Born April 15, 1951 in Indianapolis, Indiana, Mary Ann has been teaching graphic design since 1989, and is now a professor in the York Sheridan Joint Bachelor of Design Program. Before turning to teaching she founded Maruska Studios in Ottawa, and for ten years designed and art-directed communications pieces on issues in the arts, education, health and the environment. During this time she began her work with the GDC, serving in every executive role available at both the Chapter and National levels with the exception of treasurer and including National President. During her eight-year tenure on the National Council, she shepherded the launch of the Graphic Design Journal, GDC@40, and the National Secretariat. For several years during the 1990s she served as representative for the GDC with the National Design Alliance, a body uniting the various Canadian design disciplines—graphic, industrial, interior, architectural, and landscape—and subsequently served as chair of the publication working group for the Human Resource Development Canada design sector study: Shaping Canada’s Future By Design, published in 1997. In 1998 she was honored for her contribution to the design profession by being named a Fellow the GDC.
Ever the enthusiastic student, Mary Ann obtained her B.A. from York University in 1974 and a Master of Arts in Advertising Design from Syracuse University twenty years later. She applies her research into metacognition, graphic wit and creative problem solving towards the enhancement of both student and professional designers‚ conceptual processes through the workshops and courses she has developed. In 2003 Mary Ann began working towards a Doctor of Ministry Degree at the University of Creation Spirituality in Oakland, California. The Creation Spirituality movement seeks to integrate the wisdom of western spirituality and global indigenous cultures with the emerging scientific understanding of the universe and the passionate creativity of art. A major focus of this Doctoral program lies in the reinvention of work to serve the whole person and the whole Earth, and although it’s too early to say for sure, Mary Ann plans to be tackling the reinvention of art and design education.