Okanagan College News 2007

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College bestows honours on three prominent Okanagan residents
Okanagan College Media Release

Three prominent Okanagan residents who personify excellence, innovation and commitment to their communities will be recognized as Honorary Fellows of Okanagan College in June.

Lorraine McGrath, Ken Smedley and Ross Gorman have been selected by the College for their ongoing contributions to their communities, personal achievements and dedication to excellence. They will be recognized in convocation ceremonies in June.

“We are fortunate to be connected to each of these individuals,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “They represent a broad array of talent, diversity of experience and a range of communities. What they have in common is a shared commitment to volunteerism and each has had a very real impact on the communities where they live. We are proud to welcome them as Honorary Fellows of Okanagan College.”

mcgrathMcGrath will receive the Honorary Fellow distinction based on her visionary leadership, public service and record of mentorship in the Okanagan. She was recently chosen as the recipient of the prestigious Sarah Donalda Treadgold Memorial Award for Woman of the Year and in 2001 was the recipient of the Woman of Distinction, Lifetime Achievement Award. Both awards recognize her outstanding record of service and volunteerism holding positions such as President of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, Co-founder and Vice-Chair of Okanagan Innovation Fund, steward of the Okanagan Partnership, Co-Founder/Co-Chair of the Business Excellence Awards, Director of the Central Okanagan’s Economic Development Commission, and Director of the Interior Health Authority to name just a few. She draws on her considerable experience in the business world and is in high demand as a business columnist and keynote speaker.

Smedley demonstrates citizenship excellence through his work and activism in community arts. A proponent of the George Ryga Centre in Summerland, Smedley’s passion for social issues is exemplified in his involvement in the George Ryga Book Prize – an annual award for social awareness in B.C. writing. His initiation of traditional community cultural events like the annual George Ryga Week in B.C. celebration, proclaimed by the Provincial Government and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, featuring folk/country legends Valdy and Gary Fjellgaard, combined with the yearly Bill Henderson/Roy Forbes Songwriters’ Workshops and Showcase, have earned him a reputation as an entrepreneur of the Arts. At the 2006 Okanagan Music Awards Smedley was recognized with the Humanitarian of the Year award. Smedley volunteers a tremendous amount of his time to the many community projects in which he is involved. As an accomplished writer, he works closely with Okanagan College to allow access for writing residences through the George Ryga Centre.

gormanGorman is the Owner and Director of Westbank’s Gorman Bros. Lumber Ltd. -- arguably one of most philanthropically focused companies in the Okanagan, due largely to the generosity of Ross and his brother, the late John Gorman. The entrepreneurial spirit of the Gorman brothers came to fruition over the past few decades as their small family sawmill flourished, becoming a major employer on the Westside of Kelowna.  A staunch supporter of Okanagan College over the years, Gorman Bros. has provided donations of wood products for Trades and apprenticeship programs. More recently the company donated $10,000 to fund two $5,000 scholarships for financially needy students in the Licensed Practical Nursing program. Though the nursing program has no direct impact on the sawmill, Gorman felt strongly about the need to address the shortage in health care workers to benefit his community. Gorman has received several awards over the years including the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 for Outstanding Community Service. In 1988, Gorman was recognized as Business Leader of the Year and he received the Canadian Wood Council’s Paul Bunyan award in 1997 for outstanding service over the years. Gorman held several directorships for organizations such as the Council of Forest Industries (COFI), Interior Lumber Manufacturers’ Association (ILMA) and the B.C. Forestry Association (BCFA).

The honourees will be recognized at the following ceremonies held at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus:

Lorraine McGrath: 2 p.m. June 2, 2007
Ken Smedley: 10 a.m. June 2, 2007
Ross Gorman: 7 p.m. June 28, 2007