The Blondeau auditorium, an iconic venue on the HEC campus, was destroyed in a fire last night. Inaugurated in 1964 by Charles De Gaulle, after the school’s relocation to Jouy-en-Josas, the campus amphitheater hosted conferences featuring some of the biggest names in the world of business, politics, and international economics, from Bill Gates to Esther Duflo. Here are some of the most iconic moments in the history of Blondeau.


1. Bill Gates

The American billionaire and philanthropist had come to speak to students about his journey in February 2007. The conference was organized by the HEC Debates club, and the co-founder of Microsoft was awarded an honorary prize.


2. Michael E. Porter

The renowned economist and professor at Harvard University, an honorary professor of the HEC group, had come to give a demonstration on the fundamental principles of corporate strategy in September 2002 in front of a packed audience.


3. Pierre Bourdieu

We’re going back in time! The sociologist who developed the theory of cultural capital – then a professor at the Collège de France and himself an HEC graduate – delivered his expertise on social sciences and democracy in November 1995.


4. Glee Club HEC Paris 

The Blondeau auditorium wasn’t just about lectures and classes. It was also a hub of student life, where numerous shows and musicals brought the student body to life. Here is a performance by the HEC Paris Glee Club from December 2010, an event organized by the Music Addict association that drew an audience of 600 people.



5. Public Speaking Competitions

Finally, the amphitheater served as a platform for numerous public speaking competitions, as the art of eloquence is highly regarded at HEC. Just this year, the three winners of the HEC 2023 Eloquence Competition, organized by the student association Le Lab’Oratoire with financial support from L’Oréal Paris, delivered their performances in front of 400 students and a prestigious jury.


But who was the famous André Blondeau?

A former director of education at the CCIP, he played a pivotal role in the transfer of HEC from its original location on Rue de Tocqueville in the 17th arrondissement of Paris to the site in Jouy-en-Josas, Yvelines (78). Here is a little anecdote: Bruno Berthon, the president of the student union (BDE) for the class of ’67, was very close to him and affectionately called him “Papa.”

Front page photo: HEC’s Musical Comedy Association performing their show “Faute de Frappe” in 2012 © HEC Paris

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