The Yukon University Board of Governors announced via press release on March 25 Dr. Mike DeGagné as president and vice chancellor of Yukon University. (Submitted)

Yukon University names new president

Yukon University’s board of governors has named Mike DeGagné as its first president and vice-chancellor.

In a press release March 25, Yukon College said that DeGagné, who’s coming to the Yukon from Nipissing University in Ontario, will begin a five-year term non July 1.

Although the first president of the institution under its university status, he will be the eighth president overall of the territory’s only post-secondary institution, replacing outgoing Yukon College president Karen Barnes.

The release notes that DeGagné, who became one of the first Indigenous presidents of a Canadian public university when he took over at Nipissing, has “dedicated much of his life to Indigenous issues and ensuring Nipissing University took a leading role in the Indigenization of the post-secondary education sector.”

The university also “experienced growth in both its graduate and undergraduate programs as well as a 70 per cent increase in research funding” and “strengthened its position as one of the top universities in the country for student experience, mental health services, residence experience and overall student satisfaction.”

“The establishment of Yukon University is a significant milestone in our country’s history,” DeGagné said in the press release. “I am inspired by the tremendous dedication to students, the northern-focused applied research, and commitment to Indigenization and Reconciliation present at this dynamic institution. Together, with our community partners and guidance from Yukon First Nations, we can build a future that excites our youth and drives Yukon to greater prosperity.”

DeGagné has a PhD in education focusing on Indigenous post-secondary success from Michigan State University. He has also worked with the federal government in management of Indigenous programs, a comprehensive land claims negotiator and the founding executive director of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. He’s also a receipt of the Order of Canada, among other recognitions.

Contact Jackie Hong at

Yukon College

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