2006 News

October 2006


Bench Dedication
Students unveil the bench dedicated to the Leir Family

A unanimous decision reached by the 11 remaining members of one of Penticton’s most established families has resulted in the donation of a piece of land formerly used by the Penticton Sawmill to Okanagan College’s Penticton campus.

"We are honoured to accept this piece of land from the Leir family," says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. "Our student enrollment numbers are increasing and we are looking for ways to gain access to more space on campus for students. The generosity of the Leir family will benefit our students, campus and community."Derek Salter

Commenting on behalf of the Leir family, Derek Salter says the quarter-acre donation was made due to the family’s sentimental connection to the College.

"We are all so happy about this gift and where it is going," says Salter. "Our family’s land will be an important part of the long-range education plan of the College. Much as our family sawmill sustained Penticton through some of the toughest years of the past century, the College is a bright light
in the future of Penticton."

"This generous donation of land from the Leir family demonstrates another way in which the community can support higher education. We know that the future of our region is tied to the success of the next generation of learners and thank the Leir family for sharing this vision," says Steve Tuck, President of the Okanagan College Foundation.

"The Leir family have had a tremendous impact on the history of Penticton," says Donna Lomas, South Okanagan Similkameen Regional Dean. "Their family sawmill and farm contributed to the growth and development of Penticton in the 1900’s. This donation will ensure they play an important role in the future development of our community providing valuable space for the education of our students."

For more information about the land donation, contact: Donna Lomas, Regional Dean (250) 492-4205 (ext. 3216).

Leir Sawmill Truck

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September 2006


Vernon Women In Business Donation September 2006

North Okanagan women interested in entering a full-time entry-level or pre-apprenticeship trades program at Okanagan College may be eligible for a new $1,800 award thanks to a donation from the Vernon Women in Business.

The award was formally announced Sept. 19, 2006 at the Vernon Chamber of Commerce’s Business After Five event, hosted by the Okanagan School of Business.

"The Vernon Women in Business are pleased to offer this new award to support women entering the trades," says Valerie Blundell President of the Vernon Women in Business. "One of our members is a tradeswoman and suggested sponsoring the new award. We were all in support of the idea because we know this is a growing field for women and after a brief discussion we approved the award."

"There is a very close connection between our business students and our communities," says Heather Banham, Acting Dean of Business at Okanagan College. "Hosting events like the Business After Five help to strengthen our relationship. The donation made by the Vernon Women in Business is a great example of how our students are supported by our local communities."

"This award is so important because trades training is a lot more expensive now than it was 23 years ago," says Alice Brown, who has been an Industrial Electrician for 23 years. "For many women who have children or family responsibilities, paying for tuition comes last on the list of economic commitments. I am so pleased to see that Women in Business are supporting women in trades through this new award."

The recipient of the trades award must be a resident of the North Okanagan and must be enrolled at any Okanagan College campus in an entry-level program beginning between July 1, 2006 and October 31, 2006. The closing deadline for award applicants is October 31, 2006.

For more information about the selection criteria or to find out how to apply, please contact the office of Financial Aid and Awards at, (250) 862-5419 or visit the web: www.okanagan.bc.ca.

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July 2006


Tony SellarTony Sellar, North Okanagan Regional Dean, lost his battle with cancer on July 2, 2006.

Tony began working with Okanagan University College in August 2001 and was instrumental in helping establish the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Program in Vernon. He assisted during the transition to Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan, assuming the role of Regional Dean as Okanagan College opened its doors.

Tony's career was varied, and involved working with everyone from the RCMP in Edmonton as a Civilian Forensic Scientist in the Toxicology Section to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology as an instructor, a consultant and as a Dean.

Tony is survived by his wife Loree, three children (Leslie, Jennifer and Chris) and two grandchildren (Aiden and Charli).

In recognition of Tony's service to the College and his dedication to post-secondary education and training, Tony's family and the Okanagan College Foundation have established the Tony Sellar Leadership Entrance Scholarship. This endowment will provide an annual award to an Okanagan College student and will be disbursed to a graduate of School District 22 who attends first-year courses on a full-time basis in any program at Okanagan College's Kalamalka Campus within 15 months of graduation from high school. You can find out more about the Tony Sellar Leadership Award (click for brochure) or about donating to it by calling 250-762-5445, Local 4772 / Toll-free 1-888-650-6968.

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May 2006



Thorpe Scholarship presentation

On Friday May 12, 2006 at Summerland Senior Secondary School, Rick Thorpe and Yasmin John-Thorpe announced that they would contribute $125,000 to a new scholarship fund to help students from the west side of Okanagan Lake, from Penticton to Killiney Beach, who are entering programs at Okanagan College and UBC-Okanagan.

