Leura Garrett Canary '78
Alumni Achievement Award, 2011
Pictured left to right: Leura Garrett Canary '78, National Alumni Board President Mary K. McGuffey '94, and J. Cameron West, president of the College.
Leura Garrett Canary, a native of Uriah, Alabama, left high school a year early, entering Huntingdon in the fall of 1975 at the age of 17. She became a charter member of the Chi Omega sorority, serving as the chapter’s first rush chairman and pledge trainer. She was a Huntingdon Hawks cheerleader, a three-year Huntingdon Host, and was elected to the Homecoming Court. She was a member of Tri-Sigma and Alpha Beta honor societies and was named Outstanding Business Major her senior year. Ms. Canary graduated cum laude from Huntingdon in May 1978, just three years after entering as a college freshman.
Following graduation, she attended law school at the University of Alabama, earning her juris doctorate in 1981. Immediately after graduating law school, she worked as an assistant attorney general in the Criminal Appellate Division of the Alabama Attorney General’s Office. She was appointed interim United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama and was presidentially-appointed and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in November 2001, serving until the summer of 2011.
As U.S. Attorney, Leura was responsible for the supervision of the criminal and civil practices of the United States Attorney’s Office. She has served as a member of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee’s Violent Crime Subcommittee and Controlled Substances Subcommittee, the AGAC’s Office of Management and Budget Subcommittee, and chaired the AGAC’s Child Exploitation Working Group. She implemented Project Safe Neighborhoods, a national program aimed at reducing gun crime throughout the United States; which in the Middle District of Alabama alone increased the prosecution of federal gun cases from fewer than a dozen per year to approximately 800 cases since 2003. In 2004, the Middle District of Alabama received a national award for the Project Safe Neighborhoods Program.
She has spoken in many forums on the subject of child exploitation, including the annual meeting of the Internet Crimes against Children Task Force and many other meetings of federal, state, and local child advocacy groups. From 2005 until 2010 she chaired the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee’s Child Exploitation Working Group, and spearheaded the proposal of Project Safe Childhood, a national child exploitation prevention program, which was formally implemented by the United States Attorney General in May 2006.
Leura is a member of the Alabama State Bar Association. She serves as chair of the Academic Affairs Committee and member of the Executive Committee of the Huntingdon Board of Trustees, and has previously served on the Huntingdon National Alumni Association Board of Directors. She attends First United Methodist Church of Montgomery, where she has taught Sunday School for the past 7 years, and currently serves on the FUMC Board of Trustees. She is married to William J. Canary, and the couple has two children, Will (17), and Margaret (12).