On November 12, 2016 over 130 guests came to OCAD University to recognize five exceptional alumni who have made an impact across a wide range of fields and pursuits. The 2016 Alumni of Influence Awards, generously sponsored by TD Insurance, celebrated alumni spanning 80 years of our remarkable history, and who have excelled in drawing and painting, illustration, photography, criticism and curatorial practice, and advertising. Each of the 2016 Alumni of Influence Awards recipients inspires us.
As we celebrate this year’s honorees, we also celebrate what it means to be OCAD University alumni—as drivers of our creative culture; as influencers across their respective fields; as alumni engaged with and making a difference in the world. The story of this university is best told through the stories of our graduates. It is a privilege to share five of these inspiring stories, as we celebrate our 2016 Alumni of Influence recipients. We are so very proud to be able to call them our own.

Dr. Sara Diamond,
OCAD U President & Vice-Chancellor

2016 Recipients

If you’re given the gift of creativity, not using it is a crime. I try and be creative in everything I do. Using your creative gifts is unbelievably freeing. And you have to embrace new things. Giving people a chance has been the most gratifying part of my career. I am deeply humbled to be among such talented, talented people.


(Communication & Design, 1974)

Distinguished Alumni Award

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Ad man and marketing legend, Geoffrey Roche won the George A. Reid scholarship at OCAD before beginning his storied career, which began as a junior art director at Glowinsky & Gee. In 1991, Mr. Roche launched his own agency, Geoffrey B. Roche & Partners, with its first account the Royal Ontario Museum. Within eight months the agency won the coveted IKEA business. Named ‘Agency of the Year’ more times than any other agency in the country barring one, and having never missed the top 10, Lowe Roche was named ‘Agency of the Decade’ and ‘Advertising Age International Agency of the Year’ in 2000.  In 2006, the agency swept the Digital Marketing awards, proof that the investment it made in online in 2000 was paying off. Roche and the agency won more than 2,000 awards from Cannes Gold Lions, One Show golds; hundreds of Marketing awards and a German ‘Effie’. In 2010, Geoffrey Roche was inducted into The Marketing Hall of Legends and also received the Les Usherwood Lifetime Achievement award from the ADCC. What distinguishes Geoffrey Roche is his insistence on contribution and innovation. He’s done pro bono work over the years for the ROM, the Toronto Zoo, and Sick Kids Hospital, among many other worthy organizations, and has helped countless talented young people get their start in the industry.
What has remained constant is OCAD U’s resolve to help emerging artists and designers reach their ambitions. The Distinguished Educator award is an incredible honour. But perhaps the longer-lasting gift OCAD U has given me is a life that revolves around what and who I care about.


(Communication & Design, 1982)

Distinguished Educator Award

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Since 2004, Paul Dallas has been the Chair of the Illustration program at OCAD University. His insight and acuity on the standards and development of the illustration industry, combined with his dedication to pedagogy and mentorship, has made the Illustration program consistently innovative, highly acclaimed, and exciting for its students. His design of an innovative curriculum that culminates in a unique entrepreneurial thesis — the first of its kind at an undergraduate level — was described in a 2013 external program review as being "among the best ideas in illustration education," resulting in "the top tier of undergraduate illustration programs in North America”. Under his leadership, OCAD U’s Illustration students have won 400 industry awards in the past 10 years, and hold a very high post-graduation placement rate within the industry. In his distinguished career as an artist, educator and mentor, Paul Dallas embodies so wonderfully the role that alumni can play as makers of work that inspires new generations of artists and designers. 
We are privileged to be able to create and even showcase our ideas, our narratives, and our opinions without fear of persecution. We are even more privileged to have institutions like OCAD, where creative minds can have the freedom to create.


