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On June 17, OCAD University celebrated 750 students from three faculties and Graduate Studies who received their diplomas in person at Roy Thomson Hall. Over 1600 friends and family members attended the day's morning and afternoon ceremonies.
 
The festivities. which were livestreamed to 45 countries across the globe to over 1800 online viewers, began with a welcome from Visiting Elder, Elizabeth (Liz) Osawamick who is an Anishinaabe Midewiwin-kwe community leader, Water Walker, activist and jingle dress dancer. 

Next, Vice-President, Academic and Provost Dr. Caroline Langill addressed the audience composed of graduates and members of their families, noting, “If there is one thing that I hope you have learned at OCAD University, especially over the past two years, is that the world needs your creativity and your imagination.” 

The ceremony recognized OCAD University’s 2022 Medal Winners, Students from 23 of the University’s undergraduate and graduate programs were honoured for their creativity, innovation and technical mastery in their chosen discipline.   

The Governor General’s Academic Medals were also presented to two exceptional students, Rachael Grad and Christine Woolley who achieved the highest academic standing in undergraduate and graduate studies, respectively. 

Addressing the Class of 2022 Grad, a Drawing and Painting graduate noted, “Whether your plans are to start a full-time career, enter graduate school or travel the world, I can’t wait to see what you do next. I hope you keep up your creative practice in your preferred form."  

At the lively event OCAD University awarded honorary doctorates to five outstanding and deserving individuals. 

The morning ceremony featured the awarding of the Doctor of Letters, Honoris Causa to Annie Koyama, who was introduced by Lauchlan Reid, Chair of the Illustration Program in the Faculty of Design. Koyama is a publisher and owner of Koyama Press, a uniquely artist-centered publishing company. She has made an immeasurable mark on multiple generations of illustrators, artists, graphic novelists and the Canadian comics industry and has recently founded the philanthropic venture, Koyama Provides. 

From behind the podium Koyama remarked, “These past two years have shown us that in hard times, people turn to the arts to find comfort and solace. I wish for a more equitable world where artists are properly compensated for their work and where affordable housing is not just a concept.” 

City builder, civic leader and Order of Canada member Judy Matthews, received the degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa also during the morning activities. Matthews, whose great-grandfather was E.J. Lennox, the architect of West Wing of the Ontario Legislative Building, The Omni King Edward Hotel, Old City Hall, and Casa Loma was introduced by Dr. Dori Tunstall, Dean of the Faculty of Design  

Dr. Tunstall described Matthews as an “urban angel” who has been an advocate for public space in Toronto since the 1960s. In 2017, Matthews philanthropic organization, the Judy and Wilmot Matthews Foundation donated twenty-five million dollars to the Bentway, the visionary project that transformed land beneath the city’s Gardiner Expressway into a vibrant art hub. Matthews impacts on urban life can be felt throughout Toronto.

In the afternoon, three additional honorary doctorates were presented included distinguished Métis photographer Rosalie Favell whose career has spanned 40 years and has opened doors for generations of Indigenous artists. Favell received the Doctor of Fine Arts, Honoris Causa. 

“As you embark on your journey always work towards finding who you are. I encourage you to be true to yourself. You will learn more about yourself and others when you immerse yourself in your community. Speak from your own unique place in the world,” Favell, whose work will be the subject of a solo exhibition at OCAD U’s Onsite Gallery, curated by Ryan Rice, expressed to the ceremony attendees. 

Media art visionary and robotics innovator Norman Triplett White was awarded a Doctor of Fine Arts, Honoris Causa, which was presented by Dr. Langill. White has been instrumental in media art education since joining OCAD University in 1978 and is credited as one of the first artists to use computer networking as an artistic medium. 

A media art historian herself, Dr. Langill noted that throughout his career as an educator White has, “demystified science and technology for students through real-life examples that made electronics accessible to those who might otherwise have been intimidated by its complexity." 

“With a focus on obsolete technologies that were destined for landfills, students learned sustainable techniques for production, countering assumptions that newer is better,” she continued. White was integral to the founding of the Integrated Media program at OCAD U, which continues to thrive today. 

Finally, Oscar-nominated filmmaker and producer and studio head for 25 years at the National Film Board of Canada, Michael Fukushima was awarded the Doctor of Fine Arts, Honoris Causa. 

Fukushima was recognized for his immense impact on the landscape of Canadian cinema and for his work in diversifying the field of animation. His honorary degree was presented by Veronika Szkudlarek, Interim Co-Chair of the Experimental Animation Program in the Faculty of Art.  

After producing over 200 animated films throughout his career, Fukushima offered five suggestions for the graduates embarking on the next step in their creative careers. He advised, “Be prepared, Try. Make, Build your community and Be Kind, Be Human.”  

