David Sharpe's Gift Creates Award for Indigenous Law Students

David Sharpe, Law'95
Mohawk innovator David Sharpe, Law’95, donor of a new award for Indigenous law students.
It is a pleasure and an honour to be able to share in Queen’s commitment to making higher education more accessible to Indigenous students.

David Sharpe, Law’95, has been helping Queen’s Law reach out to Indigenous JD prospects for the past four years as a volunteer ambassador. Now he has bolstered that support with a generous $50,000 gift, creating The David Sharpe Indigenous Law Student Award for upper-year studies.

Sharpe, CEO of Toronto’s privately held lender Bridging Finance Inc., Chair Emeritus of the Board of Governors for First Nations University of Canada, and recently appointed Dean's Council member, says, “It is a pleasure and an honour to be able to share in Queen’s commitment to making higher education more accessible to Indigenous students.” 

The award, valued at $10,000 per year for five years (2017-2021), is given on the basis of students’ contributions to the law school or broader university community to enhance understandingand respect for Indigenous knowledge, culture, governance and perspectives on law, as well as good academic standing and general proficiency in JD studies.

Two students may share the award after completion of first or second year of the JD program. The first Sharpe Award recipients are Law’18 students Jason Mercredi and Kayla Stephenson. “This award will be of tremendous assistance to our Indigenous students,” says Heather Cole, Law’96 (Artsci’91, MPA’00), Assistant Dean of Students.

“Queen’s Law has made a strong commitment to recruiting more Indigenous students and creating a law school that supports diversity and cultural awareness and understanding. We are grateful to alumni like David Sharpe who support these efforts.”

In a timely law course he developed especially for his alma mater and introduced last winter, Sharpe also began teaching students how to negotiate in a First Nations context.

“Queen’s is developing solid Indigenous leaders,” says Sharpe, a member of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte in Ontario. “I am committed to backing this endeavour and honouring the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.”

Story by Lisa Graham as published in Queen's Law Supporting Excellence