OCAD U announces 2018 honorary doctorate recipients

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

On June 12, OCAD University will confer honorary degrees upon four prominent Canadians: fashion journalist Jeanne Beker, filmmaker David Cronenberg, visual artist Jamelie Hassan and Dr. William Reichman, CEO of Baycrest Health Sciences.

This year’s convocation ceremonies will take place at Roy Thomson Hall, celebrating the graduation of some 700 students. Medal winners in 23 academic programs will be presented with their awards, a number of faculty members will be honoured with teaching awards for their exceptional contributions and honorary degrees will be conferred. 

“It is a great pleasure to present these degrees to four phenomenal people who have made a tremendous impact on society through the arts and sciences. They are role models in their disciplines, and their work reflects the wide range of learning that takes place at OCAD University, including in the areas of design for health, integrated media, material art and design, and art for social change,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, OCAD University President and Vice-Chancellor. “We look forward to hearing from our honorary doctorate recipients as we celebrate this cohort of graduating students.”

The first ceremony, at 10:30 a.m. will recognize graduands from the Faculty of Design, with Jeanne Beker and Dr. William Eric Reichman receiving their honorary doctorates. The second ceremony at 3 p.m., will honour graduands from the Faculty of Art, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and School of Interdisciplinary Studies, and Graduate Studies. David Cronenberg and Jamelie Hassan will receive their honorary doctorates at the afternoon ceremony. 

The Honorary Degree Committee, chaired by Chancellor Salah Bachir, selected the recipients from a list of nominees. 

Jeanne Beker, CM
After studying acting in New York and Paris, Jeanne Beker moved to St. John’s Newfoundland in 1975 to cover arts for CBC radio. Three years later she landed a job at Toronto’s CHUM radio, and helped launch the groundbreaking series The New Musicon CITY TV. A founding member of MuchMusic, Beker launched the legendary Fashion Television, which she presented in over 130 countries for 27 years. 

Editor-in-chief of FQ and SIRmagazines from 2003 to 2008, Beker has also authored five books. She’s been at the creative helm of numerous fashion lines under her own eponymous label, and since 2015 has been Style Editor and host for The Shopping Channel. In 2014 she was named to the Order of Canada. 

David Cronenberg, CC, O. of Ont. FRSC
Director David Cronenberg’s reputation as true auteur his firmly established by his uniquely personal body of work that includes ShiversRabidThe BroodScannersVideodromeThe FlyCrasheXistenzA History of ViolenceEastern PromisesA Dangerous Methodand Maps to the Stars

In 2006, Cronenberg worked with the Art Gallery of Ontario as a guest curator for the exhibition, Andy Warhol/Supernova: Stars, Deaths and Disasters, 1962–1964. 

Lauded as one of the world’s greatest and most influential directors, Cronenberg has earned critical praise and recognition internationally. In 2006, he was awarded the Cannes Film Festival’s lifetime achievement award, the Carrosse d'Or. He was appointed Officer to the Order of Canada in 2003, Companion of the Order of Canada in 2014, and in 1990 was invested in France’s Order of Arts and Letters and the Légion d’Honneur in 2009.

Jamelie Hassan 
Artist and activist Jamelie Hassan’s work is personal and political, exploring worldwide concerns about cultural interactions, the subjection of women, colonialism, racism and political conflict. Using traditional or contemporary cultural artifacts, she works in a visual language of cultural cross-references.

Based in London, Ontario, Hassan is also a lecturer and independent curator. Her installation works involve highly diverse sites including most recently, Nur, installed in the library of the Great Mosque of Xi'an, China; the Ottawa Courthouse and Land Registry; and the London Regional Cancer Clinic.

A survey exhibition, Jamelie Hassan: At the Far Edge of Words, organized in 2009 by Museum London and the Morris & Helen Belkin Art Gallery at the University of British Columbia toured in Canada through to 2013. She is a recipient of the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.    

Dr. William Eric Reichman
Dr. William E. Reichman is an internationally known expert in geriatric mental health and dementia care. He is president and CEO of Baycrest, one of the world’s premier academic health sciences centers focused on aging, seniors care and brain function. Dr. Reichman is also Professor of Psychiatry in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. 

