With extensive experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors, David Agnew became the fifth president of Seneca in July 2009.
Under his leadership, Seneca has experienced record growth in enrolment and expanded its offerings in both undergraduate and graduate programs. One of the largest colleges in Canada, Seneca is growing its applied research, broadening international and corporate partnerships, investing in capital expansion and adopting an innovative academic direction to increase experiential, cross-disciplinary and flexible learning opportunities.
Mr. Agnew was Secretary to the Cabinet and head of the public service in the Government of Ontario, Canada from 1992 to 1995 after serving as Principal Secretary to the Premier. In 1995, he led the Public-Private Partnerships Project and was seconded to Massey College at the University of Toronto where he was a Senior Resident.
He was the President and CEO of UNICEF Canada, the first head of the organization recruited from outside the international development sector. As Principal for the consulting firm Digital 4Sight, he led the firm’s global research initiative on Governance in the Digital Economy, an exploration of the impact of technology on government and democracy. In the co-operative sector, he was the Executive Vice-President and Corporate Secretary for the Credit Union Central of Ontario. Mr. Agnew was the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments, the national dispute resolution service for consumers and small businesses.
Mr. Agnew’s working life started in high school as a newspaper reporter in Toronto and he continued his journalism career in St. John’s, Ottawa and Edmonton. He was the gold medallist when he graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a B.A. in political science. Following his studies, he was a Parliamentary Intern at the House of Commons of Canada.
Mr. Agnew is on the Board of Directors for Polytechnics Canada and Colleges and Institutes Canada. He is Chair of the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) Board of Directors and interim Chair of the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) Board of Directors. He is the past chair of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Colleges Ontario. He also serves on numerous other boards and committees, including the Council on Foreign Relations’ Higher Education Working Group on Global Issues, Sichuan University’s International Advisory Board, CivicAction Steering Committee, ventureLAB’s Board of Directors and Canadian Ditchley Foundation Advisory Board. He is a former member of the federal government’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council, the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) Board of Directors, a former director of the Empire Club of Canada and has served on the campaign cabinets of the United Way in Toronto and Peel.
In 2012, Mr. Agnew received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his service to the community.