Convocation 2008


Okanagan College conferred 457 degrees and diplomas over the course of two Convocation ceremonies held on June 7. A Commencement ceremony on June 6 celebrated the achievements of more than 800 trades ELT and apprentice graduates. The weather held out, despite threatening skies, as Okanagan College presented Honorary Fellow medals to Rob, Syd and Dick Cannings and Jeannette Armstrong. Follow this link to view a photo gallery of highlights, read Public Affairs' press releases, College grads realize the power of the Associate Degree, Graduation ceremonies celebrate student success or visit the media section to read coverage of the weekend.

On Monday, June 16 Okanagan College graduated its first class of Practical Nurses from the Vernon campus. The 17 nurses completed the Access for Home Support/Resident Care Attendants to the Practical Nursing program, a joint initiative between Continuing Studies and Health. The program is eight months long and is open to applicants who have already completed the Home Support/Resident Care Attendant program.

CS celebrates Commencement

Continuing Studies Vernon held their second annual graduation ceremonies for certificate students on June 11 and 16.  The ceremonies were held over two evenings to accommodate the graduates and their friends and families. More than 250 people attended the events. Vice Presidents Steve Koehle and Bob Eby addressed the graduates along with Regional Dean John Lent, and Continuing Studies’ Charlotte Kushner and Joanne Thomsen. The ceremonies also featured three student speakers and a message from Okanagan College alumna Kara Kazimer. Pianist and business student Justin Sharma entertained in the Lecture Theatre as students arrived. After the ceremony everyone enjoyed fresh fruit, coffee and dessert in the cafeteria. 

College students generate $20,000 for earthquake relief

china0A group of international and domestic students from Okanagan College met with the Canadian Red Cross on Thursday, June 19 to present a cheque for $10,000 to assist the earthquake relief effort in China’s Sichuan province. The students raised the funds in less than one month through an information and donation campaign. Their efforts will result in nearly $20,000 being delivered to support relief efforts as the federal government has pledged to match any funds donated by individuals up until June 23. The donations received by the College students were primarily from individuals; though some businesses like the Mad Mango Café and Dragon King restaurant supported the cause with donations of $500. Read a Public Affairs press release to find out more. 

College students to benefit from Thorpe scholarship

thorpeThe second of two $2,500 Rick and Yasmin Thorpe & Friends scholarships was presented on June 19 to Mount Boucherie Secondary graduate Matthew Swank. Matthew plans on pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at the College, his first choice for business school.

David Addison also received the scholarship earlier this spring. David attended Princess Margaret Secondary and will pursue an  Associate Degree of Science at Okanagan College’s Penticton campus this fall. Addison’s long-term plans include completing a Bachelor of Science in Engineering.

The Rick and Yasmin Thorpe & Friends Scholarship Fund was established to support students from the west side of Okanagan Lake from Penticton to Killiney Beach who enrol at Okanagan College in a range of studies including: business, viticulture, agriculture, engineering, tourism, trades, technologies, English or creative writing.

Myra Canyon

The Myra Canyon Reconstruction Project Committee has announced that Sunday June 22, 2008 will mark the official re-opening of Myra Canyon and its 18 famed railway trestles and two tunnels with a special daylong community celebration as part of the BC150 Years anniversary. The re-opening is of special interest to faculty and staff at Okanagan College as three of our business students – Jillian Vieira, Daryl Dunstan and Byron Johnson are managing the event marketing plan and execution of the event under the direction of Blair Baldwin, Professor in the School of Business. Their work started last September and has been an eight-month experience that has helped them apply many of their skills acquired while obtaining their degree. 
For all who were here for the fires in 2003, it has been an incredible journey that all associated with the reconstruction have traveled. From the task of raising awareness and securing funding to the completion of the full reconstruction and restoration within five years of the fires that destroyed Myra Canyon, Sunday June 22 will mark a historic event for the Okanagan. Myra Canyon is the jewel of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail – part of the Trans Canada Trail and also a key to the provincial Spirit of 2010 Trail network created by the province of BC as a tool for community economic development and to promote adventure tourism for non-motorized users. It is also part of the Myra Bellevue Provincial Park managed by BC Parks. It includes a distance of roughly nine kilometers, 18 trestles and two tunnels. The restoration of Myra Canyon was funded 90 per cent through Canada’s Disaster Financial Assistance program and 10 per cent by the Province of B.C. Full details for the community celebration can be found at: or check out the Public Affairs press releases: BBA grads take lead role in Trestle celebration, Civil Engineering Technology grad takes key role in Trestle restoration.

