Okanagan College Honorees

Honorary Fellows and
Distinguished Service

Since 2006, Okanagan College has been presenting Honorary Fellow Awards to deserving individuals as part of its annual Convocation Ceremonies. The awards recognize distinguished achievement or service and the recipients represent a broad spectrum of regional, provincial, national and international contributions. The awards acknowledge a diverse array of people, from those who have advanced literacy among youth to individuals whose work has helped create awareness and appreciation of Aboriginal culture. A list of recipients can be found below.

Nominations for Honorary Fellow are currently being accepted. Download nomination form here

Honorary Fellow Medal

Description of the Honorary Fellow Award & Criteria

The award of an Honorary Fellow is recognition by Okanagan College of distinguished achievement or outstanding service.

The criteria for the award are mentorship, excellence, eminence and accomplishment.

The College welcomes nominations (link to PDF of nomination form) that reflect the values of the College and the diversity of Canadian society. Nominees will be persons who have made significant contributions to the College, the Okanagan Valley, the Province, the Nation or on an international level.

The award will not normally be given to a serving politician or current employee of the College.

Nominations are reviewed by a standing committee of Okanagan College’s Education Council and confidential recommendations for recognition are made to the Education Council and the Board of Governors.

2015 Recipients:

See press release here
Annette-Sharkey Annette Sharkey

Annette Sharkey is the Executive Director of the Social Planning Council of the North Okanagan and has provided leadership in the social services field since taking on the role in 2006. She has worked in the not-for-profit sector since graduating from university. She continues to be closely involved with Okanagan College, serving on the Vernon Regional Advisory Committee and partnering in several College initiatives, such as Patchwork Farms at the Kalamalka Garden.
Norm Embree Norm Embree

Norman Embree has spent a lifetime working as an entrepreneur and has devoted decades to public service, most notably as the former Chair of the Interior Health Authority Board of Directors (2007-14) and as Chair of the Board of Governors as Okanagan College transitioned from Okanagan University College in 2004-05. Embree was the College’s Board Chair until 2006.
Rick Pusho Rick Pushor

Rick Pushor is a founding partner of Pushor Mitchell LLP in Kelowna. Pushor earned his undergraduate degree and law degree at the University of Alberta, relocated to Kelowna in the 1970s and practiced with Pushor Mitchell until 2013, when he retired. Pushor continues to be active in Chaparral Industries (86) INC., a business he owns with his two sons.
Rod Butters Rod Butters

Rod Butters is best known locally as one of Kelowna’s top chefs, but his reputation extends well beyond the Okanagan. He is the chef and owner of both RauDZ Regional Table and micro bar & bites. Butters’ career has taken him into the kitchens of the Four Seasons Hotel group including Toronto, Chateau Whistler, and Shangri-La Hong Kong. Butters is credited with advancing the farm-to-table movement through his local restaurants.


Previous Year's Recipients:


Margriet Ruur
Margriet Ruurs
Jim Henderson
Jim Henderson
Raghwa Gopal
Raghwa Gopal
Garry Benson
Garry Benson


Ernie Philip
Alan Gatzke
Barry Lapointe


Janet Shaw
Lane Merrifield
Yasmin John-Thorpe


Bev Busson
Tom Landecker
Mel Kotler


Dorothy Tinning
George and Trudy Heiss
Peter Haubrich


Barbara Marchand
Charles Armstrong
Robert Fine


Syd Cannings
Dick Cannings
Robert Cannings
Jeanette Armstrong
Ken Harding


Ken Smedley
Lorraine McGrath
Ross Gorman


Lois Serwa
Albert Baldeo
Mike Roberts


Distinguished Service Award Recipients:

This award is to honour and recognize former Okanagan College employees, who have given outstanding service to Okanagan College, who share and support the mission, vision and values of Okanagan College, and who are active within and outside the Okanagan College community. This award will not be given as a matter of routine and is extended to only those who are most deserving.

Nominations for Distinguished Service Award are currently being accepted. Download nomination form here

John Lent


John Lent
former Regional Dean, North Okanagan College
Acclaimed author and retired Okanagan College Regional Dean John Lent will receive the Distinguished Service award next month during the College’s Vernon Convocation ceremony. Lent is the fourth person in College history to receive the award, which is the highest honour bestowed upon a former employee.


Catherine Williams
Catherine Williams


Gary Dickinson
Gary Dickerson


Lynda Wilson
Lynda Wilson


Okanagan University College
Honorary Doctorates


Katy Bindon
William Bowering
Roy Brown
Rowland Grant
Mike Harcourt
Ronald Jeffels
Tom Kerr
Graham Smith
Miho Steinberg
Guy Tousignant
Steven Tuck
Norman Walker
Peter Williams


Arthur Carty
Andrea Deakin
Lambert Schmalz
Alison Smith
Gerry Zimmermann


James English
D. Ross Fitzpatrick
Thomas Foord
Jack Whyte


Daphne Odjig
Patricia Proudfoot


Mary Louie
Harry McWatters


Tony Onley
John Woodowrth


Roger Ames
Stephen Cannings
Vicki Gabereau
John Thomson


Charles Fipke


Okanagan University College
Distinguished Service Award Recipients


Graham Bruce


Gary Mellor


Alex Recsky