Okanagan College and UBC-Okanagan will match the Thorpe's donation to make it a $250,000 endowment.

The Okanagan College Foundation is honoured to have been selected the administrators of this endowment.

Objective of the entrance scholarships

  1. To provide financial assistance in the form of entrance scholarships to senior secondary students who graduate from schools located on the west side of Okanagan Lake from Penticton to Killiney Beach to access post-secondary education within the Okanagan.
  2. To provide financial assistance in the form of entrance scholarships to mature or continuing students who reside on the west side of Okanagan Lake from Penticton to Killiney Beach to access post-secondary education within the Okanagan.

Eligibility of Applicants

Candidates for the scholarship must meet an academic standing of 3.5 GPA (grade point average) in combination with significant contributions to their community through sports, culture, volunteer services and/or other extra curricular activities. Financial need may be considered.

Candidates must also be undertaking studies in business, viticulture, agriculture, engineering, tourism/hospitality, trades, technologies, English or creative writing to qualify for the scholarship.

Entrance Scholarship Particulars

Secondary School Graduates

Beginning in September 2007, two $2,500 scholarships will be offered by Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends, through the Okanagan College Foundation, to students who enrol at either the University of British Columbia Okanagan or Okanagan College after graduation from a secondary school located on the west side of Okanagan Lake from Penticton to Killiney Beach. Candidates must be nominated by their secondary schools.

Mature or Continuing Students

Scholarships of $1,250 each are offered by Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends, through the Okanagan College Foundation, to continuing students or mature students who enrol at either the University of British Columbia Okanagan or Okanagan College and who reside on the west side of Okanagan Lake from Penticton to Killiney Beach. The first scholarships will be available starting in the 2008-09 school year.

Matching Funds:

Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan each agree to establish a matching scholarship for the scholarship established by the Thorpe’s.

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April 2006


Steve TuckCongratulations to Dr. Steve Tuck, President of the Okanagan College Foundation, who was named "Man of the Year" at the 31st Annual Civic & Community Awards on April 20, 2006!

As president and chairman of the new Okanagan College Foundation, Steven Tuck has seen quite a year. Formerly the inaugural president of the Okanagan University College foundation, there was a period of transition where the foundation found itself without an institution but the dust settled and UBC Okanagan and the new Okanagan College were formed. He’ll be leading a panel this spring at the Canadian Association of Gift Planners in Calgary to help others learn how to wade through this kind of transition.


In 2003, Steven received the Caring Canadian Award and in 2005 was awarded the title and degree “Doctor of Letters” from Okanagan University College in recognition of all the volunteer hours he’s dedicated to establishing their foundation.


Steve has been actively involved with the Sunshine Dreamlift for Kids program. He was president for five years and is now past president and a director. In 2001 he was named their first Ambassador to Canada. This year they raised $77,500 here in the Okanagan.


A Rotarian, he has been editor of their newsletter for 10 years, turning it into a profit making venture and his past local involvements include Cops for Kids, Snowfest and the Chamber of Commerce. This is Steven’s third time being a finalist for this award.

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March 2006




Kathy Butler, Executive Director and Steve Tuck, President, Okanagan College Foundation, and Heather Banham, Associate Dean, Okanagan School of Business, accept a cheque for $25,000 from Canada Life representatives Chad Ellingboe and Perry Fieseler for the Canada Life Endowment Award for Business students at Okanagan College.


The Great-West Life Assurance Company, one of Canada’s leading insurance companies, continues to show its support for one of the province’s leading Business programs.

Great-West has added $25,000 to the Canada Life Award endowment, which
provides an annual award to a student in Okanagan College’s Bachelor of Business
Administration (BBA) program.

“Our company has a solid tradition of giving back to the communities in which we do business, through sponsorships, donations and the volunteer efforts of our staff,” says Lloyd Litke, Individual Sales Vice-President, British Columbia for Canada Life, a Great-West Life subsidiary. “We work hard to live up to our commitment to build a brighter future for communities by contributing financial support focused on
education, health and wellness, arts and culture, social services and community

The endowment, which now stands at more than $35,000, will provide an annual
minimum award of $1,200 to a Business Administration student who is entering the
third or fourth year of the degree program. Recipients of this award will have
achieved high academic standing and will have demonstrated positive and
significant volunteer contributions to the betterment of their community.

“For many recipients, the extra financial help and recognition of winning an award
like this bolsters confidence and makes the difference between success and
significance,” says Kathy Butler, Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director.
“The Foundation believes the future of our region is tied to the success of the next
generation of learners. Great-West Life obviously shares this vision and understands
the tremendous opportunities that can result from investing in higher education. We
are grateful for their generous support of the Okanagan School of Business.”

