September 26, 2018
Congratulations to Michael (Mike) McDonald, QC (LLB 1988), recipient of this year’s Alumni Builder Award for the Allard School of Law. Established last year by alumni UBC to mark the alumni association’s 100th anniversary, the Alumni Builder Award recognizes outstanding individuals for service, dedication, and contribution to the university and alumni community.
Mike is a partner at Clark Wilson and Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Business Group. He originates from a small Aboriginal community in northern Manitoba. His parents instilled in him the values of dedication and humility such that his success is measured by the people he serves. He is proud to be a part of the solution to helping Aboriginal communities and businesses engage meaningfully and successfully. Mike is a member of the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba.
Mike is dedicated to supporting Indigenous students pursue higher education and to promoting the values of Truth and Reconciliation at UBC. He has been an active and regular supporter of the Indigenous Legal Studies Program at the Allard School of Law for almost three decades. He has volunteered countless hours to ensure that Indigenous law students feel welcomed at UBC, at the law school and into the legal profession. From hosting the annual Indigenous Legal Studies Program Christmas party at his home, to contributing to and assisting with numerous fundraising, welcoming and networking events throughout the year, Mike is always willing to help. In addition, Mike has served as an informal mentor to countless law students, articling students and junior associates.
Mike’s efforts to support Indigenous students reach well beyond the law school. At the UBC Sauder School of Business, he teaches ‘An Introduction and Overview of Aboriginal Business’ to all third year business students. He brings in Indigenous professionals and business leaders as guest speakers in the hopes of raising awareness and building Indigenous engagement in the business community. As a student, Mike played in the Jr. Varsity Hockey Program and developed many lifelong friendships. As an alumnus, he continues to play with other UBC Men’s Varsity Alumni and supports current and recently graduated players of the UBC Men’s Hockey Team, particularly Indigenous players.
In the legal community, Mike is a member of the BC Law Society Bencher's Working Group on Truth & Reconciliation as well as the Credentials Committee. He has also served on the board of the Indigenous Bar Association and was the Director of the Indigenous Bar Association Scholarship Foundation from 2012 to 2016. When he was appointed to the rank of Queen’s Counsel in 2017, he was recognized for his leadership in the field of First Nations Business Law. Known for creating innovative commercial agreements through joint ventures and partnerships between major corporations and First Nations throughout Canada, Mike has pioneered significant business growth for many First Nations and their members’ entrepreneurs while building greater awareness, understanding and reconciliation within the business community through business relationships.
Congratulations Mike, and thank you for the many significant contributions that you have made at UBC and within the legal community. Your efforts will no doubt have a lasting impact on the next generation of Indigenous lawyers and community leaders.