Dedication to their community and to those around them and a desire to make the world a better place are the hallmarks of a V.I.P. – a Vanier Very Important Person. This year, the College is pleased to announce that Business Administration’s George Dracopoulos, is the Vanier Very Important Person at the 2011-2012 Graduation Ceremony. George was selected for this honour because of his dedication, his vision and his persistence in serving Vanier and in particular the Business Administration program.
George is not only a Vanier alumnus but also a local resident who is proud of his roots: proud of having attended and graduated from Vanier, and proud of being from Saint-Laurent. Although George has spent most of his life in Saint-Laurent, that has not stopped him from thinking big and has not put a limit on George’s vision or his ambitions for both Vanier and the Business Administration program.
When George was Coordinator of the Business Administration program from 2004-07 he developed a plan and a vision to not only improve the program but to attract top students and retain them by offering possibilities for growth and activities that supported active learning for students. He challenged the department to push the limits and encouraged the creation of a case competition that evolved into the Vanier College BDC Case Challenge which has grown into the most prestigious college level case competition in the country. Although the case challenge is organized by fellow colleague David Moscovitz, George is his right-hand man helping organize the event, finding potential judges, speaking with representatives, recruiting colleges from across Canada, and wooing marketing experts to write the cases used in the competition.
As well, George is the co-author of four business textbooks, published by Pearson Education, used by universities and colleges across the nation. The latest is Business Essentials released in 2012. George has also traveled throughout North America speaking about various marketing and business subjects. At every conference or public speaking engagement where he participates, George always has his antenna up and frequently meets people whom he invites to partner with Vanier on a project or to participate in the Case Challenge.
But George’s reach goes beyond this continent, and eight years ago he set about finding a partner for international projects and exchanges. First, he established a partnership between the Vanier Business Administration program and Cégep André-Laurendeau to teach French exchange students in a bilingual program. Then, after tireless research and meetings with schools in France, he initiated Vanier’s own exchange programs with several French I.U.T.’s (Instituts Universitaires de Technologie). To date hundreds of students from France have come to Vanier to spend full semesters studying business and completing internships with local companies and organizations. Expanding on this exchange program, George, with the help of colleagues Claude Beausoleil and Stefan Kuch, then established internships in France for Vanier Business students such that every spring and summer, several students spend six to eight weeks working for a French company. George also shared his contacts to help launch a student exchange program for the Micropublishing & Hypermedia department, which through the strong efforts of Program member Bruce Norton, is now thriving.
The latest news is that the exchange program has expanded and Vanier will welcome students from Belgium in the Autumn 2012 semester. As well, during the coming year, George has been invited to teach classes and workshops in both France and in Belgium.
As this year’s V.I.P George has the opportunity to award a scholarship to a graduating student of his choice. He has chosen Julia Ferreira for consistently demonstrating leadership skills and for her ability to be a team player. “From her first semester when she won a public speaking contest against students from other local colleges, to her final semester where she was a member of the award-winning Vanier Marketing Team at various case competitions, to her final 8-week internship in France, Julia has remained engaged and committed and never backs down from a challenge,” says George.