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

City Hall to review public art report

Dr Sara Diamond seated at a table speaking in City Hall chambers
Thursday, March 1, 2018

President Sara Diamond spoke at Toronto’s Economic Development Committee on March 1 to discuss a report created in collaboration by researchers at OCAD University and the University of Toronto. Published in Fall 2017, Redefining Public Art in Toronto makes a number of recommendations, including updating the city’s current public art policy, drafted in the 1980s, improving funding mechanisms and opening up the definition of “public art” to include digital and performance art, while integrating public art into all future planning.

“Public art increases quality of life for residents, it improves the value of the public realm. There are public art deserts outside of the dense downtown zones, and art must have a presence throughout Toronto,” said President Diamond.

The committee enthusiastically agreed that the research be reviewed by two city divisions: Economic Development & Culture, in collaboration with City Planning. City staff will report back with any recommendations and steps required to improve Toronto’s public art policies and practices. 


Message from the President on Gender-Based Violence and Harassment

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

To the OCAD University Community,

Given the recent prominence of cases involving sexual violence and sexual harassment in educational institutions, cultural organizations, and beyond, I wanted to take this moment to remind members of our community about OCAD University’s policies and resources.

OCAD U is committed to creating and maintaining an environment where members of the university community can study and work free of sexual violence. Sexual violence is any sexual act or act targeting a person’s sexuality, gender identity or gender expression, whether the act is physical or psychological in nature, that is committed, threatened or attempted against a person without the person’s consent, and includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism and sexual exploitation.

The university takes sexual violence seriously and will address all acts of sexual violence that affect the University community promptly and fairly. OCAD U is committed to a survivor-centred approach and members of the university community who experience sexual violence will be supported and treated with compassion. The university will provide accommodations to ensure that all members of the university community can be successful in their work and studies.

The university recognizes that sexual violence can occur between individuals regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or relationship status, and that sexual violence is overwhelmingly committed against individuals who identify as women. Those who experience the intersection of multiple identities such as racialized and Indigenous Peoples, queer and trans individuals, people with disabilities, the international student community, and refugee and immigrant members of the OCAD U community are especially vulnerable to sexual violence. OCAD U acknowledges the missing and murdered Indigenous women, trans-women and women across the world whose lives have been harmed or lost to gender-based violence.

OCAD U is also committed to combatting the broader social attitudes about gender, sex and sexuality that normalize sexual violence and undermine gender-based equality. The university is dedicated to working together with survivors, first responders, experts in sexual violence, community organizations and the wider campus community to prevent and respond to sexual violence. Throughout the academic year, the university will provide a range of training and educational opportunities to support the university community in preventing and addressing sexual violence.

OCAD U will also work to support the right to sexual expression, representation and dialogue about sex and sexualities on our campus and in society.

On-campus support for student survivors of sexual violence

The Health & Wellness Centre is OCAD U’s primary point of contact for students affected by sexual or gender-based violence. Staff will provide information on internal and external supports and services, coordinate academic accommodations, outline options for reporting the incident and formal complaint options through the university’s Prevention and Response to Sexual and Gender-based Violence Policy

Even if students are unsure what their options are, or what their next step should be, Health & Wellness staff will discuss all options in a confidential, non-judgmental and safe environment. Students will be respected and supported in whatever decisions they make about next steps. A student is not required to make a report or file a complaint about an incident of sexual violence in order to obtain support or accommodations from the university.

Health & Wellness Centre
416-977-6000 Ext. 260
6th Floor, 230 Richmond St. W. 
Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Urgent same-day appointments are available. Drop-in for a day-of appointment or email/call to make a scheduled appointment time.

Safety & Security Services
Emergencies: 416-977-6000, Ext. 511 
or pick up the closest red phone on campus to be immediately connected.
Non-emergency: 416-977-6000, Ext. 366

Safety & Security Services staff are trained to respond to sexual assault disclosures. They will support members of the OCAD U community who wish to report a sexual assault either to the Toronto Police or internally through the Policy on Prevention and Response to Sexual and Gender-based Violence. Safety & Security Services can also work with you to develop a personal safety plan.

