Jonathan Collin (Social Science Education Option, 2008) is the coordinator of the bursary program at the Aleo Foundation, formerly known as the Fondation de l’athlète d’excellence du Québec.

A former Champlain Cavaliers football star, Collin knows a little something about excelling on and off the field. In 2008, he was named Champlain College Saint Lambert Male Athlete of the Year and an RSEQ College Football League MVP (AA Div 2). He also took home the John Cleghorn Scholarship for Academic and Athletic Success.

After joining in the first year of the football program’s existence, Collin was a rising football star, helping to propel his team to a provincial championship win in 2008.

“It was a dream season. The stars just aligned and we went undefeated and won,” he recalled.

After graduating from Champlain, Collin played for the McGill Redman where he was named Rookie of the Year in Quebec. The future was bright.

Then he tore his ACL and his athletic career came to an abrupt halt.

“I was riding really high,” he said. “But the first game of the season, I did a number on my leg. It was like an American movie storyline,” he joked.

Collin said he was always conscious of the fact that a career in sport wouldn’t last forever and felt it was important to have a plan B. At the time of his injury, he was pursuing an Education degree at McGill University and thought he would go on to become a teacher.

After he got hurt, Collin suddenly had a lot of free time without training, practices and games to prepare for.

“I decided to get involved in the community,” he said. Collin joined groups like the McGill Varsity Council, players’ associations, Friends of McGill Football and the McGill Alumni Association.

“That opened my views into working in the athlete community,” he said. His continued volunteer engagement won him a bursary from the Aleo foundation and helped him make connections with the team there.

While still a student, Collin began working with the foundation on a project to encourage Quebec’s top student athletes to keep their talents in the province. After graduation, he was hired to coordinate the bursary program – a perfect fit given his previous experience as an athlete and funding recipient.

Collin has been working with the Foundation since 2014, meeting with student athletes, interviewing and selecting candidates and maintaining relationships with former recipients.

Beyond funding, the foundation also provides academic resources to student athletes at the college and university level. Drawing from his own experience, Collin emphasizes the importance of career planning.

“Student athletes on the Olympic track, they are so focused on their sport, and you have to be, but there is also an after,” Collin said. “Our mission is to help educate them. To help them understand that there is a next step in your life.”

The foundation gives out over a million dollars a year in student athlete bursaries, including funding several current students at Champlain Saint-Lambert which makes for a nice full-circle moment for Collin.

Looking back on his days with the Cavaliers, Collin said he was grateful to be part of a tight-knit team of guys who became like a family.

Still an involved member of the community, Collin became a board member on the Champlain College Saint-Lambert Foundation in 2022.

Collin’s advice for current students and recent grads: “In terms of Cegep experience – stay on campus. Don’t be like a commuter. Don’t just come in for your class and go home because you’re missing out on a lot of the experience. It’s fleeting, it’s a short period of time and you want to meet as many people as you can, grow your network. You never know when those things might be valuable to you later on. The people that I knew remembered me, and it led to my current career.”