OCAD U celebrates 2017 graduates!

Four people posing for photo
Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Nearly 800 OCAD U students were joined by family, friends and faculty members to celebrate their graduation at two convocation ceremonies on Friday, June 9.

Graduates from the Faculty of Design, honoured at the morning ceremony, were also fortunate to see the installation of OCAD U’s new chancellor, Salah Bachir. President of Cineplex Media, Bachir was also awarded an honorary doctorate alongside three other exceptional individuals who have made significant contributions to Canadian culture, art and design: architect Harriet Burdett-Moulton, artist Kent Monkman and Ada Slaight, one of Canada’s leading philanthropists.

The honorary degree recipients were recognized for their contribution to Indigenous knowledge and culture in their creative fields, for their passionate belief in the importance of visual arts and for their spirit of philanthropy in the cultural sector and beyond.

The ceremony for the Faculty of Art, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Graduate Studies took place in the afternoon.

In her remarks to graduating students, Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor, encouraged artists and designers “to act as transformative social, economic, environmental and cultural agents.”

The university’s 22 medal winners were presented with their program medals. Graduate Kyrie Joy Vala-Webb received the Governor General’s gold medal for academic excellence and Mary Katherine McIntyre received the silver.

Faculty members Lewis Nicholson and Johanna Householder received the teaching excellence awards for tenured faculty, while Maria-Belen Ordonez and Jennie Suddick received the non-tenured faculty awards.

In tandem with the university’s commitment to acknowledging Indigenous people and culture in Canada, graduates and guests were treated to performances by renowned artists Sadie Buck and Cheryl L’Hirondelle. Chief R. Stacey Laforme of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation addressed the graduates at both convocation ceremonies.

Photography by Christina Gapic


Salah Bachir speaking at podium
Graduands seated at Roy Thomson Hall
Cheryl L'Hirondelle singing
Young woman pumps fists as she crosses stage

Ontario Government Partnering with OCAD U to Improve Accessibility for Consumers

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

President Sara Diamond spoke at the 2017 BIA National Conference in Toronto on April 4 to help launch the BIG IdeA, a collaborative pilot program that celebrates successes and promotes innovations in accessibility.

The Ontario government is partnering with OCAD University's Inclusive Design Research Centre to deliver the BIG IDeA, which will help make inclusion top-of-mind for companies – and customers – so that accessibility becomes an integral part of Ontario’s culture.

Creating a culture of inclusion is central to OCAD University’s values and one that we uphold and promote on our campus and in our community.

At OCAD University, our Inclusive Design Research Centre, under the direction of Jutta Treviranus, helps to orchestrate a collaborative and connected ecosystem of businesses, consumers, designers, developers, researchers, public organizations and innovators to ensure that emerging socio-technical systems and practices are designed inclusively.

BIG IDeA Quick facts:

  • Ontario is investing $500,000 in the BIG IDeA through the EnAbling Change Program, which supports projects that promote accessibility standards in businesses and organizations.
  • The BIG IDeA is first being piloted in Toronto, and will eventually expand across the province.
  • Major tech companies, including IBM, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Apple, are working within the BIG IDeA to solve accessibility barriers in machine learning models.
  • The BIG IDeA emerged as the leading initiative in an open government engagement process.
  • People with disabilities represent a market worth $25 billion in Canada.
  • With the passage of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, Ontario became an accessibility leader, establishing standards in key areas of daily life and implementing them within clear timeframes.
  • Ontario is developing a Provincial Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities to help connect people to jobs and employers to talent.
  • Businesses and organizations in Ontario with more than one employee must comply with the Accessible Employment Standard. It requires employers to have accessible hiring practices and workplace policies that support staff with disabilities.





President Diamond's statement on U.S. Executive Order

Monday, January 30, 2017

OCAD University supports Universities Canada’s statement regarding the executive order issued in the United States banning entry of citizens from seven countries to the U.S. for 90 days. The new order is negatively affecting Canadian campuses and communities. Together with Universities Canada, OCAD U supports the call from the American Association of Universities for this ban to “end as quickly as possible.”

With students, faculty and staff originating from more than 50 countries, OCAD University is committed to nurturing diverse and inclusive perspectives, collaboration, and an international network of students, alumni, faculty and staff.

