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Dr. Mike DeGagné

Doctor of Laws, honoris causa

Dr. Mike DeGagné

In recognition of his lifetime of work in advancing Indigenous health and education, his national efforts to promote Indigenous reconciliation and healing, and his leadership legacy across Canada’s post-secondary sector, the university proudly confers upon Dr. Mike DeGagné the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.

An Ojibway from the Animakee Wa Zhing 37 First Nation in northwestern Ontario, Dr. DeGagné is President and CEO of Indspire, an Indigenous national charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples for their long-term individual benefit, the benefit of their families and communities, and of Canada.

Dr. DeGagné was appointed President and Vice-Chancellor of Nipissing University in 2013, becoming one of the first Indigenous presidents of a Canadian public university. At Nipissing, he dedicated much of his work to Indigenous issues and ensured the 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, managing the institution’s transition to a university.

His career includes working with the federal government in the management of Indigenous programs and as a negotiator of comprehensive land claims. He was Founding Executive Director of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, a national organization dedicated to addressing the legacy of Canada’s Indian Residential School System. He is the Chair of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Dr. DeGagné holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto, a Master of Education degree from Central Michigan University, Master of Law degree from York University’s Osgoode Hall, a Master of Philosophy degree in Public Ethics from Saint Paul University in Ottawa, and a PhD from Michigan State University. He also holds an honorary degree from Dalhousie University.

He has given numerous presentations nationally and internationally on issues related to Indigenous health, residential schools, law, reconciliation and governance. He has co-edited and co-authored a number of publications in Canada and Australia on reconciliation and healing.

A recipient of the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, he has served on numerous boards of directors in the health and university sectors, including Chair of Ottawa’s Queensway Carleton Hospital and Chair of the Child Welfare League of Canada. He received an Indspire Award for Public Service and is an inductee of the Nipissing District Human Rights Hall of Fame.