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Welcoming OCAD U’s distinguished new leaders

A woman stands at a podium flanked by bouquets of flowers.

Image: President and Vice-Chancellor Ana Serrano stands at a podium at Roy Thomson Hall after being formally installed as the University's first racialized President.

Welcoming OCAD U’s distinguished new leaders

June 17 was full of exciting festivities, as OCAD University celebrated 750 graduates who walked across the stage at Roy Thomson Hall at morning and afternoon ceremonies. 

The day featured the installation of Ana Serrano as the University’s first racialized President and Vice-Chancellor. The formal installation was led by the Chair of the University’s Board of Governors, Brenda Hogan. 

A global leader in digital media, President Serrano brings more than 20 years of experience in building award-wining digital products and creative alliances to the OCAD U community. She assumed office on July 1, 2020 in the midst of the global pandemic. 

“Under her leadership, the University reimagined the way it worked and delivered education, and prioritized how people connected as a community amid the ongoing isolation everyone experienced, not the least of all the students,” Hogan remarked. 

Quoting the University's new Academic and Strategic Plan President Serrano described OCAD U as, “the home of artists, designers, makers, scholars who are shaping conversations about the present and future of Canadian society, and home to creatives who reimagine a world in flux through art and design practices and scholarship.” 

On accepting the responsibilities of the role, she addressed the audience expressing, “In the country I come from, the Philippines, there is a word, kapwa, that underpins the Filipino worldview…it means, roughly, fellow-feeling, or shared identity.” 

She continued, “…kapwa has to be supported by active processes, in the Filipino case a very deeply rooted system of reciprocal giving exemplified by utang na loob…the obligation you feel to others. The world needs to restore its kapwa”. 

Next, Hogan led the installation of the Chancellor, the selection of which is a significant responsibility for the Board of Governors. The Chancellor acts as the chief ambassador for the University. Jaime Watt was named for the role earlier this year. Before taking on this new position, Watt acted as University’s Board Chair for four years. 

“I’ve invested in this important role. I do so with genuine humility and with a promise to you. I will be your fiercest advocate and your fiercest champion, the biggest pain in the ass to anyone doesn’t take this institution seriously,” Chancellor Watt announced to the audience that filled Roy Thomson Hall. 

“I won’t stop until OCAD University takes its rightful place amongst the institutes of higher learning of Canada and art and design schools the world over. That is my pledge to you,” he continued. 
Well-known for his service and leadership at OCAD U, Watt has made outstanding contributions to advancing human rights and equality issues, and for supporting the arts and culture sector. As Chancellor, he presided over Convocation and conferred degrees throughout the morning and afternoon ceremonies.