Okanagan College News 2010

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Community contributions diverse from College honorees
Okanagan College Media Release

TinningS HeissS  HaubrichS
 Dorothy Tinning     
 George and Trudy Heiss          
 Peter Haubrich

EDS: To download a high resolution image, click on Honorary Fellow's photo

Four prominent Okanagan residents – a woman who traded local politics for the world of art, a pioneering wine-making couple, and an innovator focused on building high-tech industry in the region – will be honoured by Okanagan College at its convocation and commencement ceremonies this spring and summer.

Dorothy Tinning, a former mayor of Penticton, Gray Monk Winery’s founders George and Trudy Heiss, and Peter Haubrich, the founder and president of the Okanagan Research and Innovation Centre (ORIC), will be made Honorary Fellows of Okanagan College at ceremonies in June.

“Each of these individuals has contributed to the cultural, economic or social development of our region and we’re pleased to recognize their commitment and to acknowledge that they are role models worth emulating,” said Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton.

Tinning is an accomplished artist who has focused a great deal of her art on the Okanagan and First Nations influences. She served a term as Mayor of Penticton as part of her seven-year involvement with the municipal council, and has served as chair of the South Okanagan Similkameen Regional Advisory Committee of Okanagan College. She will address the Summer Convocation graduating class (June 29).

“I am deeply honoured to receive this recognition from the College,” said Tinning. “I have known many of the students at the Penticton campus through my involvement as an educator with the Okanagan Skaha school district, and that kind of connection creates something very special. There is a feeling that the community supports Okanagan College like never before, with the new Centre of Excellence coming on stream.” 

The Heisses are recognized as pioneers in the B.C. Wine Industry – they moved to Okanagan Centre in 1972 to establish Gray Monk Estate Winery and Vineyards, and were among those who helped push for a new era in B.C. wine production, with the advent of the Vintner Quality Alliance (VQA) program. The 20 acres they purchased in 1972 has grown to 100 acres of land growing premium vinifera grapes.

The Heisses will receive their Honorary Fellow medals during the afternoon ceremony of Spring Convocation (June 5), where they will address the graduating business class of 2010.

“It is really our privilege to be honoured as Fellows of the College and it is very humbling for George and I because we certainly did not expect this,” explained Trudy.

“We are looking forward to the opportunity to speak with the graduates and impart some of the knowledge we have acquired over the years. It certainly hasn’t been an easy road – we started with nothing and worked very hard to achieve our success. We feel it is important for the graduates to understand that dreams are very important but it takes a lot of hard work to turn those dreams into reality.”

Haubrich is a well-known contributor to the high-tech industry in the Okanagan, who immigrated to Canada from Germany where he directed four research and development labs for SONY. Starting with the first incubator at NRC-DRAO, he has helped ORIC develop a second high-tech incubator in Kelowna and is currently at work establishing one in Penticton, which will be housed on Okanagan College’s campus.

He is a past board member of the Okanagan Science and Technology Council, a board member of the Okanagan Partnership, vice chair of the IEEE Okanagan sub-section and is a founding member of the Okanagan Innovation Fund.

“I am very pleased and honoured to receive this great recognition from Okanagan College,” said Haubrich. “The start-ups in our high-tech business incubators are creating job opportunities for graduates and I hope this will motivate them to stay in the beautiful Okanagan Valley. Together we are building an entrepreneurial eco-system for the Okanagan that gives more graduates a chance to start their own successful venture and contribute to our economy.”

Haubrich will be honoured at the morning ceremony of the Spring Convocation (June 5).

The 2010 Honorary Fellows join colleagues: Robert Fine, Barbara Marchand and Charles Armstrong (2009); Jeannette Armstrong, Ken Harding, Richard Cannings, Robert Cannings and Sydney Cannings (2008); Ken Smedley, Lorraine McGrath and Ross Gorman (2007); Mike Roberts, Lois Serwa and Albert Baldeo (2006).