Congratulations to the graduates, honorees and medal winners recognized at this year’s Convocation festivities. 

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OCAD University's honorary doctorate recipients, top academic achievers and 2022 Medal Winners energize the Class of 2022.
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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. 

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At OCAD U’s first in-person Convocation ceremony since 2019, Ana Serrano and Jaime Watt were formally installed.
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Image: 2022 Governor General's Academic Medal Winners Christine Woolley (left) and Rachael Grad (right). 
 

OCAD University’s first in-person Convocation ceremonies since 2019 will be held on Friday, June 17 and will celebrate 750 students who will be receiving their diplomas at Roy Thomson Hall. 

The exciting event will include the presentation of Governor General’s Academic Medals to two exceptional students. The awards are given annually to the undergraduate and the graduate student who has achieved the highest academic standing across all programs in their graduating year. 

The silver medal will be presented to Rachael Grad, a Duke law school graduate and mother of three who left practising law to study painting full-time. Grad is graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting, with Distinction. 
 
Art director and graphic designer, Christine Woolley, studied design at Emily Carr University of Art + Design and completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of British Columbia before becoming a graduate student at OCAD University. Woolley will receive the 2022 gold medal and has completed the Inclusive Design program with a Master of Design. 

Additionally, Convocation will celebrate excellence with the presentation of the OCAD U medal to one graduating student from each of the University's undergraduate and graduate programs. These medals recognize the creativity, innovation and technical mastery of students within their chosen discipline.

OCAD U will also award honorary doctorates to five outstanding and deserving individuals, Rosalie Favell, Michael Fukushima, Anne (Annie) Koyama, Judy Matthews and Norman Triplett White. Remarks will be presented by the distinguished recipients at the morning and afternoon ceremonies.
 
The Friday festivities will feature two installation ceremonies, one for Ana Serrano, and one for incoming Chancellor Jaime Watt. Serrano is the University’s first racialized President and Vice-Chancellor and joined the University on July 1, 2020 at the height of the pandemic.
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Meet our Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal Recipient 
Christine Woolley, Inclusive Design, MDes 

3 things I loved about studying at OCAD U 

1.   First and foremost, I loved my cohort in the Inclusive Design program. I couldn’t have imagined a more supportive, collaborative and inspiring group of people to connect with along this journey. Together we navigated through a life-changing graduate program during unprecedented times, in a completely virtual environment. We formed lasting bonds, overcame challenges and learned so much from one another. It is an experience that will last a lifetime. 

2.   I am grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate with the Art Gallery of Ontario to explore exhibition techniques that move beyond the visual sense, in order to create more inclusive gallery experiences. My class was invited to translate artwork in the gallery’s collection into multisensory objects through a co-creative process. The final works that resulted from this research are displayed as part of the AGO’s programming. 

3.   Especially important for me has been the opportunity to be at the forefront of inclusive design praxis and emerging research. Learning from professors, alumni and industry professionals who are thought leaders in the field and having access to the world-renowned Inclusive Design Research Centre has been an experience that is unparalleled in any other graduate design program. 
 
2 lessons learned  

1.   There’s no finish line in equity and inclusion work. There will always be room for more learning and unlearning. There will always be room to think about things differently and gain new perspectives and there will always be more work to be done. Our collective knowledge and understanding will grow and expand. We are all in a position to make tomorrow a little better than yesterday. 

2.   Ask questions but listen more. Build authentic relationships with the communities you are designing with, share space and create conditions where people have agency in the design process.  

1 piece of advice to future grads 

Share your knowledge, your learnings and your experiences. Don’t hold it all to yourself. Collective learning and understanding will encourage, strengthen and sustain your practice. Collaborate, ask questions and listen to other voices. Ask yourself who else you should be talking to. 

Your next great goal 

Next, I’d like to work with government and design organizations in Canada to further my research on equitable access to public information and support the graphic design industry in integrating accessible and inclusive design into the graphic design ethos. 

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Meet our Governor General’s Academic Silver Medal Recipient 
Rachael Grad, Drawing and Painting, with Distinction, BFA 
 

3 things I loved about studying at OCAD U  

1. Learning innovative art techniques. In previous art studies at the New York Studio School and New York University (NYU) I focused on traditional drawing, painting, sculpture and art history. At the New York Studio School, I spent countless days working from life on observational drawings and paintings. At OCAD U, I was able to take experimental art courses where I learned digital art and new media techniques that pushed my painting and drawing practice in new directions.   

2.    Getting to know talented classmates with diverse backgrounds, ages and genders. Many of my classmates are international students or first-generation Canadians like me. Interacting with students from different cultures encourages respect and insight into widely varying opinions and perspectives. 

