spring 2013 | st. Lawrence Universit y Magazine
tara Freeman
pHiLant Hr Opy in ac t iOn
It’s all about family for Univer-
sity Trustee André Couture ’82, P’15.
Couture and his brother Martin ’90
head a family business—Sanimax, a
Montreal-based international company
that creates environmentally responsible
solutions for the food and agribusiness
industries—and several members of his
family are Laurentians. So it comes as
no surprise that their largest gift to St.
Lawrence, $1 million toward the new
residence hall, is also a family endeavor.
Prompted by André, Martin and their
sister Julie ’85 pledged a personal family
commitment to the residence hall. “We
thought it was the right time to make a
difference,” André says.
Going to the U.S. to university was
a big deal for us,” says Couture, whose
son, Victor ’15, is following in the fam-
ily footsteps at St. Lawrence. “Here in
Quebec there is a long cultural tradi-
tion of staying in this country with your
As a French-speaking first-year stu-
dent, Couture says he found himself
immediately comfortable in Canton,
among friends, a new language and a
true community of learners. Contribut-
ing the family’s seven-figure gift for a
new residence hall underscores the fam-
ily’s commitment to creating comfort-
able spaces and experiences for coming
generations of St. Lawrence students as
the University implements its Strategic
Giving money is a very personal
process,” says Couture. “Sometimes in a
project like this it’s like going off a high
diving platform: You’re at the top, you
get closer to the edge, you move back
and then suddenly someone jumps. I
was the first one to take that
leap, and it has seemed easy
since then.”
Couture is also every bit
the pragmatist and a savvy
businessman, highlight-
ing the value he hopes his
family’s gift will deliver for
generations. Calling himself
an investor in St. Lawrence,
he has appealed to others to
join him.
We need other inves-
tors because the University
cannot replace buildings by
simply financing them,” he
explains. “This residence
hall project, for example, is being done
solely through gifts. If we want St.
Lawrence to move ahead, we need to
continue to take it to the next level and
provide the money that is needed. Giv-
ing is what will build St. Lawrence.”
The Couture family has done a beau-
tiful thing by making the first major gift
to support the construction of a new
residence hall,” says St. Lawrence Presi-
dent William L. Fox ’75. “André helped
us imagine this project a couple of years
ago when he expressed to me the impor-
tance of superior design for our future
campus living spaces. His vision and
his commitment have already inspired
others to join the Couture family in
a project that will surely enhance the
overall campus look and experience.”
Having guided the family business to
immense growth in his time as CEO
and then chair of the Sanimax board,
Couture co-chairs the University
Properties committee of St. Lawrence’s
Board of Trustees, and is similarly
guiding St. Lawrence toward strategic
planning that will directly benefit future
students. Looking long-term, he sees the
real essence of his gift as “an important
step toward moving the Strategic Map
We know that student housing and
new residence halls are important,” says
Couture. “The living experience at St.
Lawrence is great, but the next phase of
investment in student housing is urgent.
I didn’t want to wait to die to make a
difference. I thought I could make that
difference now.”
When asked what he feels the return
on his investment will be, Couture sums
it up in three words: “Top-quality edu-
cation.” That, he says, is an investment
that will pay dividends for the next
generations of Laurentians.
Th Places
We Call Home
a Fami l y g i f t Led by a ndré c outure
s t rengthens a Laurent i an Legac y
by Megan culhane galbraith
with a background in higher
education communications,
Megan galbraith is a freelance
writer who lives in c ambridge, n.y.
From left, Martin, Julie and andré couture.
photo provided