Faculty of Law

Faculty of Law
Faculty of Law

Calgary’s ‘force of nature’ wins first Corry alumni award

(May 26, 2016)

Leslie O’Donoghue, QC, Law’88, winner of the first J.A. (Alec) Corry Distinguished Alumni Award.
Leslie O’Donoghue, QC, Law’88, winner of the first J.A. (Alec) Corry Distinguished Alumni Award.

Ask her Queen’s Law classmates and legal colleagues, and they’ll tell you no “ifs, ands or buts:” the Dean’s Council Awards Committee couldn’t have chosen a more deserving inaugural winner of the J.A. (Alec) Corry Distinguished Alumni Award than Leslie O’Donoghue, QC, Law’88.
 
The award celebrates a grad who excels in a career “outside the traditional practice of law.” That’s something O’Donoghue has done in spades. Her longtime friend Blair Yorke-Slader, Law'82, Vice-Chair of Bennett Jones LLP, says, “Leslie has been a leading figure – a force of nature – in the Calgary legal, business and philanthropic community for many years."
 
Following graduation, O'Donoghue went on to a highly successful 11-year legal career, rising to become a partner at Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP. She joined Agrium in 1999 as VP General Counsel and since “making the leap from law into business development” in 2009, she has earned a reputation as one of Alberta’s most influential lawyers and most respected business leaders.
 
O’Donoghue is Executive VP of Calgary-based Agrium Inc., a globally recognized manufacturer of crop nutrients and retailer of agricultural inputs. In addition, she’s a dedicated community leader and a selfless champion of many worthy causes, including the United Way and YWCA. What’s more, she has served on Pembina Pipeline Corporation board of directors and has been hailed as one of the Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in Canada; one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People; and as a four-time honoree, was inducted into the Women’s Executive Network’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women Hall of Fame. 
 
Through it all, she has been a loyal alumna. A past member of the Dean’s Council, she continues to support her alma mater both financially and as a member of the Alberta Alumni Council.
 
As she was accepting her Corry Award at a May 2 reception in Calgary, O’Donoghue reflected on what “a gift and an opportunity” it was for her to complete her legal studies at Queen’s. “It’s a privilege and a joy for me to be associated with the Alumni Council and with all of the great and exciting things that are happening at Queen’s Law,” she said.
 
“I'm thrilled to receive the Corry Award. Recognition by my alumni peers is most humbling, and it means a great deal to me.”