3.    Professors who generously shared their knowledge and advice both during class time and outside of class hours. They knew exactly when to introduce new concepts, theories and artists to broaden student understanding, and when to reign in too many ideas and help narrow our focus.   

2 lessons I learned    

1. Making art and taking classes during a pandemic is possible. Classes were 100 per cent online for a time then moved to a hybrid format, in which students could learn both virtually and in person. I found the hybrid format worked well because it was more flexible and accessible. I laughed hard the first time I saw a professor Zooming in on a laptop, wheeled around during in-person studio critique. That quickly became normal!   
 
2. Though my art and research on motherhood may not be trendy now, I feel compelled to persist in making artwork that is true to my middle-aged mom-ness.   

1 piece of advice to future grads  

Keep up your creative practice in your preferred form, whether it’s traditional painting and drawing, experimental art techniques, creative writing, academic research, or a new medium that you have yet to invent. There are many demands on artists’ time and energy, and we can be easily distracted. I hope you find the find the space, desire and opportunity to create.   

Your next great goal  
I’m starting graduate studies in Visual Arts at York University this fall. My goal is to continue my academic research and studio exploration of art and motherhood. 

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OCAD U’s top academic achievers reflect back on their studies and offer advice to future graduates.
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Top row, left to right: Rosalie Favell, Michael Fukushima and Anne (Annie) Koyama. Bottom row, left to right: Judy Matthews and Norman Triplett White.

This year’s honorands include a Métis artist who has influenced Indigenous contemporary art, an Oscar-nominated producer, a publisher and philanthropist who has launched the careers of visual artists, a city-builder who has revitalized Toronto’s urban spaces, and Canada’s leading visionary in the field of electronic and robotic art.

On June 17, OCAD University will award honorary doctorates to five outstanding and deserving individuals during its first in-person Convocation ceremony to be held since 2019.

“We are excited to recognize a group of exceptional individuals who have been catalysts in leading change in their respective domains. They are innovative thinkers who have challenged the status quo and inspired others to excel and pursue their passions,” says OCAD U’s President and Vice-Chancellor Ana Serrano.

The honorands will join 750 students from OCAD U’s three faculties and Graduate Studies who will be receiving their diplomas at Roy Thomson Hall. The morning ceremony will feature the installation Ana Serrano as the University’s first BIPOC President and Vice-Chancellor and Jaime Watt as Chancellor.

Meet the 2022 honorary doctorate recipients:

  • Rosalie Favell is a distinguished Métis artist with a creative practice that spans over 40 years who has achieved national and international acclaim. Favell has used photography, portraiture and painting to understand and represent her ancestry and identity in works that have been exhibited and collected nationally and internationally. Her major body of work, Facing the Camera (2008-18), is an extended project that celebrates the strength, resilience and talent of the Indigenous arts community. She is the recipient of the Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award, Chalmers Arts Fellowship, Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award and Karsh Award.
  • Michael Fukushima has produced more than 200 films, including three Oscar-nominated animation shorts during his 30-year career at the National Film Board (NFB) of Canada. He is being recognized for his immense impact on Canadian cinema, which includes co-founding Hothouse, the NFB’s flagship apprenticeship program for emerging filmmakers. An avid storyteller and relentless advocate for Asian and other marginalized filmmakers, Fukushima played a key role in diversifying animation by helping to make the NFB one of the first animation organizations to achieve gender parity.
  • Anne (Annie) Koyama has played an instrumental role in launching the careers of visual artists as a publisher and as a philanthropist through Koyama Provides. By publishing a wide variety of publications, including comic books and larger graphic novels, she has nurtured the talent and advanced the careers of visual artists such as Fiona Smyth, Team Macho, Walter Scott, Yannick Desranleau & Choë Lum and Rokudenashiko. Her numerous achievements have been recognized by the Canadian Comic Book Creator Awards Association (Joe Shuster Award) and the Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame (Doug Wright Award). 
  • Judy Matthews is an urban planner, activist and philanthropist. A seasoned expert and invaluable resource in public private partnerships, she strongly believes in the role not-for-profit organizations play in civic life. She is being recognized for her outstanding leadership in realizing an impressive variety of urban renewal projects that have enriched Toronto and the lives of many Torontonians.  
  • Norman Triplett White is Canada’s leading visionary in the field of electronic and robotic art. Since exhibiting his first groundbreaking electronically-based work in 1969, the internationally celebrated media artist has helped to establish Toronto as a world leader in media art production. Norman Triplett White has influenced and inspired generations of media artists, in part through his involvement in developing the Integrated Media program at OCAD University, which teaches electronics, mechanics and computer programming. He received the 2018 Digifest Pioneer Award in recognition of his lifetime achievement of innovation in art. In 1990, he was the recipient of an award of distinction at the Prix Ars Electronica, the world’s most time-honoured media arts competition.