(BFA, Sculpture and Installation, 2010)

World-Builder Award

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Dany Pen’s family came to Canada as Cambodian refugees during the Khmer Rouge, and her family and culture’s history became a jumping-off point for her highly personal and politicized work.  In 2013, Ms. Pen founded Words from the Streets, a blog narrating the everyday experiences of growing up in the inner city projects of Regent Park. Ms. Pen has collaborated with various organizations across the G.T.A., such as UforChange, Yonge Street Mission, June Callwood Centre and Artheart, to promote social services, and experiences and opportunities for youth. Now residing in Bermuda, Ms. Pen developed the Art and Early Years program for the Bermuda National Gallery. Reaching more than 2,000 pre-school students, the initiative encourages the development of motor, cognitive, social and literacy skills through art. She also led the first Art Education Advocacy community march in Bermuda, with a call to action for an increase in the budget for the arts in the education system. As a commissioner on the Bermuda Human Rights Commission, the Education & Communication Officer at the Bermuda Fine Art Trust, and Curator at Bermudian Artists Rise Up Arts Collective, Dan Pen has given voice, given back, and is helping to build a better world.
Writing about art is a privilege. It’s a hardship too. The best art doesn’t want to be written about. I’m very grateful to OCAD for preparing me for what often feels a bit like an existential career, seeking to articulate that which is ineffable. I am profoundly grateful for the education I received here. But to see it returned…I am thrilled.


(MFA, Criticism & Curatorial Practice, 2010)

Trailblazer Award

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Since finishing her MFA at OCAD U in 2010, Sky Goodden has quickly emerged as one of the most influential art critics and editors working in Canada today. As the Editorial Resident at Canadian Art magazine, and then as the inaugural editor of the website BLOUIN ARTINFO Canada, Ms. Goodden not only raised the level of dialogue about art in Canada, but also placed Canadian artists and writers in conversation with their international peers. In October 2014, Ms. Goodden founded the online publication Momus an international online art publication that promotes art writing and journalism, and stresses a return to art criticism. Momus has garnered international notice and acclaim, with mentions in Frieze, e-flux, The New Inquiry, LA Times, and the College Art Association. Readership has grown steadily and the site has received more than 500,000 readers since its launch. “In addition to her work on Momus, Ms. Goodden is an active member of the arts community, organizing and participating regularly in panels and round-table discussions. She also writes regularly for Modern Painters, Art and Auction, Canadian Art, The National Post, Art21, artnet News, and C Magazine. “Sky Goodden’s entrepreneurial nature has not only moved her to truly affect the conversation about contemporary art in Canada and beyond; she has been moved to provide opportunity to others and has in the course blazed an influential trail.
The important part of his attendance here was that many years later he pointed out that “I had studied drawing and life form at OCA”. He said, “The point was that it helped me in the rest of my career and in my painting career”. He was a big one on education, saying, “You always have to be getting educated. Continue being educated”. Thanks to OCAD for this wonderful award. My brothers and I are thrilled to be receiving it and it’s too bad dad isn’t here to receive it. – Terry Bush (Jack Bush’s youngest son).


(Fine Art, 1934)

Legacy Award

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Jack Bush’s renowned, colourful paintings, drawings and commercial illustrations are a part of many galleries collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Tate Gallery in London, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Mr. Bush’s technical experiments in the 1950s with oil, and later acrylic,  consisted of his applying thin layers of paint or gradually staining unprimed canvas, later known as colour-field painting. Bush’s work found great commercial success in New York City after it was chosen to represent Canada, with Jacques Hurtubise, in the 1967 São Paulo Biennial. In 1972, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston hosted the first major museum survey of Bush’s  work in the U.S. Four years later, he was honoured as an Officer of the Order of Canada, and a nation-wide retrospective of his work toured by the Art Gallery of Ontario. Mr. Bush died in 1977 at the age of 68. As one of Canada’s first artists to achieve international recognition, Jack Bush’s life is a fascinating story of a mid-century commercial artist turned abstract painter. His journey into creative independence marks a very important trajectory within the history of Abstract Art and had made a lasting legacy in Canadian art.