Passionate. Dedicated. Steadfast.
These are just some of the words to describe Jaime Watt, the outgoing Chair of OCAD University’s Board of Governors.
During his four-year tenure as Chair, Watt has provided outstanding leadership at a time of significant transformational change for the institution, including navigating the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and supporting University initiatives to advance equity and diversity and address the under-representation of Black and Indigenous faculty and staff.
As Chair, he led the successful search for OCAD U’s new president after 15 years with Dr. Sara Diamond at the helm, resulting in the hiring of Ana Serrano, the University’s first BIPOC president and vice-chancellor.
“On behalf of the OCAD University community, I would like to extend our enormous appreciation to Jaime for his invaluable insights and deft leadership as Chair of our Board of Governors,” said President Serrano. “He championed the vision and objectives embedded in our Academic Plan, and facilitated a way for all the governing bodies at OCAD U to work better together and find ways for us to implement our goals.”
Watt joined the OCAD U Board of Governors as a member in November 2015 for a three-year term, which was renewed for another three-year term in 2018. He was elected Board Chair in 2017 for a total of four consecutive one-year terms.
As Chair, he championed the vision of OCAD U’s Senate by supporting the implementation of a bold Academic Plan focused on inclusivity, diversity and equity, and passionately supported the University’s series of cluster hires that brought new Black and Indigenous faculty into the community.
During the past year, he provided counsel and leadership to support President Serrano and the University’s management team in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, which required the University to quickly pivot to an online learning format last spring, and continue offering online courses throughout the 2020-21 academic year. He also provided guidance as the University prepared to re-open its campus to welcome back students, faculty and staff.
He ends his term as Chair on November 15, 2021, having worked closely with President Serrano and the management team over the past year to implement the University’s plan to achieve financial sustainability, following recommendations from an external third-party review. This included the delivery of a balanced budget for 2021-22.
Watt was also involved in OCAD U’s successful Ignite Imagination Campaign, which supported the expansion and renovation of campus facilities to better support students in developing the skills they need to become innovative creatives in the community, and to provide them with enhanced experiential learning opportunities.
“Jaime’s love of OCAD University is a clear and shining light. He has been an exemplary Board Chair, Board member and partner to the president. We faced down challenges as public funding diminished and the pandemic began, ensuring the stability of OCAD U as it transitioned to a new president and era,” said OCAD U President Emerita Dr. Sara Diamond who worked closely with Watt when she was president.
“Jaime has left an indelible mark on OCAD U and we thank him for his service,” said President Serrano.