    MEET OCAD U’S HONORARY DOCTORATE RECIPIENTS

    ROSALIE FAVELL

    Doctor of Fine Arts, Honoris Causa

    Rosalie Favell is a distinguished Métis artist who has achieved national and international acclaim. Through photography and more recently painting, Favell explores cultural entanglements, the challenges of representation and themes of empowerment and identity. Her work focuses on her lived experience as a Métis woman, merging aspects of Métis identity, gender, heritage and elements of popular culture. As someone who has influenced generations of Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, she is a leading figure in contemporary Indigenous art and photography.

    A major body of work, Facing the Camera (2008-18) started what became a visual document of the Indigenous arts community. These 500 portraits depict proud, strong, diverse and dynamic professionals, artists and curators.

    For Wrapped in Culture, Favell invited Aboriginal Australian artists to work collaboratively with Indigenous Canadian artists on two hides – a possum skin cloak and buffalo robe. The experience of working cross-culturally and collaboratively produced a powerful reclamation project grounded in community engagement.

    Her work has been shown extensively in solo and group exhibitions across Canada and internationally. Testaments to the high esteem to which her contributions have been celebrated within the art community include the Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award, the Chalmers Arts Fellowship, the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award and the Karsh Award.

    Favell’s contributions to Canada’s artistic community also extend into the classroom, where she has nurtured the minds and aspirations of emerging creative artists as a teacher and mentor.

    Favell will address the Faculty of Arts and Science, Faculty of Arts and Graduate Studies on Friday, June 17 at 3:30 p.m.

MICHAEL FUKUSHIMA

Doctor of Fine Arts, Honoris Causa

Michael Fukushima is a renowned animator and filmmaker who was a producer and studio head for 25 years and filmmaker for five at the National Film Board (NFB) of Canada. He has had an immense impact on the landscape of Canadian cinema through his many contributions while at the NFB where he produced more than 200 films. These included producing three Oscar-nominated animation shorts, most recently the Joanna Quinn and Les Mills film, Affairs of the Art. Fukushima is a winner of the Hot Docs Best Short Documentary award, co-founder of Hothouse, the NFB’s flagship emerging filmmaker program, and a member of the AMPAS®.

He has also played a key role in diversifying the field of animation. In 2018, he was awarded the Diversity Award from Women in Animation for helping make the NFB one of the first animation organizations to reach gender parity. His last years at the NFB focused on the celebration of Indigenous artists. Upon his retirement, the Reel Asian International Film Festival renamed the AnimAsian award after him to honour his legacy of advocacy for Asian and marginalized filmmakers.

Now mostly retired, Fukushima skis, cycles and cherry-picks projects that interest him from filmmakers he admires.

Fukushima will address the Faculty of Arts and Science, Faculty of Arts and Graduate Studies on Friday, June 17 at 3:30 p.m.

 

ANNE (ANNIE) KOYAMA

Doctor of Letters, Honoris Causa

As a publisher, community builder and philanthropist, Anne (Annie) Koyama has had an extraordinary impact on the Canadian comic book scene. Her immense passion for seeking out and cultivating new talent has helped to advance the careers of hundreds of visual artists both nationally and internationally.

Born and raised in Toronto, Koyama is a third-generation Japanese Canadian who studied painting, art history, languages and criminology at the University of Toronto. She began her career as a coordinator for the National Film Board of Canada where she fell in love with film production. She then worked for Asterisk Films and later became a partner at Skywork Studios, making films about women and labour issues. After working on a couple of feature films, she produced commercials at Partners Film and later served as manager of operations.

In 2007, she started supporting artists by funding small projects, which led to publishing the book Trio Magnus: Equally Superior. Though she had no background in publishing, she operated Koyama Press successfully for 13 years.

Koyama has dedicated her life to supporting a diverse range of artistic voices through hundreds of publications and exhibitions. While Koyama Press closed in 2021, Koyama has initiated a new project, Koyama Provides, a grant project that supports artist project productions, publications and exhibitions.

Her numerous achievements have been recognized by the Canadian Comic Book Creator Awards Association (Joe Shuster Award) and the Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame (Doug Wright Award). 

Koyama will address the Faculty of Design on Friday, June 17 at 10:30 a.m.

 

JUDY MATTHEWS

Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa

Judy Matthews is an urban planner, activist and philanthropist. A seasoned expert and invaluable resource in public private partnerships, Matthews strongly believes in the role not-for-profit organizations play in civic life. She has leveraged her professional planning expertise to help realize an impressive variety of urban renewal projects that have enriched Toronto and the lives of many Torontonians.

