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Three Queen’s community members appointed to Order of Canada

Two Queen’s University graduate students and an alumnus have been appointed to the Order of Canada.

Governor General Julie Payette announced 114 appointments to the Order of Canada on Friday, Nov. 27, including Michele Leering, a lawyer and the executive director of the Community Advocacy & Legal Centre who is currently pursuing a PhD in the Faculty of Law, and Tessa Virtue, an Olympic gold medal-winning figure skater and student at Smith School of Business.

Michele Leering
Michele Leering

Leering is being recognized for “her dedication to helping underprivileged and marginalized populations gain access to legal services and the justice system.”

“Being nominated for this award is an honour because it recognizes the value of the community-based justice work being carried out by the staff of Ontario’s community legal clinics and our efforts to ensure equal access to justice, human rights, legal literacy, and the ‘legal health’ of people living on a low income,” Leering says.

Her PhD thesis documents the imperatives for legal education reform, specifically the contribution of reflective practice as a professional learning theory of benefit to legal educators, law students, and legal practitioners. Her research compares approaches in Canadian and Australian law schools in traditional law and experiential learning courses.

Virtue is one of the most-decorated Canadian skaters of all-time and is being appointed for “her unparalleled excellence in ice dancing and for inspiring the next generation of Canadian figure skaters.” Along with her ice dance partner Scott Moir, who is also being appointed, she captured the gold medal at the 2010 and 2018 Winter Olympics, as well as the silver medal in 2014. The duo are also three-time world champions (2010, 2012, 2017).

Tessa Virtue
Tessa Virtue

“Feeling all wrapped up in emotion … Upon learning about being invested into the Order of Canada, I couldn’t help but think that as a kid, I would have never known to dream so big. I am humbled by this honour,” Virtue posted to her Twitter account.

At Queen’s she is pursuing an Executive MBA through Game Plan, which includes a partnership between the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Smith School of Business. Through this strategic partnership Team Canada athletes are able to further their education and build their business skills after years of competitive sport. 

Also appointed to the Order of Canada is alumnus Anthony Olmsted Hendrie (Arts’60), a lawyer from Ottawa who has spent 60 years volunteering and donating to many charities and non-profits. At Queen’s, he established the Anthony O. Hendrie Bursary to support students from the Georgian Triangle area of Southern Ontario.

The Order of Canada was established in 1967. Queen’s alumnus and Member of Parliament John Matheson (Arts’40, LLD’80) was a driving force in its development. He said the Tricolour Society at Queen’s served as a model for the Order of Canada.