Through the Safety & Security Services Walk Safe Program, a personal security escort can be arranged 10 minutes prior to departure to walk you to or from the subway station/streetcar stops, parking facilities, between buildings on campus, inside buildings when changing locations, as well as to the Health & Wellness Centre or nearby supports.

On-campus support for faculty and staff survivors of sexual violence

Office of Diversity Equity & Sustainability Initiatives
416-977-6000 Ext. 4860
6th Floor, 230 Richmond St. W.,

OCAD U has a Respectful Work and Learning Environment Policy (RWLEP). It says that harassment and discrimination violate an individual’s human rights and run contrary to the University’s fundamental values. OCAD U will act promptly to address this conduct and will ensure that individuals are able to express concerns and register complaints without fear of reprisal.

At any time, you can contact ODESI to confidentially ask a question, raise a concern or seek assistance on how to address an issue, including gender-based violence.

As President of OCAD University, I cannot emphasize enough how important the safety and security of our students, staff and faculty is to the institution. I believe we must work together to support those who have been affected by sexual violence and harassment, take action if we’ve been witness to such activity and build a community where we can build communities that are safer for all of us.


Sara Diamond


Dr. Sara Diamond
President & Vice Chancellor, OCAD University

Dr. Sara Diamond to speak at TUX

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm

In her lecture, Data Visualization – Fundamental 21st Century Knowledge, Dr. Diamond will discuss the significance of visualization design and data analytics in the age of Big Data.

A video of the talk will be available on the TUX YouTube channel

The Toronto User Experience group is an organization dedicated to bringing together and building of a community of HCI researchers in and around Toronto. It presently has members from as far east as Queen’s University in Kingston, and as far west as Waterloo.

Tux comes together biweekly, usually at the MaRS Discovery District or at the University of Toronto for talks. Each talk is preceded by a reception made possible by the group’s generous sponsors. Talks at Tux are in one of two categories: Tux member presentations, and Sanders Series Invited Lectures.


Venue & Address: 
MaRS Discovery District 101 College St, Toronto

President Sara Diamond profiled in Canada 150 Women

Portrait of Sara Diamond in a blue suit by a window
Monday, November 20, 2017

A new book by author Paulina Cameron celebrates Canadian leaders, champions, and luminaries who are exemplary in their fields. Canada 150 Women showcases prominent women from a variety of professional sectors who demonstrate tenacity, diversity and strength.

President Diamond is interviewed alongside former astronaut and current Governor General Julie Payette, filmmaker Deepa Mehta, Olympic medalist Silken Laumann and other acclaimed women.

The featured women share their personal stories of how feminism has changed during their lifetimes, and they talk about their own visions for Canada.

Go to CBC Radio to hear an interview with the author. The book is available at Chapters Indigo.




Report envisions the future of public art in Toronto

Dr. Sara Diamond at podium next to screen with presentation
Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Sara Diamond and a team of researchers from OCAD University and the University of Toronto have collaborated on a blueprint to make Toronto a world leader in public art projects. Incorporating interviews with artists, real estate developers, architects and other key stakeholders, Redefining Public Art in Toronto examines local and international public art policies. The researchers examined the city’s history of public art projects dating from 1967 to 2015. The report was presented at a launch event on Oct. 23 at OCAD U's Onsite Gallery. 

“Toronto is at a threshold as a growing and dynamic city. Public art can and should be front and centre to its inhabitants, its visitors and its identity,” says Diamond, “It’s not just about beautifying a neighbourhood; public art creates community hubs, spurs social engagement and promotes vibrant and inclusive communities.”

The report makes a number of recommendations including updating the public art policy drafted in the 1980s, improving funding mechanisms and opening up the definition of “public art” to include digital and performance art, while integrating public art into all future planning.

"Bringing together researchers across disciplines and universities, our report catalogs Toronto's many achievements in the field of public art, while also identifying how it could more fully realize its great potential,” says Daniel Silver, Associate Professor, Faculty of Sociology, University of Toronto. “We hope to inspire policy-makers, civic leaders, and community members to seize the moment and come together to re-invigorate Toronto's public art policies.”

