University of Calgary

Faces of Philanthropy

September 30, 2009
A graduate scholarship in the Faculty of Law has been created in memory of Charles Berard.

Vermilion Energy creates law scholarship in memory of corporate secretary

Charles W. Berard will forever be remembered as a highly respected business and family man who always had kind words for everyone. A longtime partner at law firm Macleod Dixon in Calgary, Charles was also the corporate secretary for Vermilion Energy, a Calgary-based international oil and gas producer.

Charles—his friends and family called him Charlie—will be further remembered for his great sense of humour, incredible work ethic, kindness, selflessness and willingness to help others. When he passed away in February, friends and family mourned the loss of an irreplaceable man.

Upon his passing, Vermilion Energy created the Charles W. Berard Graduate Scholarship in Natural Resources and Environmental Law, which will be awarded annually to a graduate student in the Faculty of Law.

“Charlie was a close friend and key part of our success,” says Lorenzo Donadeo, president and CEO of Vermilion Energy. “He made some big contributions to our success, and this scholarship is one of the ways we want to recognize that.”

The $2,500 scholarship will be awarded each year to a student who exemplifies Vermilion’s core values of excellence, trust, respect and responsibility—values that Charlie displayed every day in both his professional and personal life.

Vermilion hopes to not only contribute financially to the students, but to get to know them and act as a mentor.

“I think we’d like to find bright young lawyers and help them make the kind of difference that Charlie made, whether on a business or personal level,” says Donadeo.

Charlie’s son Matthew and daughter Cassandra agree. “We’d like to help someone whose values reflect both Dad’s and Vermilion’s,” they say. “Our Dad set the bar pretty high and we want to find someone who will do the same throughout their career.”

As for what Charlie would think of the scholarship in his name? Everyone is in agreement.  “Charles would think it was a lot of fuss over him and he’d be embarrassed,” says his wife Merelie. “But I know he’d also be very proud and appreciative of Vermilion and would think that it was great that Lorenzo and Vermilion are helping young prospective lawyers get through school,” she says.

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