We stand together with Canada’s university communities and will continue to welcome students, faculty and staff from around the world. Students attending or applying to OCAD University on study permits or who hold permanent residency from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Syria will not be affected and continue to be welcome in Canada and at OCAD University.

Diversity, inclusion and openness are values that we uphold, respect and promote on our campus, and in our community. Faculty members with questions or concerns are invited to contact their respective faculty offices for further information.

Students from the affected countries who are intending to study in the US in the near future and/or undertake a research placement or internship should check in with the International Student Services & Mobility Exchange Office at 416-977-6000, Ext. 3842 or international@ocadu.ca.

I would also like to express our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the terrorist attack on Muslims at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec in Quebec City. This unspeakable violence is an affront to our values and our respect for all religions.

We understand these events may have an impact on many students. Students who feel they need support are encouraged to contact our Health & Wellness Centre which is open for walk-in services Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or contact the Centre at 416-977-6000 Ext. 260, or hwc@ocadu.ca.

This statement, and the endorsement of Universities Canada’s statement, were unanimously passed by OCAD U Senate.



Welcome Back!

Photo of Sara Diamond
Tuesday, September 6, 2016 - 4:00am

It is a great pleasure to welcome incoming and returning undergraduate and graduate OCAD University students to the University of the Imagination in our 140th year, 2016-17. Your future is precious and we appreciate your trust in OCAD University. Students are the heart and soul of OCAD University. You join a community of talented and committed faculty, staff and alumni.

On behalf of OCAD University I acknowledge the ancestral and traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the New Credit, the Haudenosaune, the Anishinaabe and the Huron-Wendat, who are the original owners and custodians of the land on which we stand.

OCAD University is now in our 140th year as an institution. We have been and remain a leader in art and design education, creative practice and research, combining rich and varied studio learning with contextual and historical knowledge from the humanities and the sciences. For all of those years we have been a hotbed of creative production and practices; every pocket of art and design, media companies and galleries in Toronto and around the world are filled with our fantastic alumni.  Art and design knowledge can be applied to every walk of life.  Our alumni are also scientists, health researchers, financial analysts, curators, architects, business leaders, politicians and planners.  You will join these ranks!

The combined power of design thinking, artistic creativity, out-of-the box imagination and the ability to make tangible – to prototype and build – is needed as never before in our complex world. OCAD University believes that artists and designers are inventors who can address the grand challenges of our world such as environmental sustainability, health and social justice. Design can imagine the means to provide home care for the elderly that surrounds them with a caring communication system through our growing focus on design for health. Art can be a force for non-violence, helping communities to find a voice.

We hold a passionate belief in diversity.  We welcome students here from all over the world, whether as international (9% undergraduate or 23% graduate) and mobility students, and as members of the fantastic breadth of cosmopolitan communities in Toronto.  Culture in our age is truly global and as artists, designers, media makers, curators and change-makers we will only be successful if we play on the world stage and reach the vastly diverse markets growing around us.  We have a great study abroad program – please take advantage of it.

Graduate Studies is of great importance to OCAD University.  It reinforces and empowers our position as a university, an equal with our peers.  OCAD University has worked hard to carve a space that combines graduate learning, leading edge thinking, theory and research with exemplary practice.  Our seven programs are particularly notable because all have an interdisciplinary edge and spirit to them – both within their individual design and in the context of the overall graduate school.  Our offerings of a variety of niche graduate degrees is a unique and special position within Canadian and international art and design schools and comprehensive universities. 

We are a small community – whether you are from Toronto or out of town adjusting to campus life will be new and at times a challenge, whether in first year or later years. Please build community. We have wonderful campus work-study opportunities, a terrific Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers with career advice, work-study opportunities, research assistance positions, jobs and internships.

