Alberta’s newest university set to graduate its first class since transition from Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD)

Calgary, AB – Alberta University of the Arts (formerly Alberta College of Art and Design) will graduate 200 students on May 16, 2019, who will be the first alumni of the only art, craft and design university in Alberta and the prairies, and one of only four in Canada.

“This is a historic and exciting moment for our almost 100-year-old institution,” said Dr. Daniel Doz, president and CEO, Alberta University of the Arts. The May 16, 2019 ceremony is at 1 p.m.  at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium.

World-renowned Indigenous artist and alum Alex Janvier will receive the University’s first Honorary Master of Fine Arts. Janvier, Denesuline, from Cold Lake First Nations, Treaty 6 Territory, graduated in 1960 with a Fine Arts Diploma, and was the institution’s first Indigenous graduate. Known for his distinct curved lines and use of bright colour combinations, one of Janvier’s highest achievements was his solo travelling exhibition curated by the National Gallery of Canada.  

Todd Hirsch, Vice President and Chief Economist at ATB Financial, will be the keynote speaker, reinforcing the importance of art in society, and the creative economy. Hirsch has become one of Canada’s foremost commentators on the economy, with a 20 year career that includes stops at Canada Pacific Railway, Canada West Foundation and the Bank of Canada.

The inventor of fold forming, a technique that rapidly manipulates metal and surfaces for artistic purposes, will speak to the ceremonial mace the University has commissioned from him. Charles Lewton-Brain, one of this year’s Professors Emeriti, will also offer inspiration to graduates, sharing the honour with fellow Emeriti Dr. John Calvelli and Dr. Jennifer Salahub.

Each of the graduates has one of their best works at the University’s 2019 Grad Show Exhibition, which opens immediately following the graduation ceremony. The show is part of the institution’s tradition of introducing the newest faces of art, craft and design.

Grad Show runs until June 1, 2019, and is free and open to the public. The exhibition is proudly presented by TD Insurance.


For more information please contact:

Steven Hodges, Community Engagement Strategist, Alberta University of the Arts 
t. 403.284.7656 c. 403.472.5756 e.

Marion Garden, Director, Communications & Marketing, Alberta University of the Arts 
t. 403.284.7643 c. 403.585.8114 e. 

About Alberta University of the Arts

Alberta University of the Arts (AUArts) is the first and only art, craft and design university in Alberta and the prairies – and one of four in Canada. Formerly Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD), AUArts became a university on February 1, 2019.

AUArts is a community of thinkers, shapers, makers and risk takers. We are students, faculty, staff and alumni rich in diversity of culture and thought, challenged to fearlessly explore what moves us, drives us, and implores us to see the world differently.

AUArts is dedicated to innovative and emerging art, craft and design programs. For nearly 100 years, AUArts has educated in ways that test the boundaries of common thought and we celebrate 11 Governor General’s Award winners amongst our faculty and alumni.

Alberta University of the Arts offers undergraduate Bachelor of Design and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees, a Master of Fine Arts in Craft Media, and continuing education and professional development. There are five schools within the university: Visual Art, Craft and Emerging Media, Communication Design, Critical and Creative Studies, and the School of Continuing Education and Professional Development. Our studio-based education model introduces learners to a community of passionate minds, provocative thinkers, ambitious doers and brave creators. As Alberta's only dedicated art, craft and design institution, we're proud to play an important role in nurturing creativity and driving innovation in our province and around the world.