Alumni distinguish themselves

One of Kelowna’s most established accounting professionals and a 2007 Okanagan School of Business graduate have been selected as recipients of the Okanagan College Alumni Association's Distinguished and Young Alumni Awards.

 Don Turri
Don Turri, Managing Director of the Kelowna office of MacKay LLP Chartered Accountants, is the 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award winner. He attended Okanagan College from 1974-75, completing the first-year prerequisites for a bachelor of commerce degree, which he earned from the University of British Columbia in 1979.

Chris Gibbons will receive the 2008 Young Alumni Award. Gibbons is the Finance Manager of Westhills Aggregates, a business owned and operated by the Penticton Indian Band. He earned his bachelor of business administration degree from Okanagan College in 2007.
 Chris Gibbons

To find out more about Turri and Gibbons’ exceptional careers and community service read the Public Affairs press release. The Okanagan College Alumni Association Awards reception will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 29 at the Harvest Golf Club. Tickets to the event are now available by emailing, or calling Marcy Nelson at ext. 4773.

Free Media

Okanagan College students and staff from the department of Communications will host a weeklong media education awareness event, Free Media, from Tuesday, Sept. 30 until Saturday, Oct. 4. The event will live up to its name – offering a forum for mainstream and independent media professionals, including film makers, writers, web developers, artists, activists and publishers, to engage with the public on issues related to the media and how it contributes, or not, to a free and democratic society.

Event organizers are seeking media professionals to take part in the media education and awareness week and would like to hear from anyone interested in participating in one of the panel discussions or setting up a display of their work during the event. Most of the week’s events will take place in Kelowna but select sessions including documentary screenings will be held in Vernon, Penticton and Salmon Arm. To find out more about Free Media, read the Public Affairs press release or contact Sharon Josephson.

College volunteers define Personal Best slogan of Games

summerThe Kelowna 2008 BC Summer Games were held from July 24-27 and received rave reviews from athlete participants, organizers and Premier Gordon Campbell.

Okanagan College staff played a large role in the success of the Games. As Chair of Public Relations for the event Christine Ulmer attended most sport venues and volunteer stations. At almost every venue she saw College staff lending a hand.

From the dedication of staff working in Results under the leadership of Games Director bullDave Goodall and his key volunteers Dave Harris and Deb Matheson, to the great work of Heather Banham’s field hockey officiating, to the leadership of Jonathan Bull and his team of Culinary Arts students and staff volunteers – College staff were everywhere.

Summer Games volunteer participation is yet another example of how Okanagan College and its staff are truly transforming lives and communities.


John Lent shares his Verse to Summer

lent5North Okanagan Regional Dean John Lent was featured on CBC Daybreak's A Verse to Summer on Friday, July 25.  John shared his original prose with Marion Barschel and a listener from Nelson who inspired the topic. Judith requested John write about the sounds of summer parties heard from across the lake. John's take on the topic cited the feelings of exclusion that arose from the idea. Listen to John's poem: Summer Night Party.


Okanagan College English professor Jake Kennedy will participate as artist-in-residence this August at the Alternator Gallery for Contemporary Art. In addition to being an award winning English professor, Jake is a board member of the Alternator Gallery and is especially interested in writing and visual art that is community-minded and/or community-generated.

In his project as artist-in-residence, The Pandosy Tree, jakekenJake will carve text directly onto a tree stump and will display the finished tree in the window gallery. The core text will reproduce a well-known story about Father Pandosy throwing a knife into a tree in order to intimidate the indigenous Okanagan peoples. The other carved texts (found stories, fragments, phrases) will work to trouble and disturb this "historical" narrative.

Jake can be seen working in Studio 111 and his project will be displayed in the Alternator Window Gallery (at the Rotary Centre for the Arts) this September. For more information about the Alternator Gallery, visit the gallery from 11 to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday or go to

Diana Thomson joins Okanagan College

Diana Thomson joined Okanagan College in the new position of Transitions Coordinator.  Diana’s main role will be to facilitate and promote dual credit programs, and to increase overall student transition between the regional secondary schools and Okanagan College. Diana comes to Okanagan College from Thompson Rivers University (TRU), where she established and managed the Admissions and Advising services of TRU Open Learning, the former BC Open University.  Prior to that, she worked at the University of Northern British Columbia for many years. Diana holds a General BA and an MSc in Natural Resources Management, both from the University of Northern British Columbia.

Michelle Lowry moves to Science, Technology and Health

michellePublic Affairs’ administrative assistant Michelle Lowry has accepted a position as assistant to Phil Beckman, Dean of Science, Technology and Health. Michelle has been the assistant to Allan Coyle, Director of Public Affairs, since 2005. Michelle will divide her time between her new and old positions for the next week and will fully move to her new position on Monday, Aug. 12. Michelle is replacing Jessica Oman, who in going on leave.

Sylvia Tonner joins Human Resources

The Human Resources Department is pleased to announce that Sylvia Tonner has commenced employment as a Human Resources Advisor. Sylvia is a graduate of the College’s Business Administration Diploma program and a Certified Human Resource Professional.  Her most recent experience includes working as a Human Resources and Health and Safety Coordinator at Okanagan Springs Brewery and as a Human Resource Manager at Westwinn Group Corporation where she provided advice to the senior management team on human resource issues, developed and recommended policies, participated in interviews and selection of new employees and processed payroll for the hourly and salaried employees. In her new assignment Sylvia will be responsible for providing services to managers and the employees who fall within the Vocational group.  This will include responsibility for Vocational related issues arising through Distance Education and/or Continuing Studies.