His academic interests have included Alzheimer’s drug development and testing, behavioural changes in dementia, and the character and quality of dementia and mental health services delivered in congregate geriatric care settings. He has advised government in the United States, Canada and China on the impact of an aging society on healthcare demand.  

Dr. Reichman is a recipient of a Bronze Telly award for a documentary film that he co-created and hosted, entitled Reflections of Memory Lost: Understanding Alzheimer’s disease. 


OCAD University celebrates these honorary degree recipients for their contribution to knowledge and culture in their creative fields, for their passionate belief in the importance of visual arts and design, and for their spirit of philanthropy in the cultural sector and beyond.

Since 2003, OCAD University has conferred honorary doctorates on notable figures including Piers Handling, Nobuo Kubota, Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge, Anita Kunz, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Margaret Atwood, Charles Pachter, Dan Donovan, Bill Buxton, the Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson, Karim Rashid, Will Alsop, Daphne Odjig, Claude Gidman and Kent Monkman. 

About OCAD University
OCAD University (www.ocadu.ca)is Canada’s university of the imagination. Founded in 1876, the university is dedicated to art, design and digital media education, practice and research, and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. 


Media may attend the convocation ceremonies or arrange interviews by contacting:
Sarah Mulholland
Communications, OCAD University
416-977-6000 Ext. 1327

OCAD University's United Way Campaign 2014

Image of an open palm with a figure beneath a rainbow and the words united way below in black type
Monday, November 17, 2014 - 5:00am to Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 5:00am

Help Us Raise $10 000!

United Way Workplace Pledges

Monday, November 17 to Thursday, November 20 (online)

Consider donating year-round with a workplace pledge through payroll deduction, cheque or credit card. You can donate to the United Way’s General Fund (default) or target your donations to any charity like OCAD University (search Ontario College of Art and Design), University Settlement House or The 519 Church Street Community Centre. You can quickly and easily make your donation online via the following link:



United Way Raffle

Monday, November 17 to Thursday, November 20

Raffle tickets will be sold around campus and during the Bake Sale.  Tickets are $2 each, $5 for three or $10 for seven.

Prizes Include:

  • 1 OCAD U Continuing Education Course ($500 value)
  • Rare David Cronenberg Autographed DVD
  • 2 Tickets to Project 31 ($250 value)
  • Aboveground Art Supplies Prize Packs
  • Prize Pack from the OCAD U Bookstore
  • Tickets to the Alex Colville and Michelangelo Exhibitions at the AGO
  • Steam Whistle VIP Tour for 10 People
  • Prize Packs from Bravado and Universal Music
  • Plus many more prizes!


United Way Bake Sale

Monday, November 17

10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Lobby (100 McCaul Street)

Drop by the main lobby and purchase some homemade goods to help with that sweet tooth craving.  Donated baked goods (both sweet or savoury) are still needed. If interested, please contact Kanyika Yorke at kyorke@ocadu.ca or x427.

OCAD University United Way Campaign Chair:

Jeff Zoeller, Manager, Outreach Events x469


Venue & Address: 
OCAD University 100 McCaul Street Main Lobby and Online

Cronenberg Project wins 2014 Ontario Museum Association Award

David Cronenberg
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - 4:00am

TIFF’s The Cronenberg Project is the recipient of the 2014 Ontario Museum Association (OMA) Award for Excellence in Special Projects, for the combined nominations of the following components: the exhibition David Cronenberg: EvolutionDavid Cronenberg: Virtual Museum and the interactive Body/Mind/Change initiative. OCAD University was an academic partner in the project, along with Sheridan College, and York University.

