique Montréal promise to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Furthermore, the institution’s long-standing commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion is reflected in efforts to reduce barriers to participation and increase diversity in the engineering profession.

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary, we congratulate Polytechnique Montréal on the many achievements that have helped to create a brighter and more sustainable future in Canada and beyond.

All our news on the 150th celebrations !

This story was produced by Randall Anthony Communications as part of the Polytechnique Montreal anniversary special feature, published in the March 24, 2023, Globe and Mail.

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