OCAD University mourns the passing of Peter Ziegler

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - 4:00am

OCAD University marks the passing of donor Peter Ziegler. Peter established the Frances Lea Ziegler Scholarship in 2006 in memory of his late wife Frances Lea, who was an artist.  The scholarship is granted annually to a third year student in OCAD University’s Drawing and Painting Program.  The Frances Lea Ziegler Scholarship has assisted ten students to date. The endowment will live on in perpetuity as a lasting testament to Peter Ziegler’s generosity.
Peter was educated in Vienna, England and Montreal and worked for 32 years as an organic chemist-biochemist at the Research Centre of Canada Packers Inc. in Toronto, retiring in 1983.  He is predeceased by his parents, sister, and many family members, all of whom perished in the Holocaust. Peter is survived by nephews, Robert Alexander and David Alexander.
The OCAD University community extends sincere condolences to Peter’s family and friends.


OCAD University mourns the passing of Marion Selig

Marion Selig
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 - 4:00am

OCAD University’s long-time supporter Marion Selig passed away at her home in New York City on Monday, March 16. The entire university community extends sincere condolences to her family, friends and colleagues.

Creativity was Ms. Selig’s passion and her source of greatest joy. She was instrumental in establishing the Joubin–Selig bursary, which assists gifted and/or financially needy students who want to participate in enrichment programs in their fields of study in Canada and internationally. To date, this bursary has supported over 60 OCAD U students to pursue their dreams.

Born in Vancouver, Ms. Selig lived in Europe following her studies in fine arts and languages. Ms. Selig learned from her mother, Mary, and father, Franc Joubin, that all can excel, no matter the challenges, and she lived with the intention to impact all those she loved with her infectious professionalism and thoughtful consideration as a base from which to build meaningful relationships. For three decades, Ms. Selig demonstrated these traits through a successful career in New York City real estate, while always recognizing the humanity and beauty of all. Ms. Selig is survived by her two children, Marea M. Selig and David Selig. 

A memorial service will be held for Ms. Selig in Toronto (date to be announced). Ms. Selig will be missed by the OCAD U community.   


OCAD University community mourns the passing of Jack Weinbaum

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 7:30pm

OCAD University acknowledges the passing on Friday, December 5 of one of its long-time donors, Jack Weinbaum.

Through the Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation, Mr. Weinbaum supported Grad Ex, the Nomadic Residents program and the Student Assistant Challenge.  

He was born in 1921 in Poland and was the only member of his family of nine to survive the Holocaust. During the war, Mr. Weinbaum was sent to a series of ghettos and labour camps before being liberated in 1945. He met his wife Anne in a displaced persons camp in Germany and they came to Canada in 1948.

Mr. Weinbaum started working in the garment district of Toronto making sweaters. In the 1950s, he entered into the real estate business, first buying and selling properties, then developing and building residential apartment buildings and condominiums. He was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario, for his outstanding achievements in the rental housing industry and his substantial contribution to Ontario and society. His firm WJ Properties developed Flemingdon Park, Canada’s first completely planned “apartment city,” amongst other projects.  

Mr. Weinbaum’s daughter Carol is a member of the OCAD University Board of Governors. His grandson Callum Shuster is an OCAD University alumnus.

The OCAD U community extends its sympathies to the Weinbaum family.




OCAD University remembers Mark Goffin

Mark Goffin
Tuesday, December 9, 2014 - 5:00am

The OCAD University community is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Copy & Print Services Manager Mark Goffin this past weekend.

Mark Goffin started working at OCAD U in October 2004 as Document and Print Services Administrator, and was promoted to Manager, Copy & Print Services in 2007. Mark was directly responsible for the success and continued improvement of OCAD U copy and print services and was, in collaboration with other IT staff and managers, just preparing the launch of a new print and copy accounting system that will provide substantial improvements in service to students and faculty. Mark was looking forward to the planned relocation of Copy & Print Services to 51 McCaul Street and was working with Facilities, Planning & Management to finalize plans for the new space.

Mark was a thoughtful colleague, with tremendous expertise on copy and print, who everyone in IT and many other departments enjoyed working with and talking to about a wide range of topics. He was a dedicated father. He will be missed.

A memorial service will be held Friday, December 19 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Turner & Porter, 4933 Dundas Street West, Etobicoke. Read Mark's obitiuary and sign an online book of condolences.

OCAD University remembers Joyce Kofman

Image of the late Joyce Kofman
Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 7:00pm

It is with great sadness that the OCAD University community notes the passing of former Chair of the Governing Council (now the Board of Governors) Joyce Kofman. Joyce envisioned the need for fundraising at the Ontario College of Art, and played a fundamental role in establishing the fundraising program that still exists at OCAD University. Beyond her role as a Chair, Joyce served on various fundraising committees at OCAD U including the Ideas Need Space Campaign, to which she herself was a major donor.

OCAD University recognizes the substantial service and contributions of Joyce and extends its deepest condolences to Joyce’s friends and family. Joyce was a force for the modernization of OCAD U and she will not be forgotten.

