OCAD Who? OCADU Kicks Off Its First School Year
Torontoist has been acquired by Daily Hive Toronto - Your City. Now. Click here to learn more.




OCAD Who? OCADU Kicks Off Its First School Year

OCADU Board of Governors Chair Robert Montgomery, MPP Monte Kwinter, OCADU President Sara Diamond, and MPP John Milloy pose with a framed copy of the bill that authorized OCAD’s name change in the provincial legislature. Photo by D.A. Cooper/Torontoist.

This fall marks the beginning of the first school year during which the former Ontario College of Art and Design will be operating under its brand new appellation: the Ontario College of Art and Design University. On Thursday, at a ceremony in the parkette beside the Sharp Centre for Design, the newly minted university announced that Bruce Mau Design, the well-known Toronto-based design firm, had been commissioned to handle OCADU’s rebranding.

The creation of this new brand identity will probably be challenging, because, as astute readers noticed back in June, when the name change first went into effect, the word “college” still dangles from the middle of the University’s new monicker, like a vestigial tail left over from a previous phase of its evolution. It’s tempting to blame this weird redundancy on the aesthetes in the highest levels of the art school’s administration, who seem to have chosen to preserve the easy pronounceability of the acronym over actual lexical sense—which is at least partly true. According to the Globe and Mail, OUAD was considered as a new abbreviation, but set aside because it was “unwieldy.”
In fact, it’s not uncommon for post-secondary schools to call themselves both “university” and “college.” Wikipedia has an entry devoted to the phenomenon; University College at U of T is possibly its North American exemplar.
(In any case, OCAD acquired its university degree-granting powers back in 2002, so this name change has been long in coming.)
The announcement was timed to coincide with a “Welcome Back Corn Roast” for students, which was, in all likelihood, the reason it was so well attended. OCADU president Sara Diamond, before announcing Bruce Mau’s involvement in the rebranding (“You can just imagine how difficult it is to win a branding competition for an art and design school,” she said), informed the cob-wielding undergraduate crowd of some of the benefits of university designation.
“The name change is above all a gift to our talented students,” said Diamond. “It means an unequivocal recognition that they will graduate from OCAD University with a specialized university education. And it is a very, very large gift to OCAD University, providing clarity as we compete in the international arena, whether recruiting students or faculty.” The new name is also expected to be more appealing to potential donors.
MPP John Milloy, Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, spoke afterward, and presented Diamond with a framed copy of the bill that had authorized OCAD’s name change in the provincial legislature. The bill itself was sporting some interesting nomenclature.
“I’ll read you the name,” said Milloy. “‘An Act to amend the Post-secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, 2000, the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005 and the Ontario College of Art & Design Act, 2002.'”
“I cannot think of a sexier, snappier title for a piece of legislation than this.”