Here are some highlights from that are of value to OCAD University students:

  • The new Student Services Centre of the 5th and 6th floors of 230 Richmond W. now puts in one convenient location: Financial Aid & Awards, Registrar, Campus Life, International Student Services, Diversity, Equity & Sustainability Initiatives, Health & Wellness and the Student Union. One flight up, on floor 7, is the Finance office and Cashier. 
  • Later this fall, we’ll be introducing a new convenient system for paying for materials in the shops. 
  • We’re continually adding institutions to our already impressive list of international exchange destinations. As you move towards your third year, consider spending a semester in another country to challenge yourself and broaden your network. 
  • OCAD University achieved a commitment of $27 million for our Creative City Campus renewal and new build from the Government of Ontario. We have also achieved federal government investment (not yet announced) and significant philanthropic support to make this project a reality.  This contribution will change the corner of Dundas and McCaul Street.  Student Services have consolidated and moved with our Student Union to 230 Richmond Street West. In 2018 we will open our Campus for the Connected World on Toronto’s waterfront. We need student engagement in the planning process.
  • Print services has upgraded significantly and moved to 51 McCaul Street – providing better support to students. 
  • We began 24/7 access to 100 McCaul last year for non-workshop spaces, and will extend this to 115 McCaul this year, better supporting commuter and working students. 
  • OCAD University continues to grow our Campus Linked Accelerator offering business counselling to students, faculty and Alumni and our very dynamic Imagination Catalyst. 
  • We are creating a refreshed Academic plan led by our provost Dr. Gillian Siddall.  This is an exciting moment for us as we consider past success, our larger context and look towards our academic future. We encourage students to engage in this planning process.
  • We have undertaken significant upgrades to our graduate spaces at 205 Richmond Street West to better support Design for Health, our new GS program, IAMD studios and students, Graduate Studies and Research offices, and create better access to classrooms on lower floors.
  • I have office hours every month where you can share your hopes and dreams with me for your own careers and research and the school so watch for these on our campus schedule.

Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor
O.Ont., RCA


OCAD U in Toronto Life’s 50 most influential people

President Sara Diamond
Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 4:15pm

President Sara Diamond is featured in Toronto Life’s December Power List issue which names the top 50 most influential people in the city.  “In many ways, Diamond is a woman ahead of her time. The president of the city’s leading art and design institution is a media arts pioneer—an artist and designer whose research is focused on data visualization and wearable technology.” The piece goes on to discuss OCAD U’s role in the Mirvish-Gehry project on King. St. West.

Relay Ventures’ John Albright is also on the list. His entry includes mention of Relay’s million-dollar investment in the Imagination Catalyst.

In the Tomorrow’s Titans column, OCAD U instructor Zahra Ebrahim is described as a design visionary specializing in the “trendy intersection of design and business.”

The issue is en route to subscribers and should be on newsstands within a week.



Open Office Hours with President Dr. Sara Diamond

Image of Dr. Sara Diamond, President of OCAD U
Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm

Students, faculty and staff are invited to meet with President Diamond

Dr. Sara Diamond, President at OCAD University, welcomes students, faculty and staff to meet with her informally during her open office hours to discuss their ideas, comments or concerns about life at OCAD U.

Meetings with President Diamond may be arranged by contacting Cidalia Braga Paul, Office of the President at 416-977-6000 Ext. 300 or cbragapaul@ocadu.ca.

Venue & Address: 
Rm 627, Level 6 100 McCaul St. Toronto, Ontario
416-977-6000 Ext. 300

President’s Forum for Students

Photo of Dr Sara Diamond
Tuesday, July 8, 2014 - 9:00pm to 10:30pm

Open to all OCAD University students

Please join OCAD U President, Dr. Sara Diamond, for a light dinner, and a discussion where she will share her plan forward for OCAD University, following her renewal for a third term of presidency by the university's Board of Governors.

Venue & Address: 
Room 1516 113 McCaul Street Toronto, Ontario

CANVAS (Canadian Visual Analytics School) 2014

Event Poster
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 5:30pm to 8:30pm

OCAD University panel presentation on visual analytics with President Dr. Sara Diamond

The first three days of the event will feature keynote presentations from leading researchers in the field of visual analytics. President Diamond's talk is scheduled on July 28, from 9 to 10 a.m. The title of her talk is: Representing data: Visualization, sonification, data sculpting and vibro-tactile arrays.

OCAD U’s Panel presentation on visual analytics is scheduled on July 30, from 13:30 to 16:30.

The final two days of CANVAS 2014 will focus on industrial applications of visual analytics, featuring leading practitioners and domain experts who will outline how they make visual analytics work for their organizations.
This industry segment will also feature presentations about visual analytics tools and their development, by leading providers of VA solutions.

Registration required

Venue & Address: 
Simon Fraser University, Forestry Sciences Centre (FSC), Room #1005 8888 University Drive Burnaby, British Columbia