By Michelle Hibler

The University of Ottawa Alumni Association has named Telfer alumnus Jean Desgagné (BCom 1986) as the recipient of the Commitment to the University Award. This award recognizes an extraordinary alumnus who has made significant contributions to the advancement of uOttawa through their dedication, generosity and commitment to its values.

Jean Desgagné’s commitment to the advancement of youth, particularly students at the Telfer School of Management, is unwavering. “I’ve been very lucky and very successful in my career. When you have that kind of luck and success, part of the obligation is to pay a little bit back,” he says.

President and CEO, TMX Global Solutions, Insights and Analytics Strategies, Desgagné (BCom ‘86) has held increasingly senior positions at some of Canada's leading financial institutions. 

When he established himself in Toronto some 25 years ago, he found that “uOttawa didn’t have a profile here.”  He set out to change that.

“I’ve worked very hard with the school to improve the profile of the university so that graduates have a fighting chance at capital market jobs in Toronto,” he says. Those efforts have included creating associates programs most everywhere he has worked. At TMX, the Associates Program started with 5 students and within 3 years has grown to 20. 

A member of the Regional Campaign Cabinet for the University of Ottawa and Regional Chair of the Telfer School’s Dean’s advisory board in Toronto, Desgagné also contributed to the creation of the Telfer Financial Research and Learning Lab and was the first donor to its capital fund. A mentor with the Telfer Capital Markets program, he has served as judge at finance competitions over many years and spoken at numerous events.

In 2009 Desgagné and his wife endowed the Desgagné/Soden Family Scholarship Fund for female commerce students. “While I applaud all the work that going on to get women in senior roles,” he says, “I’m acutely aware that we need to get the pipeline going at the beginning.” 

“It’s a win- win for the students, for the school, and for me,” he says. “I can look back and say I did something good here.”

He received the Trudeau Medal, the highest honour given by the Telfer School of Management to its alumni, in 2009.

About the awards

Since 2011, the University of Ottawa Alumni Association has recognized outstanding graduates through its annual Awards of Excellence. Meet this year’s six exceptional individuals who are giving back to the University and the community by reading their stories.