Her catalytic leadership has benefitted projects ranging from the anti-Spadina Expressway campaign (1960s), to the award-winning revitalization of St. George Street (mid-1990s), to the development of the Open Space Master Plan at the University of Toronto (late-1990s), to the creation of a pedestrian piazza and the Music Garden at Harbourfront (1990s and 2000s) and more recently, the establishment of The Bentway, Toronto’s most innovative public space and programming platform under the Gardiner Expressway.

Currently, Matthews is focused on a variety of cultural and city-building organizations, including Evergreen, Park People, Luminato Festival, Council for Canadian American Relations and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Her infectious enthusiasm, generous personal donations, and voluntary work have significantly expanded the confidence and resilience of the organizations with which she works.

Matthews has received numerous awards for her work, including the 2014 Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the 2016 Canadian Urban Institute Award. In 2020, Matthews was appointed a member of the Order of Canada for her groundbreaking contributions to Toronto’s cultural and urban landscapes.

Matthews will address the Faculty of Design on Friday, June 17 at 10:30 a.m.

 

NORMAN TRIPLETT WHITE

Doctor of Fine Arts, Honoris Causa

Norman Triplett White has worked for over 50 years at the intersection of art, science, robotics and technology. Widely recognized as the originator of physical computing as manifested in artwork, Norman Triplett White has encouraged, influenced and inspired media artists since his arrival in Canada in 1967.  

Born in San Antonio, Texas, Norman Triplett White grew up in and around Boston,

Massachusetts. He majored in Biology at Harvard University with the intention of becoming a fisheries biologist. By graduation, however, he had shifted his attention to art. After experimenting with a wide-ranging assortment of jobs and painting styles, he happened upon work as an electrician's helper at the Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco, California where he was given the job of wiring a ship's telephone switchboard. The task proved to be as satisfying as painting. Subsequent travel in the Middle East brought White into contact with Islamic art and architecture. Its logical/biological sensibility struck another resonant chord. Upon settling in London, England, he began painting in a careful and strongly logical style, drawing upon his memories of the ship's wiring for visual references.

Within a year, immersed in a culture which was itself just discovering digital electronics, he abandoned his paints altogether in favor of DIY electrical circuits. In so doing, he discovered a medium with which he could express all his diverse obsessions, from ciphers and aquatic organisms to robotics and Islamic design.

Norman Triplett White moved to Canada in 1967, drawn by the greater accessibility of technical materials, and embarked upon an intense self-education in electronics. In the decades that followed, he created a series of logic-based "machines," which expressed themselves through light, sound and motion. A number of his works are now part of the permanent collections of museums across Canada, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Ontario. The Canadian Art Bank also owns eight of his artworks.

In 1978, while at the Ontario College of Art (before it became OCAD U), he helped to develop a program dedicated to teaching electronics, mechanics and computer programming to artists. His generous and accessible approach to complex scientific and technological material led many students into the new media field when it was just gaining traction. The Integrated Media Program continues to thrive and inspire to this day.

Norman Triplett White will address the Faculty of Arts and Science, Faculty of Arts and Graduate Studies on Friday, June 17 at 3:30 p.m.

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OCAD University will award honorary doctorates to five outstanding individuals during its in-person Convocation ceremony.
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Composite photo of the honorary doctorate recipients Caption: Top row, left to right: Rosalie Favell, Michael Fukushima and Anne (Annie) Koyama. Bottom row, left to right: Judy Matthews and Norman Triplett White.
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Congratulations to our graduands!

When more than 700 OCAD University graduands cross the stage to accept their degree on June 17, it will be a cause for celebration says President and Vice-Chancellor Ana Serrano. 

“Our community is so excited to gather together in person to celebrate the tremendous achievements of our graduating students,” says Serrano. “These emerging artists, designers and digital media makers are poised to use their creativity, skills and knowledge to make transformative change in our communities – here and around the world.” 

Convocation returns as an in-person event at Roy Thomson Hall on Friday, June 17 with two ceremonies. The morning ceremony at 10:30 a.m. will confer degrees to graduands in the Faculty of Design while the afternoon ceremony at 3:30 p.m. will celebrate the graduands in the Faculty of Arts and Science, Faculty of Arts and School of Graduate Studies. 

“Convocation is the highlight of the academic year and represents a significant milestone in the lives of our graduates,” says Serrano. “It will be a delight to share the energy and space with our graduates as they embark on this new chapter in their professional lives.”  

Students who graduated in Fall 2021, Winter 2022 or are graduating in Spring 2022 will participate in this year’s Convocation, which will also be livestreamed. 
 