Connections 2008

connectionsRegister now for the third annual employee learning conference Connections 2008. Two day-long sessions will be offered to accommodate staff and departmental scheduling. Each session will include a message from Jim Hamilton, breakout groups, lunch, learning symposia and a social event. To register for either August 26 or 27 (9:30 – 4:30) please follow this link or contact Michelle Lowry or Marian Gruber for more information.

College meets relay goal, sends kids to camp

24hrThrough their participation in the 24 hour Easter Seals relay Okanagan College staff raised $3,211 to support disabled children who will participate in the Winfield Easter Seals camp. The 24 hour event raised more than $170,000, resulting in a new record. Okanagan College finished in second place for having the team with the most laps run (405), just behind Site 360 who logged 415 laps. An award was given to the team with the fastest time over one lap. Okanagan College won handily thanks to the sprinting efforts of Randy Werger. Randy finished the 1.8 km distance about 300 metres ahead of the competition.  

College students return home today

Okanagan College students participating in the Southwest Studies will arrive home today after an incredible southern adventure. To find out more about Southwest Studies contact Stephen Doyle.


Okanagan College’s largest graduating class made headlines in newspapers throughout the valley. Read about Convocation and Commencement ceremonies in the Kelowna Daily Courier: College on growth spurt, says president, Harding to receive honourary fellowship, the Kelowna Capital News: Graduation day and the Oliver Chronicle: Okanagan College graduation ceremonies celebrate student success.

A few of Okanagan College’s culinary arts graduates were featured in the local media after participating in the Chaine des Rostisseurs Commis Chef Competition at the KLO campus of Okanagan College. College graduate Robyn Sigurdson won the competition finishing ahead of other young award-winning chefs such as Okanagan College’s Shannon Roussel. Read more in: Robyn’s cuisine reigns supreme and Recipes for success.

The first-place performance of Okanagan College’s Tyler Selzler at the Skills Canada competition continued to be featured in local media including the Kelowna Daily Courier: Gold for Kelowna apprentice, the Business Thompson Okanagan and Maxine Dehart’s column.

The official reopening of the Myra Canyon Trestles this weekend resulted in an article in the Kelowna Daily Courier featuring committee member and Okanagan College staff member Blair Baldwin. Read more in: Clock ticks down to trestles’ reopening. 

Okanagan College’s Dragon’s Den Young Entrepreneur Program secondary school winners were featured in the Westside Weekly for their environmentally responsible venture utilizing pine beetle wood. Read more about the success of Jessyca Nielsen, Ashley Camp and Corrie Allen in: Inventors of pine beetle pen take Dragon’s Den competition.

The South Okanagan Home for Learning program hosted a barbeque for neighbours, sponsors and partners in the program. Check out a picture from the event printed in the Summerland Review: Up on the rooftop.

The inaugural Vernon Home for Learning program received coverage in the Vernon Morning Star as Regional Dean John Lent unveiled the new sponsorship sign at the site of the home. Read more about the project, which will benefit a local charitable organization in: House offers strong foundation.

Kathryn Brooks was recognized by the B.C. Certified Management Accountants for her achievement of 30 years of certification. Read more in: CMAs recognized.

