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Nursing bursary in memory of Lisa Wilhelm continues to inspire
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Nursing bursary in memory of Lisa Wilhelm continues to inspire

Lisa Wilhelm’s love for life, adventure, and the career to which she was so dedicated—nursing—lives on in the memorial award disbursed to an Okanagan College nursing student each spring. This year, two students received the award and had an opportunity to meet Wilhelm’s parents and sister, to hear about the inspiring life led by this OC alumni lost all too soon.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing student Shelly Somerville, a single mother of three young daughters, knows that Wilhelm 2016every little bit counts when it comes to balancing school and the costs of raising her family.

“Coming back to school as a single parent has its challenges, and so I really appreciate the financial relief this award brings,” says Somerville. “But even more so I am touched by the incredible kindness of Lisa Wilhelm’s family and by the legacy that lives on in her memory at the College, through this award and their generosity.”

The Lisa Wilhelm Nursing Opportunity was established by Lisa Wilhelm’s partner Mike O'Neil along with the Wilhelm family in memory of Lisa, who studied nursing at Okanagan College and went on to be a successful RN; sadly, Lisa lost her life to cancer in 2007.

The Wilhelm family is happy that the award continues to assist students who share Lisa’s passion for nursing to be successful in their education.

Supporting Okanagan College Foundation in the disbursement of the award is the Central Okanagan Foundation. Executive Director Bruce Davies joined Wilhelm’s parents Lorraine and Clarence, and her  younger sister Colleen Richardson, for the presentation on March 22 to Somerville and her fellow student Rudi Goldnik.

Richardson spoke about her sister’s adventurous spirit, including her love for travel, scuba diving, and all manner of adventure sports. She also said this passion for adventure and nursing were interwoven in her sister.

“Nursing was part of the adventure for Lisa,” says Richardson. “It was a passion. And we’re happy that this important part of her life lives on, and that students can follow in her footsteps at the College.”

For more information about this award, and other award available at Okanagan College, please visit