“O’Tucky MacLean was a writer, a painter, a cartoonist, a caricaturist, and quite irreverent,” says Kevin MacLean about his late brother.
An instructor at the Ryerson School of Journalism, MacLean and his wife May Chang created the Rebel with a Cause Award in memory of his sibling, and to pay tribute to the way O’Tucky embraced life. The award recognizes a Ryerson journalism student in the Faculty of Communication and Design embarking on a semester abroad. Students apply with an essay or video describing their passion for offbeat, irreverent and eclectic approaches to journalism.
“The last 20 years of his life, O’Tucky worked as a set painter for film and television. He was extremely talented. I wanted to create an award that was a reflection of him - to do something a little different than the norm, and give students with a similar disposition to O’Tucky the opportunity to express their opinion and let their personality shine through,” says MacLean.
MacLean has a long history of helping writers express themselves. He spent almost twenty-five years as an editor with the Toronto Star, working with writers on big news stories like the Meech Lake Accord, the Oka Crisis, the École Polytechnique Massacre, numerous elections and the Ben Johnson doping scandal.
This time, he’s helping Janine Tascioglu, a third-year journalism student currently on exchange in the Netherlands. She is the award’s inaugural recipient.
Tascioglu says that from a young age she was interested in travel and “experiencing other parts of the world because of all the opportunity and adventure, and the potential to find and tell stories. Going on exchange will allow me to do exactly that. This award was incredibly helpful in making my exchange possible.”
MacLean understands the value of experiences like this: “I always tell students, if they have the opportunity, go out and see the world. Those are great, memorable experiences that can expose you to different cultures, broaden your perspective, and help you learn a lot about yourself.”
Tascioglu notes that “in my culture, it isn’t typical to move out of your parents’ house before you get married, so this is a big step for me. That alone will have a huge impact on me personally because I think I’ll learn a lot more about myself and grow.”
“I’m incredibly honoured,” she adds, “to be the first student to receive this unique Rebel with a Cause Award in memory of O’Tucky MacLean.”