Seven hundred and forty OCAD University graduands from the Class of 2023, including graduates from the Classes of 2020 and 2021, will cross the stage at Roy Thomson Hall on June 9 to accept their degree during Convocation.
Two ceremonies will take place during the day, beginning with morning ceremony at 10:30 a.m. for the Faculty of Design, followed by the afternoon ceremony at 4:15 p.m. for the Faculty of Arts and Science, Faculty of Arts and School of Graduate Studies.
First cohort of Creative Writing students to graduate from OCAD U
The Faculty of Arts and Science’s Creative Writing program celebrates its first graduating cohort this year. Student projects have included an eight-song album with accompanying video and 48-page lyric chapbook; a video-poetry installation exploring the perspective of a black woman’s relationship to property; and a series of screen printed, hand-beaded garments exploring the etymology of everyday terminology and words.
“We're proud to celebrate our first graduating cohort—trailblazers who helped shape the dynamic, supportive community the Creative Writing program has become over the past four years,” says Catherine Black, Associate Professor and Chair of the Creative Writing Program.
“These graduates represent what is best about our program. They are bold innovators, their work demands attention, they are committed to social justice in all they do, and they are poised to make waves in the literary world. We are so excited to see what's next for these graduates, and we will always treat them as part of our ever-growing creative writing community at OCAD U.”
Personal experience inspires big ideas for the future
Sayeh Ghahari is graduating from the Environmental Design program with a specialization in Interior Design and was this year’s medal winner for the Environmental Design.
For her final project, she designed a Paediatric Epilepsy Clinic for Whitby that would serve the town’s increasing population of children and address the limited number of hospitals for epilepsy in Durham region.
“Mental health problems frequently occur in children with epilepsy, but the diagnosis is usually missed, and therapeutic opportunities are often lost,” says Ghahari.
“For my thesis project, I opted to design a paediatric epilepsy clinic that optimizes the healing process of epilepsy patients and families. This facility aims to address the shortcomings of traditional epilepsy programs through designing pre and post seizure initiatives.”
Noting that this project was personal for her, Ghahari expresses: “Through personal experiences and interactions with individuals who have epilepsy, I have witnessed the challenges they face in accessing quality care.”
Back to school for a new chapter
After completing a degree in Journalism in 1989, Nandy Heule is graduating from the Printmaking and Publications program at OCAD U this year. The multimedia artist, writer and grandmother says she fell in love with ink and etching in her final year at OCAD U.
“I like to leverage the unique characteristics of printmaking, especially working with multiples and the accessibility of the medium,” says Heule. “In current projects, I juxtapose plant illustrations from the first secular books printed in Europe in the 1500s with my own photos of similar plants.”
“I’m a grandma who needed a career change in her fifties,” she says. “I worked a busy job three days a week and attended OCAD U part-time, so it took a while. I didn’t need a degree but felt I would get more honest feedback and access to studio space like nowhere else.”
Governor General’s Academic Medal recipients
Convocation will include the recognition of two exceptional students who are recipients of the Governor General’s Academic Medals. The silver medal is given annually to an undergraduate student and the gold medal is awarded to a graduate student who have achieved the highest academic standing across all programs in their graduating year.
The undergraduate recipient for 2023 is Vladimir Kanic, who is graduating with an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts in Integrated Media.
Kanic is a multidisciplinary artist and environmental activist. In his work over the past few years, he experimented with seaweed salad, which led him to the invention of new sculpting materials made from organic biopolymers, and the creation of sculptures that incorporate living algae.
He has won several awards for his living sculptures, including the Artist Project Toronto 2023 Career Launcher Award, Toronto Arts Foundation 2023 Newcomer Arts Award and InterAccess 2022 Media Prize.
The graduate recipient for 2023 is Laryn Van Dyk, who is graduating with a Master of Design in Inclusive Design. She is a designer and researcher with experience in service design, user research, user interface design, digital accessibility, graphic design, and art direction.
At OCAD U, she has been exploring the youth experience with digital mental health interventions, including apps and related platforms for mental health. She received the 2023 OCAD University Medal for Inclusive Design for her thesis work.
Honorary doctorate recipients
At Convocation, OCAD U will award honorary doctorates to five remarkable individuals who have been leaders of change, having made a direct impact on arts and culture in Canada and worldwide.
This year’s honorands are Kat Holmes, Robert Houle, Philip B. Lind, Nancy McCain and Rosemary Sadlier.