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President & CEO

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

President & CEO, Indspire

Michael D. DeGagné has been the President & CEO of Indspire since 2020. Indspire is an Indigenous national charity which supports and invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people across Turtle Island.

He was appointed President and Vice Chancellor of Nipissing University 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 played a significant role in the Indigenization of the post-secondary education sector. In 2020 he 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, a role he played until its closure in 2013.

Dr. DeGagné holds a PhD from Michigan State University, focusing 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, 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 is currently Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto Scarborough, his alma mater.

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 is currently the past-Chair of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, a Board Director of the Global Centre for Pluralism, and Vice Chair of the Collegium of the University of St. Michael’s College.

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 holds Honorary Doctorates of Law from Dalhousie University and Ontario Tech University.

Dr. DeGagné is a citizen of the Animakee Wa Zhing 37 First Nation (Northwest Angle #37 First Nation) in northwestern Ontario.

Speaking Engagement Request

To request Mike to speak at your upcoming event, please contact us at speaking@indspire.ca.