South Okanagan recruiting and events assistant to begin Aug. 5

jakePublic Affairs and the South Okanagan campus of Okanagan College will welcome Jake Mason to the position of recruiting and events assistant on Aug. 5. Jake is from Penticton, and graduated from Penticton High School. She also has a degree in tourism management from Thompson Rivers University. Jake has experience working for Skills Canada, where she supported regional competitions and programs. 


Volunteers sought for orientation

The Kelowna campus is looking for volunteers to help welcome new and returning students. On Tuesday Sept. 2 and Wednesday Sept. 3 Okanagan College will have volunteer greeters in all the high traffic areas, as well as a centrally located information table.  Shifts are anywhere from half an hour to two hours, it’s up to you how much time you can volunteer.  Greeter’s hours will be between 7:30 - 10:30 a.m. and the information table will run 7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.  There will be a prize draw for all volunteers. To volunteer, contact Christy Cave ext. 4469

August long weekend hours

Okanagan College will close on Monday, Aug. 4 in recognition of the civic holiday. The College will reopen on Tuesday, Aug. 5.

50/50 winner announced

Congratulations to Tawnya Cameron from Public Affairs in Vernon who won today's payday draw for $447.50. The Okanagan College Foundation 50/50 Staff Lottery is open to all employees of Okanagan College. If you wish to sign up for the lottery, registration forms are available from: Advancement & Alumni/Okanagan College Foundation office (P103, KLO Campus), Human Resources (Landmark V, Kelowna) or online.


An article profiling Okanagan College’s fall residential construction program that will see students build the College’s future child care facility was featured in the Kelowna Daily Courier. Read more in: Carpentry students helping build day care on campus.

The winner of the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in B.C. Writing and Publishing was announced last week. Articles about the winning book, The Orange Trees of Baghdad, appeared in the Vernon Morning Star: Nadir named Ryga Award winner, the Kelowna Daily Courier: George Ryga Award winner announced and the Summerland Review: Nadir chosen as winner of annual Ryga Award.

The Penticton campus of Okanagan College is now offering a website link to local housing to assist students. Read more in the Penticton Western News: Site connects students with landlords and the Oliver Chronicle: College offers housing line to connect students and landlords.

The Penticton Western News published an article about the retirement of the BC Summer Games torch, which was designed and built by Okanagan College students. Read more in: Games’ torch to be retired in birthplace.

Public Affairs’ Christine Ulmer had an article published on the front page of the Kelowna Daily Courier on July 24, the first day of the BC Summer Games. The article profiled sprinter Natasha Agar, a 100-metre athlete who overcame brain cancer at the age of three. Read more in: Game face.

Okanagan College’s contribution to delivering food services to BC Summer Games participants was featured in an article by the Kelowna Capital News. Find out just how much the College contributed to the big job feeding 3,100 people in: Volunteers whip up thousands of sandwiches for Games.

Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus hosted a seminar on hiring foreign workers on Monday, July 21. Read more about the seminar and labour shortage in: Demand for foreign workers still high.

Three Okanagan College students had their photo taken with John Lent and Rina Wheeldon of the Vernon Rotary Club after each receiving a $1,000 scholarship. Find out more about the students in: Rotary aids adult education.

Tawnya Cameron, this week’s winner of the 50/50 staff lottery, was photographed in the Vernon Morning Star with her husband, golf pro Scott Cameron, at a golf fundraiser for the B.C. Children’s Hospital. Check it out in: Teeing up fun.

Kelowna Daily Courier columnist Stan Chung published two Global Citizen columns in July. Check out: Go ahead, be creative and A northern picnic.

Jane Muskens wrote about changes to Okanagan College’s curriculum in her weekly School’s In segment – OC adjusts curriculum to students’ changing needs. While Jane was working on professional development, Allan Coyle filled in for her as a guest columnist. Allan wrote about the value of pursuing education, even in a hot job market. Read more in: Making the hard choice between education and a job.


Aug. 6 – Okanagan College will host its first Jamaican Independence Day BBQ at the Kelowna campus from 11:30 – 1:30 p.m. in the courtyard.  This will be a free BBQ along with bocce, music, and Canadian cricket. 

Aug. 12 – The Kelowna campus will be serving ice cream sundaes from 9:30 – 11 a.m. in the Trades building and 12 – 2 p.m. in the Pit. The sundaes will be sold for a minimum $3 donation, with proceeds going toward campus life activities. On Tuesday, August 12 we will be serving ice cream sundaes from 9:30 – 11:00 in the Trades and 12:00 – 2:00 in the Pit. 

Aug. 26-27 - Connections 2008 will take place at the Kelowna campus. If you have yet to register for one of the days of the employee learning conference follow this link to make your workshop selections. 


Do you have comments, questions or a submission for INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE? Please email Public Affairs c/o Christine Ulmer.

The next edition of INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE will be issued on Aug. 15, 2008