“We are thrilled to be the recipient of the 2014 OMA Award for Excellence in Special Projects,” said Piers Handling, Director and CEO, TIFF. “The Cronenberg Project was a milestone achievement for TIFF: it included our first large-scale original touring exhibition David Cronenberg: Evolution which recently finished exhibiting at Amsterdam’s EYE, as well as our Virtual Museum which will continue to be an online resource for further scholarship on Cronenberg’s films, and Body/Mind/Change which brought together Cronenberg enthusiasts from all corners of the globe for one unique interactive experience.”
TIFF’s multi-platform celebration of the work of Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg was centred on the exhibition David Cronenberg: Evolution which charts Cronenberg’s growth as a filmmaker. With more than 300 original artifacts, visionary designs, as well as rare and unseen footage, the exhibition focuses on his longstanding fascination with the possibilities and perils of human evolution itself.
David Cronenberg: Virtual Museum is an online source that explores Cronenberg’s films through new scholarship and artistic explorations, including essays, academic writing, an interactive map and timeline, and a selection of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with Cronenberg's past and present collaborators.  
Body/Mind/Change, a digital extension of David Cronenberg: Evolution, immerses audiences in a “Cronenbergian” world inspired by the film Videodrome, re-imagined for the 21st century and brought to life across three platforms — online, mobile, and real-world.


David Cronenberg and Piers Handling. Photos courtesy TIFF.

“Everybody’s a mad scientist, and life is their lab. We’re all trying to experiment to find a way to live, to solve problems, to fend off madness and chaos.” David Cronenberg

David Cronenberg, the master of the macabre, creepy obsessions and weird fantasies is coming to OCAD University to talk about the relationship between technology, art, cinema, architecture, design and city landscapes. The iconic Toronto-based Canadian filmmaker will be interviewed by Piers Handling, Director and Chief Executive Officer of TIFF at OCAD U on Tuesday, January 21, as part of the President’s Speaker Series

"OCAD U is honoured to host one of the world’s most imaginative filmmakers in conversation with a one of the world’s best known curatorial and administrative leaders in film," said Dr. Sara Diamond, OCAD U's President. "This is a wonderful opportunity for the OCAD U community to learn about cinema, technology, design and the creative process from two film masters and we look forward to their unique industry perspectives, artistic ideologies and visions for the future."

During Cronenberg’s 40-year career as a filmmaker, his works have included independent, experimental, science fiction, horror, thriller and studio productions including Videodrome, The Fly, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch, Crash, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises, A Dangerous Method and Cosmopolis. Thought-provoking and transgressive to the point of being controversial, Cronenberg is also celebrated with significant international awards, including France’s prestigious Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres, a Special Jury Prize at Cannes, a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award and a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.

Cronenberg was the subject of an ambitious, international touring exhibition curated and launched by TIFF in the fall, and as part of that initiative OCAD U partnered with TIFF’s Higher Learning Digital Resource Hub, York University and Sheridan College to create David Cronenberg: Virtual Exhibition. The Virtual Exhibition will make a vast collection of scholarly essays, footage and research materials available to an online international artist. Caroline Langill, Interim Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences and School of Interdisciplinary Studies at OCAD U, Natalie Waldburger, Assistant Professor, Drawing and Painting and a team of OCAD U students contributed essays, interactive maps, lesson plans and 3D images to the Virtual Exhibition. 

Piers Handling, who will join Cronenberg at the January 21 event, is responsible for leading both the operational and artistic growth of TIFF. Since 1994, under his direction, TIFF became an internationally renowned cultural institution and opened TIFF Bell Lightbox, a permanent home for all of TIFF’s year-round film, educational and exhibition programming. Handling is the former Deputy Director of the Canadian Film Institute (CFI), taught at Carleton and Queens universities and has published extensively on Canadian cinema. He holds an Honourary Doctorate of Fine Arts from OCAD U.

Famous Cronenberg quotes

“I think of horror films as art, as films of confrontations. Films that make you confront aspects of your own life that are difficult to face. Just because you’re making a horror film doesn’t mean you can’t make an artful film.”

“Since I see technology as being an extension of the human body, it’s inevitable that it should come home to roost.”

“As filmmaker, I ask questions but don’t have answers. Moviemaking is a philosophical exploration. I invite the audience to come on the journey and discover what they think and feel.”

Learn more:

Attend the talk

David Cronenberg exhibition at TIFF 

Toronto Life profile of David Cronenberg 

Piers Handling at TIFF