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Mike DeGagné, C.M., O.Ont., PhD, L.L.D. (Hon)

Michael D DeGagné is the President & CEO of Indspire, an Indigenous national charity which supports and invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people across Turtle Island.  

He was appointed Nipissing University President and Vice Chancellor in 2013, becoming one of the first Indigenous presidents of a Canadian public university. While President of Nipissing, Dr. DeGagné dedicated much of his work to Indigenous issues and ensuring that Nipissing University took a leading role in the Indigenization of the post-secondary education sector. He later served as the first President of Yukon University, a new hybrid post-secondary institution in Whitehorse, Yukon.  

His career includes working with the federal government in management of Indigenous programs and as a negotiator of comprehensive land claims. In 1998, Dr. DeGagné became the founding Executive Director of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, a national Indigenous organization dedicated to addressing the legacy of Canada’s Indian Residential School System.  

Dr. DeGagné holds a PhD from Michigan State University, focussing on Indigenous post-secondary success, and Masters degrees in Administration, Law, and Public Ethics. Since 2001, Dr. DeGagné has given numerous presentations across Canada on issues of Indigenous health, residential schools, law, reconciliation, and governance. Internationally, he has brought the same message to the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. He has co-edited and co-authored several publications in Canada and Australia on reconciliation and healing, including the “Speaking My Truth” series.  

He has served on numerous boards of directors in the health and university sectors including as Chairman of Ottawa’s Queensway Carleton Hospital and Chairman of the Child Welfare League of Canada. He currently serves as the Chair of the Federation for Humanities and Social Sciences. He is a recipient of the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. Most recently, he received an Indspire Award for Public Service and was inducted into the Nipissing District Human Rights Hall of Fame. He has an Honorary Doctorate of Law from Dalhousie University.  

Dr. DeGagné is a member of the Animakee Wa Zhing 37 First Nation, and is also Professor of Sociology at University of Toronto Scarborough, his alma mater.