Convocation to feature installation of President and Chancellor 

The morning ceremony will feature two installation ceremonies, one for Serrano, and one for incoming Chancellor Jaime Watt. Serrano is the University’s first BIPOC President and Vice-Chancellor and joined the University on July 1, 2020 at the height of the pandemic. 

Watt, who becomes the University’s fifth Chancellor, served as Chair of the University’s Board of Governors for the past four years. 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, Watt will preside over Convocation and confer degrees. 

“It is a tremendous honour to be selected to serve as OCAD University’s Chancellor, especially as we work to meet the challenges left to us by the pandemic,” says Watt. “I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to the University in this new and meaningful way.”  
 

Honorary doctorate recipients 

Convocation will also include the presentation of five honorary degrees to exceptional individuals who have made significant contributions to the fields of arts, design, culture, education and to the ideals of OCAD U. The recipients were nominated by the OCAD U community and will be announced in June 2022. 
 

Health and safety protocols (updated May 24, 2022)

Wearing masks

  • Guests and graduands are required to wear masks when inside Roy Thomson Hall unless they are eating and drinking.
  • Graduands may remove their masks while crossing the stage during the ceremony (in support of photographs without masks).
  • All guests and graduands are encouraged to wear masks outdoors if physical distancing is not possible.

Additional measures

  • The OCAD University stage party will refrain from hand-shaking and remain physically distanced.
  • Guests and graduands should not attend the ceremony if they are feeling ill.
  • For graduands and guests unable to attend Convocation in person, or who may be immunocompromised, OCAD U is livestreaming the ceremony. Visit the Convocation Information Page on June 13, 2022 for more information.
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OCAD U is excited to announce that Convocation will be held in person on June 17 at Roy Thomson Hall.
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Sing Yu Lam, Industrial Design  “Frame is a project that explores how we can think about death positively in our everyday lives using both physical and digital rituals.”
“Frame is a project that explores how we can think about death positively in our everyday lives using both physical and digital rituals" by Sing Yu Lam, Industrial Design.

OCAD University’s first virtual convocation on Friday, June 12, 2020, honoured its graduating students with the university’s top accolade   ̶  the OCAD U medal. The class of 2020 has shown remarkable resilience and commitment in completing their studies during these challenging times.

The highest achieving students in each of the university’s undergraduate programs are chosen by a faculty jury and are acknowledged as ambassadors for each of their respective programs. Meet the class of 2020 medals here.

In addition, the convocation ceremonies will include the presentation of Governor General’s Academic Medals to two Class of 2020 students. The awards are given annually to the undergraduate and graduate students who achieved the highest academic standing.

The silver medal was presented to Rebecca Wilkinson, Bachelor of Design, Graphic Design and Craig Rodmore, Master of Design, Interdisciplinary Art, Media & Design, received the gold medal.

The ceremony included video messages from each of this year’s four honorary degree recipients: The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, visual artist and curator Jim Logan, award-winning video director Julien Christian Lutz (known as Director X) and internationally recognized surgeon, OCAD U alumnus and past OCAD U Board Chair Dr. John Semple.

The 2020 medal winners are:

Valérie Frappier, Criticism and Curatorial Practice

Pui Yee Nikkie To, Inclusive Design grad program

Sing Yu Lam, Industrial Design

Samantha Matters, Strategic Foresight and Innovation graduate program

Maria Yala, Digital Futures graduate program

Emily Cadotte, Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories graduate program

Inbal Newman, Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design graduate program

Maryam Mallakin, Design for Health graduate program

Isabel Diana Campos Bedard, Printmaking

Ana Luisa Bernardez Notz, Photography

Natalie Le Huenen, Digital Futures

Giuliana Costanzo, Environmental Design

Daniela Nowotarska, Visual and Critical Studies

Kaylyn Hamlyn, Criticism & Curatorial Practice

Darian Ghaznavi, Advertising

Emi Takahashi, Graphic Design

Kasra Goodarznezhad, Integrated Media

Cleo Peterson, Cross-Disciplinary Art

Kaya Dacosta, Indigenous Visual Culture

Mohammad Tabesh, Sculpture/Installation

Tania Costa, Drawing & Painting

Madeleine Leblanc, Material Art & Design

Lilian Sim, Illustration

For more details about the ceremony, please visit the OCAD U website.