In remembrance of Joyce, her family has directed donations to be sent to the Art Gallery of Ontario or to Branksome Hall.




Mariah Unger. Photo by Philip Unger.
Illustration by Mariah Unger.

Graphic design student Mariah Unger achieved her goal of attending OCAD U, but was unable to realize her dream of studying abroad for a semester, as part of th Student Mobility/Exchange Program. She passed away in January, 2012 — just four weeks before she would have turned 20 — as a result of complications from lymphoma, a type of cancer. Now, however, a new scholarship created in her memory by her parents will make it possible for other OCAD U students to fulfill their dreams of studying abroad.

Making dreams happen

Beginning with the 2014 winter semester, Mariah’s Fund will help one graphic design student each year with the costs of studying abroad. Students will be selected based on strong academic standing in liberal arts, creativity, talent and passion.

"The ideal recipient for Mariah’s Fund will be a student who holds the same characteristics as Mariah — someone with the same quiet determination and drive that she had,” says Philip Unger, Mariah’s father, a graphic designer, the founder of Method Branding and an instructor at OCAD U. “When she was going through chemotherapy she was still concerned about handing in her assignments on time. She was really passionate about her studies. She was proud of what I did, but she was her own person and wanted to do this on her terms, on her own.” 

Unger says that receiving acceptance to OCAD U was one of the happiest days of Mariah’s life. “She was literally singing and dancing for days afterwards.” He says she attended classes throughout her treatments as an integral part of her struggle to not let cancer define her.

An outpouring of support

When Unger began raising funds for the scholarship, together with the assistance of Rose Anne McCants, Stacy Kelly and other staff from the OCAD U Development Office, his original goal was to raise $21,000, to commemorate what would have been Mariah’s 21st birthday. Friends, family, people from the OCAD U community, Unger’s professional contacts and others rallied around the Unger family in support, many donating in denominations of 21, and some pledging annual donations. The fund, which to date has raised close to $57,000 — its initial target several times over — is still open for contributions. The more it raises, the more students it will be able to assist. 

In addition to an initial start-up amount, Unger and his family made an initial contribution so that the fund would be able to start assisting students sooner, in the winter, 2014 semester. The latter donation was made in honour of Michael Desjardins, Mariah’s favourite teacher at OCAD U, who is in hospital after a serious bicycle accident a year ago. 

“Mariah’s Fund will be here long after we’re gone,” says Unger. “The fund will be here a hundred years from now, and that’s something we couldn’t have done without the generosity of a lot of people, both from within the OCAD U community, and those from outside OCAD U. I am humbled and amazed by how many people care.”

Learn more

Application details will be available soon on the Scholarships & Awards page

Donate online


Gregory H. Woods. Photo Canadian Interiors.

OCAD U hosted a tribute in memory of renowned architect and educator Gregory H. Woods in the auditorium at 100 McCaul Street on Wednesday, January 8. Toronto city councillor Adam Vaughan, Ontario Arts Council director and CEO Peter Caldwell, Woods’s design collaborators Dieter Janssen and Ricardo A. Maturana, Woods’s partner, film producer/director Hadley Obodiac and Wood’s friend and colleague Caroline Robbie all spoke at the event in recognition of his outstanding contribution to architecture, design and the art of life. 

Dr. Sara Diamond, OCAD U’s president, who was traveling internationally on the day of the tribute, recorded a special video tribute for the event. Colleagues in the U.K, affectionately known as Woods’s “London Gang,” also provided a memorial video.

A lasting legacy

One of Woods’s last projects was working as a consultant to ZAS Architects on the designs for the new Lassonde School of Engineering at York University, for which his vision was “the cloud.”  In recognition of Woods’s vision and contribution to fulfilling the dream of this new facility, York University announced the creation of a legacy Gregory H. Woods Fellowship in Innovative Design

Woods was also the lead project architect with Alsop Architects on OCAD U’s Sharp Centre for Design, which opened in 2004 and transformed the campus, elevating both the university and Toronto in the eyes of the world. 

Although based in Toronto, Woods worked on award-winning projects all over Canada, the United States, Europe and the Middle East with Robbie Sane, Robbie/Young and Wright Inc. Alsop and Alsop RMJM, and ZAS and ZAS/Taylor Smyth. He was the principal in the firm Gregory Woods Associates. Woods was a graduate of Ryerson University and The Bartlett at UCL. He also studied at OCAD U for a year in 1987-88. He dedicated many hours of teaching design and art history at the Ryerson School of Interior Design and lectured all over the world, including at OCAD U. 

Woods passed away in July, 2013, leaving behind many friends and colleagues at OCAD U.

Learn more:

OCAD U remembers Gregory H. Woods 

The Sharp Centre for Design 

The Lassonde School of Engineering

OCAD U remembers Catherine (Kit) Currie

Portrait of Kit Currie.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - 4:00am

It is with great sadness that the OCAD University community notes the passing of alumna and OCAD U life model Catherine (Kit) Currie. Kit graduated from OCAD U in 1998 from Interdisciplinary Studies, with a focus in sculpture and printmaking.