Great-West, together with its subsidiaries, Canada Life and London Life, serves the
financial security needs of 12 million Canadians through a network of Great-West
and Freedom 55 Financial security advisors, and through a multi-channel network of
brokers, advisors and financial institutions. Through their national program for
corporate citizenship, the Key to Giving, the companies contribute directly to
hundreds of non-profit and charitable organizations across the country.

For more information about the award, contact Okanagan College’s Financial Aid
and Awards office at (250) 862-5419 or toll free at 1-800-767-5492 or contact
Marlene Klassen, Director, Media and Public Relations, Great-West Life, London
Life and Canada Life, at (204) 946-7705.

For information on how to establish an award at Okanagan College, contact the
Okanagan College Foundation at (250) 862-5630.

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Steve Tuck, Okanagan College Foundation President, Heather Schroeter, President, Okanagan Wine Festivals Society (OWFS), John Haller, Dean, Trades and Apprenticeship, Perry Bentley, Chair, Culinary Arts and his students toast the new award established by OWFS for students in the Culinary Arts diploma program.

Students in Okanagan College’s Advanced Culinary Arts program will benefit from a newly established award by the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society.


The annual award of $1,250 will assist students enrolled in the two-year program that prepares students for employment in the culinary/hospitality industry. This is a new program offered at Okanagan College that focuses on modern trends in cooking, wine appreciation and service, food and wine pairing, and an understanding of business administration as it applies to a working kitchen.


“The program is designed to address the developing trend in the Okanagan region toward the combination of fine wineries and excellent restaurants,” says Okanagan College’s Culinary Arts Chair Perry Bentley.


“This is an excellent program that will benefit the region’s burgeoning wine and hospitality industries,” says Heather Schroeter, President of the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society and General Manager of Manteo Resort in Kelowna. “We are pleased to provide support to students interested in a career in these industries and applaud the College’s initiative to provide this vital training.”


Students begin the program taking business courses related to the hospitality industry, followed by 10 months of practical culinary training and then conclude with more courses related to restaurant management and operations.


“The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society’s support is a perfect match for the Advanced Culinary Arts program,” says Kathy Butler, Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director. “We are extremely appreciative that they have agreed to establish the first award for students in this new program.”


The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society has emerged over the past decade as one of the most successful cooperative marketing ventures in Western North America. It is the main agency responsible for wine tourism in the Okanagan Valley and in addition to working closely with Tourism B.C. on an integrated year round strategy to bring the world of wine tourists here, it also offers four annual yet distinct Okanagan Wine Festivals – The Icewine Festival at Sun Peaks; The Okanagan Spring Wine Festival; The Okanagan Summer Wine Festival at Silver Star Mountain Resort and the Okanagan Fall Wine Festival – one of the Top 100 Events in North America.


For more information regarding this award, contact the Okanagan College Foundation at 762-5445, ext. 4775.


For more information on the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, contact www.thewinefestivals.com or 250-861-6654.

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February 2006




Toyota Donation



L-R Tom Morris (Manager of Parts and Service, Pacific Zone), Jack Kofoed (Kelowna Toyota), and Jacqueline Nybo (Kelowna Toyota) present the key to a 1999 Lexus GS400 to fourth-year apprentice Adam Kopeck, Steve Tuck (President, Okanagan College Foundation), Kathy Butler (Executive Director, Okanagan College Foundation), and John Haller (Dean, Trades & Apprenticeship).


The sleek lines and high-end technology of a 1999 Lexus GS400 will greet the next class of Auto Service Technician apprentices at Okanagan College thanks to the generous support of Toyota Canada.

The luxury vehicle, equipped with the most advanced technology available, was handed over to the College’s Trades and Apprenticeships programs at the Kelowna Campus today by Tom Morris, Manager Parts and Service
 Pacific Zone, for Toyota Canada.

"Toyota Canada has been a long-time supporter of the automotive programs at Okanagan College," says Morris. "The programs have a strong reputation and we know the graduates coming out of these programs are among the best trained in B.C. We are happy to assist in their continued development."

"It is donations like these that allow us to continue to offer our students state-of-the-art training on the most advanced systems available in today’s automobiles," says John Haller, Dean. "We appreciate this investment by Toyota Canada."

"We have a good variety of cars available for our students to work on, but very few with the high-end technology that is available in this type of car," says Alan Cohoe, Chair of the Motor Vehicle Trades Department. "This vehicle will allow students to gain experience working on many of the technological features available in higher-end automobiles."

Some of those features include vehicle stability and antiskid control, optional manual shift in an automatic transmission, intelligent variable valve timing, and coil on plug ignition, auto dimming rear view mirrors, and rain sensor wipers.

This is the third vehicle the auto manufacturer has donated. Students in the entry-level training and apprenticeship programs also work on a 1987 Camry and 1995 Corolla received from Toyota Canada.

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