The report is available for download online.

President Diamond backs Toronto bid for Amazon HQ2

Friday, October 20, 2017

OCAD University President Sara Diamond is supporting Toronto Global’s bid to land the next Amazon world headquarters.

In the official response submitted yesterday to the Amazon HQ2 Request for Proposal, Dr. Diamond is quoted championing the Toronto Region’s highly-educated workforce and futureproofed talent pipeline.

“Amazon has always relied on powerful design, integrated with leading-edge technology to anticipate markets and reach new markets,” states Dr. Diamond. “Partnership with Amazon would supply them with top-tier digital and design talent and provide research possibilities and career opportunities for students.”

The submission unites ten distinct municipalities from Kitchener-Waterloo to Durham under a “Toronto Region” banner that, according to Toronto Global—the arms-length organization created to market the GTA internationally, represents 20 percent of Canada’s GDP.

Amazon says it expects the project to produce as many as “50,000 high-paying jobs” and to invest over $5 billion in new construction.

Final site selection is expected in 2018. A link to the nearly 200-page submission is available here: https://torontoglobal.ca/amazon


OCAD University Town Hall

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm

Please join Dr. Sara Diamond and members of the executive team for the fall Town Hall, and hear updates about campus projects and plans. 

Venue & Address: 
100 McCaul St, Room 190, Auditorium

Welcome Students!

Three young women smiling and holding up a frame to look like Instagram
Friday, September 8, 2017

Hello new and returning students, we welcome you to a fresh term at OCAD University!

There’s been a lot of excitement in the air with O-Days activities and the start of classes. We hope you’re settling in and have everything you need to get started on a successful academic year.

This is year 141 for OCAD U, Canada’s first institution dedicated to the training of professional artists and designers. We’re the largest art, design and digital media university in Canada, combining rich and varied studio learning with contextual and historical knowledge and the sciences.

If you’re interested in learning about the university’s academic priorities and principles, please have a look at our new academic plan, OCAD University: A Transformative Student Experience.

You don’t have to look far to find OCAD U alumni: they are in every segment of the design and advertising industries, media companies and galleries across Toronto, and beyond. Many have become entrepreneurs, running their own businesses in fields as varied as medical services and music video production.  

Mark your calendars, next week Onsite Gallery, our brand new professional gallery, is hosting a staff, faculty and student preview on Wednesday September 13 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. It’s at our south campus at 199 Richmond St. W. Please join us then and say hello, or come by on Saturday September 16 for the free community street party.

OCAD University is about you – its students – and your experiences here. With an enrolment of 4,500, OCAD U gives you the benefit of to getting to know your instructors and peers in a comfortable and inclusive setting. Make the most of this opportunity and introduce yourself to the new faces you meet in your studios and classrooms.

Wishing you a joyous and creative 2017/18!


Dr. Sara Diamond 
President and Vice-Chancellor

Dr. Gillian Siddall
Vice-President Academic and Provost





OCAD University showcases Virtual Reality at VRTO 2017

Sunday, June 25, 2017 - 10:00am to Monday, June 26, 2017 - 6:00pm

OCAD University students and faculty are showcasing their work in virtual reality and augmented reality at VRTO 2017, with workshops, keynotes, and experiences in virtual and augmented reality, spanning the breath of technology and techniques that have contributed to the success of virtual and mixed reality technologies today.

OCAD U staff and students receive a discount of 45% off when they use the code OCAD2017 on Eventbrite.

President, Dr. Sarah Diamond will be delivering the keynote address.

OCAD U participants:

  • Michael Page will be speaking about Holography, and showing some of his work in the Multimodal Experience Pavilion
  • Alex Mayhew is showcasing his AR work in the Multimodal Experience Pavilion
  • Claire Brunet will be speaking about her work on 3D scanning, and demonstrating in the Innovation Room.
  • Hector Centeno Garcia will demonstrate spatial audio and physical interactions in a virtual reality
  • Fasun Uzun is showing her short film experience in VR.

Date: June 25th and 26th

Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Daily.



Venue & Address: 
Rogers Communications Centre, 80 Gould St., Toronto, Ontario