BA (History, Communications), 1990
Sara Diamond is president and vice-chancellor of OCAD University in Toronto, “Canada’s university of the imagination,” formerly known as the Ontario College of Art and Design.
Recently appointed for a third five-year term as president, Diamond has steered the university beyond its traditional art and design roots to also become a leader in digital media design, research and curriculum.
At a time when undergrad enrollment in the arts has dropped across Ontario, she is boldly expanding OCAD U’s campus to include a 25,000-square-foot facility, the Princess of Wales Centre for Visual Arts at OCAD University.
After graduating from SFU, Diamond went on to earn a master’s degree in Digital Media Theory from the University of Arts London and a PhD in Computing, Information Technology and Engineering from the University of East London.
Internationally recognized as a media arts pioneer, Diamond is a data visualization, wearable technology and mobile media researcher, artist, designer and scientist.
At the Banff Centre in the 1990s she was artistic director of media and visual art, and director of research. In 1995 she founded the Banff New Media Institute, which she led until 2005.
She continues to research, and is co-principal investigator in the Centre for Innovation in Information Visualization and Data-Driven Design, an OCAD U/ York University initiative. She also writes and lectures on topics such as digital media history and practice, and visual analytics.
Among her many initiatives at OCAD U, she has established the Digital Futures Initiative for new research in inclusive design, health and design, and sustainable technologies and design, and has led the establishment of the Indigenous Visual Culture program.
She has been honoured with appointments to both the Order of Ontario and the Royal Canadian Society of Artists, and is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Digital Pioneer Award from the GRAND Networks of Centre of Excellence.
Earlier this month, Toronto Life magazine ranked SFU alumna Sara Diamond among Toronto’s 50 most influential people who changed the city in 2014.
Congratulations Sara and thank you for being such an inspiration!