A group of Okanagan College students were photographed with NDP environment critic Shane Simpson at a meeting about the proposed carbon tax. Read more in: Scrap the carbon tax, says NDP.

The Vernon campus of Okanagan College hosted Grade 10 students who were taking part in the educational program Geneschool, which is offered by Genome B.C. Read more in: Students learn to be a CSI.

A student taking part in Okanagan College’s Bridging for Women program has now finished her work placement at the Kelowna Daily Courier. Read about Samantha Batten’s experience and her plans to earn a degree at Okanagan College in: Playing office musical chairs.

A new program to be offered by Continuing Studies in Vernon made the pages of the Vernon Morning Star. Read more about the course in: Home inspection program offered.

Stan Chung’s Global Citizen column took a funny turn with a column about the etiquette of being a house guest in Stan’s home. Read more in: The host from hell.

Jane Muskens’ School’s In column covered the topics of earning a collegiate medal and her experience completing her master’s degree. Read more in: Joining an illustrious group of Collegiate Medal winners and Moving forward as a nation reliant on our education.

June 20, 2008, Vol. 2 Issue 5


Server shutdown June 22

A major upgrade in the Kelowna data centre on Sunday, June 22 will require Kelowna based servers to be shut down from 7 a.m. until about 12 noon. Most services will be affected, including but not limited to:
- The Okanagan College web site will not be available
- My Okanagan will not be available.
- WebCT will not be available.
- Library services will not be available.
- It will not be possible to log into student, faculty, or staff workstations on Kelowna campuses. Other campuses and centres will not be affected.
- The wireless network will not be available on any campus.
- Student, faculty, and staff e-mail will not be available. No incoming e-mail will be lost  just delayed.

All services should be restored by about 12 noon.

10 digit dialing

Starting Monday June 23 you will need to dial 10 digits for all local calls in British Columbia. For example, to call the KLO Road campus from Kelowna you will need to dial 250-762-5445. Between June 23 and September 7 if you forget to dial the first three digits you will receive a recorded reminder but your call will be completed. Effective September 8 your call will be rejected.

Register for Camp OC

Now in its fifth year Camp OC is getting bigger and bigger. This year Okanagan College will host 40 camps, from July 2 - Aug 15. This means a lot of activities, crafts and fun. Continuing Studies is looking to staff for help collecting supplies for some of the projects and camps. Please contact Lorrie Bauer if you can donate any of the following items:

Spare art supplies
Scrap material, fabric
Inner tubes from car tires (or bigger)

Staff can send children or grandkids to Camp OC and receive a 10% discount.

Registrar's Office hours extended

Registrar’s Office hours have changed at the KLO campus. The new hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. This change was made as a result of student feedback from the annual student survey. Previously, the Registrar’s Office had been open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

New Switchboard hours

Telephone switchboard hours have changed at the KLO campus. The new hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. Previously, the switchboard had been open until 7:30 p.m. each day. This change was made because of the low number of calls and visitors after 4:30 p.m. each day.

50/50 winner announced

Congratulations to Patti Boyd from International Education in Kelowna who won today's payday draw for $452.50. 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

Kelowna campus construction update

The Kelowna campus is definitely under construction this summer. Here are some of the projects underway:

1) The Centre for Learning is well underway and on track for completion in June 2009. By the end of summer we hope to see all five storeys up for the new building. Demolition of the library stairs is nearly done with access to the library now from the north and east sides of the building. Check out the daily changes on the webcam.

2) Ground preparation for the Child Care Centre to be located at the north side of the campus near the facilities building will begin soon. Unfortunately this means that the tennis and basketball courts will be removed to make way for this important construction project. The Child Care Centre is a Home for Learning project so we are expected to see that project get underway this fall and completed by summer 2009.

3) Office space: Classroom B216 is currently being renovated into 10 offices to provide more space for faculty offices. In addition three office spaces will be constructed in front of classroom C 240 to provide additional office space for the C building. C 240 will be changed from a 60 seat to a 45 seat to meet the demand for smaller classrooms on the campus.

