HEC Paris Pays Homage to Donator Yves Blin
HEC Paris honored the memory of Yves Blin, one of its most generous donors, by unveiling a plaque in his name under one of the campus oak trees. 65 years after graduating from its ranks, Blin bequeathed close to €2 million euros to the school’s foundation.
“My cousin Yves was the pride of the family. His ascension from a modest home in Compiègne to the ranks of HEC was exemplary.” Emmanuel Lebrun stood by the imposing oak tree handpicked to reflect the 88-year-old’s qualities: “He was discreet, faithful to his school and a hard worker.” Nestled near the T building classrooms, the tree allowed for a proximity with HEC students which the former banker had requested before passing away a year earlier.
Four of the 220 students from Blin’s promotion attended the ceremony in which a commemorative plaque was unveiled in his honor. One was Didier Pineau-Valencienne, a 1954 graduate who, as delegate for the promotion, has been one of the school’s most active fundraisers: “Yes, Yves was discreet but he had a few cards up his sleeves. Ten years ago, when I went knocking on his door for funds, he told me: ‘I’ll hold back just now, thanks. But be prepared for a small surprise later on.”
The “small” surprise turned out to be HEC Foundation’s first-ever universal donation, a considerable sum which reflected Blin’s attachment to the school. “After the loss of his father at 16, Yves’ family found themselves in a precarious financial situation,” the HEC Foundation General Delegate Delphine Colson told those assembled under the oak tree. “Yves brilliantly succeeded in his entrance exams (ed. 24th out of 220) but depended entirely on a Chamber of Commerce scholarship to continue his studies. We found a letter written to the HEC Dean by Yves’ mother years later. It testifies to these pivotal moments. Here’s an extract: ‘We cannot thank you enough, Sir, as we witness my son - who has gone through such an ordeal with the death of his father – grow; at present, he is armed for life in a solid and serious manner.’"
Yves Blin devoted much of his professional life to his banking career in Geneva. The Foundation manager Marianne Duval presented a touching photographic retrospective tracing his ascension and his regular commitment to HEC reunion dinners. A fine skier and lover of the high seas, Blin returned from Switzerland to a quiet retirement in the 11th district of the French capital before passing away in June 2018. He is the fifth donor to be thus honored by HEC, following last October’s homage to Francis Gautier (H44) below one of the campus’ Remarkable Trees next to the school lake.