Kit was a loved and highly sought after member of the university’s life modelling team since she began modelling in 2001. Her dedication to the arts and her work as a life model helped develop the skills of countless students. Kit’s image is represented in literally hundreds of student and alumni sketchbooks and portfolio cases.

In remembrance of Kit, her family has directed donations of support towards Search & Rescue Dogs Ontario and the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health. The university community offers the Currie/Brown family and Kit’s many friends its deepest condolences. Kit is also being remembered on a Facebook page, where friends and community members can share photos and memories.

The OCAD University community is considering a memorial event, with details to be shared at a later date. OCAD U students are encouraged to contact OCAD U’s Health & Wellness Centre for any support or counselling needs. 

OCAD University remembers Honorary Fellow Jean Johnson, CM

Photos of Jean Johnson
Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - 3:45pm

The OCAD University community is saddened by the passing of Canadian craft advocate and OCAD U Honorary Fellow Jean Johnson, CM, who passed away on May 27 at the age of 90. Her professional and volunteer career spanned 65 years.

Johnson’s interest in the arts was rooted in her childhood. She graduated from the art program at Northern Secondary School at the age of 18, and had her first “art job” re-drawing the American comic-book superhero Captain Marvel for Canadian audiences. She lived in Venezuela from 1951 to 1961; during her time there, in addition to learning Spanish, she painted the landscape and drew botanical images.

Johnson returned to Toronto in 1961 and became curator at Merton Gallery. While there, she represented and supported the careers of several notable Canadian craftspeople; among them OCAD U alumni Kai Chan (AOCA, Interior Design,1970), David H. Kaye (AOCA, Textiles, 1972), Viktor Tinkl (AOCA, Fine Arts, 1959) and Joanna Staniszkis. When she left Merton Gallery in 1971, she was hired by the OCAD University (then known as the Ontario College of Art) to manage a retail shop, and prepare studies and reports for fundraising campaigns.

In 1979, she began what she later called “the crowning achievement” of her career, running Harbourfront’s Craft Studio. Johnson saw rich potential in the Craft Studio’s artist-in-residence program and was the driving force behind its development into a prime destination for young Canadian craftspeople. She introduced a resource library and a volunteer advisory committee to the site, as well as encouraging international exchanges and inviting leading figures to lecture and give master classes.

In 1991, Johnson became Craft Projects Manager at Harbourfront Centre. She presented a conference, Exploring Contemporary Craft History, Theory and Critical Writing, bringing curators, critics and craftspeople together and produced a book by the same name with Coach House Books. She ended her career at Harbourfront as Manager of Special Craft Initiatives. In that role, she produced the Crafting New Traditions: Canadian Innovators and Influences symposium and publication, which celebrates Canadian craft pioneers.

Johnson also contributed to the arts as a volunteer. In 1975, as a member of the Steering Committee for International Women’s Year, Johnson helped facilitate Women and the Arts, an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Harbourfront. She volunteered for the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario (ARIDO) from 1975-1979, coordinating the production and installation of commissions in hospitals and city halls. She was deeply involved with the Canadian Society for the Decorative Arts since its creation 30 years ago. Later in her career, she served as President of the William Morris Society of Canada.

Johnson was a passionate supporter of Craft Ontario, loyally attending our exhibition openings and fundraising events, serving on numerous committees and as a board member from 1982 to 1983. She was a well-respected and sought after juror and board member. “I rarely say no to an experience, a job, or project, and have never worried too much about salary, the cafeteria or other amenities,” said Johnson in a 2008 interview about her career. “My participation is based on the potential to make something exciting, new and important happen.” 

Recognized with many awards and honours, Johnson received was inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada in 1993, and received an honorary doctorate from NSCAD University in 1999. In 2000, she was named as an OCAD University Honorary Fellow.

Donations in Johnson’s memory can be made to Craft Ontario via the online donation platform, over the phone by calling 416-925-4222 x227 or via cheque made out to Craft Ontario, noting "In Memory of Jean Johnson" in the memo line.  Please mail cheques to Craft Ontario, 990 Queen St. W., Toronto, ON, M6J 1H1.

Edited and republished with permission from Craft Ontario. Information taken from the article "The Undeniable Grande Dame of Craft" written by Melanie Egan for the Spring/Summer 2008 edition of Studio Magazine.

John Gould (1929 - 2010)

Image: John Gould, QUIXOTE ONE 22.75 x 17 Inches, Conté
Saturday, September 21, 2013 - 4:00am to Saturday, October 12, 2013 - 4:00am

Opening Sale and Reception
Saturday, September 21st at 10:00 a.m.
i Gould will be present at the opening reception from
11:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m.

A celebration for an extraordinary artist

A retrospecitve exhibition of former OCAD U faculty member and almnus, John Gould.

Image: John Gould, QUIXOTE ONE
22.75 x 17 Inches, Conté








Venue & Address: 
Roberts Gallery 641 Yonge Street Toronto, Ontario