Senator Raymonde Gagné, C.M., O.M.
Raymonde Gagné was born in Saint-Pierre-Jolys, Manitoba, and has been an important advocate for French education and language, dedicating a large part of her professional career to both. She first began as a high school teacher and later became principal. In the early 1980s, she began a long productive career at the Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface. Her initial appointment was as a community college teacher and she later became the program director. She subsequently held the position of Director of New Programs. In 2003, she became the first female president of the Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface, a position she held until her retirement in 2014. During her tenure in that role, she spearheaded a fundraising campaign called VISION, the largest in the institution’s history, which generated $18 million for the construction of a new health sciences building. In addition, under her leadership, the former Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface officially became l’Université de Saint-Boniface in June 2011. This status allowed the university to broaden its horizon and put Saint-Boniface in step with Manitoba’s other universities. Gagné’s long-standing dream became a reality.
Throughout her career, she has played an active role on several committees and boards and became involved in the creation and implementation of many projects that were successful thanks to her leadership. She has contributed to the establishment of the Chambre de commerce francophone and the Centre de santé Saint-Boniface, to name a few. She was involved in creating the Conseil communauté en santé au Manitoba, now called Santé en français. She also maintained ties with various councils, organizations and establishments such as the Saint Boniface Hospital, the Société de la francophonie manitobaine and the Government of Manitoba’s Advisory Council on Workforce Development.
She received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. In 2013, she also became a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Manitoba. In 2015, she received the Prix Riel. In March 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed Gagné to the Senate of Canada as an independent senator.
Thanks to her tenacity, her skill at bringing people together and her deep commitment, she leaves an invaluable legacy, not only to the Université de Saint-Boniface but also to the entire Francophone community of Manitoba.