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OCAD University’s first virtual convocation on Friday, June 12, 2020, honoured its graduating students with the university’s top accolade   ̶  the OCAD U medal. The class of 2020 has shown remarkable resilience and commitment in completing their studies during these challenging times. The highest achieving students in each of the university’s undergraduate programs are chosen by a faculty jury and are acknowledged as ambassadors for each of their respective programs. Meet the class of 2020 medals here.
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Dr. Salah Bachir, Chancellor and Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor, cordially invite you to join our community online, for performances, greetings from our community and the conferral of degrees at OCAD University’s 2020 Virtual Convocation Ceremony, to be broadcast on the web on:

  • Friday, June 12, 2020, 9 a.m. (Eastern Daylight Time)
  • Repeat broadcast at 2 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time)

You can view the ceremony at www.ocadu.ca/classof2020

Honorary degree recipients include:

  • The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
  • Métis visual artist, curator and arts administrator Jim Logan
  • Surgeon and artist Dr. John Semple
  • Film and music video director and producer Julien Christian Lutz, known professionally as Director X

Virtual Yearbook
Also on June 12, 2020, the OCAD U Class of 2020 Virtual Yearbook at ocadu.stageclip.com will go live, featuring personal messages and greetings from our graduates. 

Celebrate the Class of 2020
Watch OCAD University’s InstagramFacebook and Twitter pages for greetings from the community! Join the celebration with your own greetings by posting your own messages using #OCADU2020!

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http://www.ocadu.ca/classof2020
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OCAD University’s 2020 Virtual Convocation Ceremony
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OCAD University is proud to announce this year’s honorary degree recipients: The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Métis visual artist and curator Jim Logan, award-winning video director Julien Christian Lutz (known as Director X) and internationally recognized surgeon and OCAD U alumnus, Dr. John Semple.

The Honorary Degree Committee, chaired by Chancellor Salah Bachir, selected the recipients from a list of nominees submitted by the OCAD University community.

“It is a great pleasure to present these degrees to four extraordinary Canadians who have made a remarkable impact on society. They represent the resilience, creativity and values that will guide us through the COVID-19 pandemic and help us to make a better post-COVID world,” said Dr. Sara Diamond, OCAD University President and Vice-Chancellor. “They will inspire and help us celebrate our graduating students.”

In response to current ongoing physical distancing and travel restrictions, the university will hold a virtual convocation on Friday, June 12.

The convocation celebrates the graduation of more than 700 students. Also, student medal winners will be presented with their awards, and a number of faculty members will be honoured with teaching awards for their exceptional contribution to the university


Honorary degree recipients:

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell

Elizabeth Dowdeswell

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell is the 29th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. As the representative of Her Majesty The Queen, Ms. Dowdeswell carries out constitutional and ceremonial duties and facilitates healthy citizen and community engagement.


Ms. Dowdeswell has served the public interest at all orders of government and in the private sector. She contributed globally as Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. In Canada her diverse portfolios ranged from education and culture to environment and the management of complex public enquiries. She was the founding President and CEO of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, and later the President and CEO of the Council of Canadian Academies. She has served on the boards of Canadian and international corporate and non-profit organizations.

Since taking office in late 2014, Ms. Dowdeswell has challenged Ontarians to think deeply about their role not just as residents of a province, but as global citizens. Building resilience and sustainability through inclusive economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and social cohesion as well as safeguarding democracy have been the focus of her mandate.

Ms. Dowdeswell has a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics and teaching certificate from the University of Saskatchewan and a Master of Science in Behavioural Sciences from Utah State University. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a member of the Order of Ontario and the recipient of numerous distinctions and fellowships. She holds 11 honorary doctorates.


Jim Logan

Jim Logan

Jim Logan (Cree/Sioux-Métis) has changed our cultural landscape through a profound contribution in visual arts and culture through his practice as a visual artist, curator, and arts administrator over the last 35 years.

Logan's dynamic narrative paintings portray Indigenous survivance by depicting the realities of dealing with colonial trauma. They have been included in seminal exhibitions that initiated the Indigenous Art movement in Canada and his work has also been included in important touring national and international overviews of contemporary Indigenous art.

His distinguished career includes many firsts: in 1999, Logan became the first Indigenous curator at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia; the first three Indigenous solo exhibitions occurred at the National Gallery of Canada (also curated by Indigenous curators) as a result of Logan’s leadership; in 2002, Logan became the first Indigenous Visual Arts Officer at the Canada Council for the Arts and served and shaped Indigenous art until 2018.

From the Yukon, to British Columbia, to Nova Scotia, to the nation's capital, Jim Logan has advanced Indigenous rights through the arts in service and leadership. He has been a trailblazer in illuminating a path for Indigenous arts and culture.


