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Supporting diversity in law

September 1, 2017

Clarke and Family
Cindy Clarke, BA’93, LLB’97, her husband Chris Osborne, BSc’93, MSc’94 and family.

When Cindy Clarke, BA’93, LLB’97, reflects on her Western Experience, it’s the diversity of students and welcoming environment she most appreciates.

To continue to foster that experience for future Western Law students, Clarke, and her husband Chris Osborne, BSc’93, MSc’94, donated $8,750 to establish the Clarke-Osborne Family Entrance scholarship, awarded annually until the 2021/22 academic year to a full-time undergraduate student entering their first year of Law.

The scholarship is based on academic achievement, leadership and, in particular, preference will be given to an Indigenous student.

“I wouldn’t want anyone to think they won’t fit in or won’t have a home at Western. Diversity is essential and providing Indigenous Canadians with training and opportunities is critically important,” said Clarke, a partner and National Group Head, Specialized Litigation, with one of Canada’s largest law firms Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.

The award was established in loving memory of Clarke’s father, the late Honourable Justice Richard N. Clarke, BA’62, LLB’67, who grew up in Moose Factory Island in northern Ontario and had close ties to the local community.

“We wanted to honour his background, his youth and where he came from. He worked with and remained friends with many members of the community – and did a lot to support them.”

While Clarke recognizes the award alone will not “solve the problems of the world,” she does hope it alleviates some financial pressure and gives students the opportunity to focus on what brings them joy and satisfaction. Above all, she would like entering Law students to feel recognition and validation for all of their hard work and effort.

“I hope they receive some inspiration and feel they’re being acknowledged. Heading into law school is a tricky time. There’s all kinds of talk about how it’s competitive and the environment is changing and I just want to give them that boost of confidence,” Clarke said.

Clarke and Osborne have also supported Western for years, through monthly donations, in support of the institution that brought them together and set them on their current path.

“Both my husband and I recognize Western has provided us a tremendous foundation. The combination of our experience, the education we received and the many, many important friends we made, and continue to have, from Western all contribute to us living a fulfilled life. We want to value that and plan to continue to support it.”

This article appeared in the 2017 edition of Annual Impact
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