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

Michael D. DeGagné has been president and CEO of Indspire since 2020. Indspire is an Indigenous national charity that 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, 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 the management of Indigenous programs and as a negotiator for comprehensive land claims. In 1998, Michael 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, focussing on Indigenous post-secondary success, and master’s degrees in administration, law, and public ethics. 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 a professor of sociology at the University of Toronto Scarborough, his alma mater. 

He has served on numerous boards in the health and university sectors, including as chair of Ottawa’s Queensway Carleton Hospital and chair of the Child Welfare League of Canada. He is a past chair of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, a director of the board 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. In 2018, he received the Indspire Award for Public Service. He holds honorary doctorates of law from Dalhousie University and Ontario Tech University.

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