Julien Christian Lutz

Director X

Toronto-GTA born of Trinidadian and Swiss descent, Julien Christian Lutz, known professionally at Director X, is one of Canada’s most respected short form/music video directors. Having started out as a graphic designer of event posters and comics, his graphic design-influenced aesthetics and storytelling continues to define and redefine the look and feel of music, especially Hip Hop and R&B music, with talent such as Drake, Rhianna, Sean Paul, Jay-Z, and Miguel. His award-winning forays into commercials, television shows, and commercial filmmaking have earned him prominent accolades, including a Juno Award for Music Video of the Year (2013).

Aligned with the Faculty of Design's ethos of Respectful Design, Julien's artistic vision is deeply concerned with issues of sustainability, science, and even meditation to address youth gun violence

His commitment to supporting youth has been a long part of his career and he is very active in mentoring racialized and female artists, gives talks at youth organization; and lends his expertise to the next generation of makers, for example, serving as a guest critic for OCAD University’s advertising classes.


Dr. John Semple

John Semple

Dr. Semple is a surgeon and artist living in Toronto. He trained in art at the Ontario College of Art (OCAD U) and medical illustration at the University of Toronto. He received his MD degree at McMaster University and his surgical training at the University of Toronto. He founded the Division of Plastic Surgery at Women’s College Hospital and has held the positions, Surgeon in Chief and Research Chair at the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.


Dr. Semple is recognized internationally as a clinical leader in breast reconstruction. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers in the top clinical and science journals and has continually held research grants over his career. He is also co-founder and a director of QoC Health Inc., specializing in technology and mobile health solutions and is adjunct faculty at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston in the Division of Wilderness Medicine, relating to his research in climate change in the Himalaya. He is a Fellow of the Canadian National Geographic Society.


Between patients he continues to paint and has had several shows of his watercolour work in Toronto galleries. Recently, he served as Chair of the Board of Governors, OCAD University, and is adjunct Senior Scholar, Graduate Faculty, in the Design for Health Program.


OCAD University celebrates these honorary degree recipients for their contribution to knowledge and culture in their creative fields, for their passionate belief in the importance of visual arts and design, and for their spirit of philanthropy in the cultural sector and beyond.


Since 2003, OCAD University has conferred honorary doctorates on notable figures including David Cronenberg, Barry Blitt, Patricia Rozema, Douglas Coupland, Jeanne Bekker, Piers Handling, Nobuo Kubota, Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge, Anita Kunz, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Margaret Atwood, Charles Pachter, Dan Donovan, Bill Buxton, the Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson, Karim Rashid, Will Alsop, Daphne Odjig,Claude Gidman and Kent Monkman.

 

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OCAD University is proud to announce this year’s honorary degree recipients: The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, visual artist and curator Jim Logan, award-winning video director Julien Christian Lutz (known as Director X) and internationally recognized surgeon and OCAD U alumnus, Dr. John Semple.
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As OCAD U celebrates the accomplishments of its newest graduates at today’s convocation ceremonies, the university is also proud to announce a bold new commitment to support these graduates with extended access to key career-related services and supports for the first year after they receive their degree. NEW! Adobe Creative Cloud access extended by one year The Adobe suite of software tools are key for creatives. OCAD U will now provide eligible graduating students who were enrolled in the Laptop Program with an additional 1-year extension to their Adobe Creative Cloud license. 

"Adobe's Creative Cloud suite of software is vital for all students coming out of the university,” said Zev Farber, Director, Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers. “Retaining access to these tools as our graduates make early inroads into their professions allows them to hit the ground running, creating and making at exactly the level they need to, right from day one beyond their studies at the university.”

 

“We’re very proud to be able to build out our commitment to graduates to provide them with the support, resources and tools that they need to succeed in launching their creative careers,” said Deanne Fisher, Vice-Provost, Students & International. “The Adobe Creative Cloud access is a keystone benefit we’re proud to be able to offer, in addition the vastly expanded new programming we’ve added this past year to career development and experiential learning, delivered by the Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers.” 

In addition to the extended Adobe Creative Cloud access, recent grads are invited to come work, collaborate and create in the Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers at 115 McCaul St., third floor. Think of it as an extension to your studio, office or other workspace —one that is in close proximity to networking opportunities, wifi access, meeting space, career advising, and mentorship via the Creative Professionals-In-Residence program. 

But there’s even more! OCAD U has collaborated with FreshBooks, an all-in-one invoicing and accounting solution made for budding entrepreneurs to offer our graduates a free 1-year subscription. FreshBooks does all the heavy lifting and time-consuming tasks for you, leaving more time for doing the work that you love. Our commitment also includes significant discounts on annual Format portfolio subscriptions, MOO business card and promotional materials, and continued access to tools like the Talent Network student and alumni job board, Career Launcher opportunities, networking and mentorship opportunities, career advising, workshops and industry events, career transition support, and so much more. Read more about our commitment to our new and recent graduates by visiting ocadu.ca/commitment

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