On Sunday, September 21, 2008, the Faculty of Law and its Young Alumni Advisory Board presented Dominique Lapierre, BCL/LLB’98, with the first-ever Charles D. Gonthier Outstanding Young Alumni Award.
This new prize was created by the Young Alumni Advisory Board (YAAB) to complement the F.R. Scott and James Robb awards – and to recognize the significant contribution of an alumnus who has graduated within the past decade. As Dean Kasirer explains, the award is intended to honour those who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and helped to inspire aspiring jurists, whether through professional achievement, community service or commitment to the Faculty of Law.
"The Faculty and its young alumni decided to name the prize in honour of Justice Charles Doherty Gonthier, BCL’51, to celebrate his career-long commitment to youth. Since he has joined the Faculty as Wainwright Fellow, Justice Gonthier has put young people first, helping students involved in research on law, the environment and sustainable development," says Dean Kasirer.
He adds that Dominique was an ideal candidate for several reasons. "I see this same commitment, this same generosity, this same determination to help young people in Dominique Lapierre. As a student, she was deeply involved in the social and intellectual life of this Faculty. As president of the Young Alumni Board, she redoubled her involvement. Charles Gonthier and Dominique Lapierre share this same spirit, which is an inspiration to our students and to us all."
Incoming YAAB co-chairs Marc-André Sansregret, BCL/LLB’00, and Doree Levine, BCL/LLB’04, also offer praise for Dominique Lapierre: "Her contribution to the YAAB and the Law Faculty has been invaluable. It needed to be commended. Much if not most, of what the Young Alumni Board is today is a result of Dominique's hard work and dedication. She has set the stage for the success of the YAAB in the coming years. We felt that she deserved to receive the first of Gonthier award."
Dominique Lapierre was astonished to receive the award, joking that "it’s my 10th year as an alumnus, so actually I thought the award would go to somebody younger."
The Young Alumni Advisory Board was founded in 1998, and Dominique became involved with the group shortly after, serving as its chairperson from 2004 to 2008. Dominique also helped in finding different ways to reconnect young alumni with the Faculty such as a family BBQ, the creation of an award, drafting contribution reminder letters and helping set up a web page for the YAAB.
"When they called to tell me, I was surprised. But I was also thrilled – there are so many of our alumni doing so many incredible things all over the world, so many eminent jurists who count among our graduates. But I’m not one of them. I am really involved, but in a variety of everyday aspects of the community. So it meant a lot for me to know that my contribution was special – to know that we did not have to be extraordinary in one large thing, but could be extraordinary for accomplishing many small things."
Dominique has worked as a feature film lawyer for Telefilm Canada, and currently serves as Telefilm’s Deputy Director of Television for the French Market. She plans to remain involved with YAAB in an advisory capacity.