4) Phase two of the courtyard project is scheduled to begin in June. Phase two will see a larger stage and outdoor eating space created by the breezeway between the Health and Student Services Building. Over this space will be a timber frame or beam construction.

5) Improvements to two student seating and informal learning spaces in the health and Lab buildings are also planned for the summer.

6) Several other maintenance and green building projects are also underway to improve the sustainability of the campus.
For more information or questions please contact Regional Dean Heather Schneider.

Todd Butler to perform at George Ryga award ceremonies

Okanagan College honorary fellow Ken Smedley and The George Ryga Centre have announced comedian Todd Butler will be the featured performer at the fifth annual George Ryga Award Ceremonies for Social Awareness in B.C. Writing and Publishing. The event will take place on July 26 at 8 pm. at Powerhouse Theatre in Vernon.

Butler, hailed a comedian and musician extraordinaire, is renowned for his unique brand of musical satire and humour, which has been broadcast for several years on CBC Radio and television. Tickets are available at The BookNook in Vernon, The Brown Derby in Armstrong, and First Try Books in Kelowna.

The 12th Annual Links to Learning golf tournament

Join Okanagan College and friends for the 12th Annual Links to Learning Golf Tournament in Salmon Arm. The event will take place on Friday June 27 at the beautiful Salmon Arm Golf Club. Green fees, cart rental, dinner and a gift are available at a cost of $150 per person. Proceeds from the fundraiser benefit the scholarship and bursary program at Okanagan College. Contact Dawn Douglas for more information.


A Verse to Summer

After a successful debut in the summer of 2007 Okanagan College Arts faculty are back on the CBC’s Daybreak program with A Verse to Summer.  Alix Hawley, Sean Johnston, Jason Dewinetz, Francie Greenslade, Mary Ellen Holland, Kevin McPherson, Jake Kennedy and John Lent will each prepare an original poem based on a topic suggested by a CBC listener.

Sean Johnston presented his poem last week and Alix alixHawley was featured this morning. Listen to Sean’s take on the suggested topic of the end of the pavement. Alix’s poem, The Voice of the Valley Girl, is a rondeau redoublé. Listen to Alix on CBC as she reads her poem to her muse, CBC listener Sandy. Tune in next Friday to hear from Jason Dewinetz.

The rondeau redoublé is the French translation of a double rondeau. Consisting of 25 lines, it features a four-line refrain which forms the first quatrain. These four lines are then used successively as the last lines of the following four quatrains. The sixth and final stanza is a quintain which contains no repetition of previous lines; it does, however, include a “tail” which is the beginning clause or phrase from line one.

The Voice of the Valley Girl
Alix Hawley, June 2008

The epidermis is my evil twin.
The actual me is surely brown and lean.
I’m brighter than the ghost of me within,
I’m hotter than my bones of x-ray green.

All summer hot I cook up my real skin,
I bake, broil, burn, to bring myself to being,
To coax myself from bottles, oil and glycerine,
The epidermis is my evil twin.

The sun tattoos me with its searing pins,
I wear wetsuits of sweat like Vaseline,
The paleness as vestigial as fins,
The actual me is surely brown and lean.

Who am I with no tan? Flat as a magazine.
I’m no Snow White, no Austen heroine.
So what? Who wants to be some paper queen?
I’m brighter than the ghost of me within.

But. Sun sinks. Heat wilts. Autumn slouches in.
You know what comes: the horror, the obscene,
The dandruff, rickets, fading melanin.
I’m hotter than my bones of x-ray green.

Fake-tan’s a poor man’s orange dream of sin,
A patch, a smoke without the nicotine.
The phoenix from my ash is white. It wins,
The vampire self, the pale echo again,
The evil twin.

Osipova to release jazz album

Olga Osipova, an award-winning jazz artist who teaches German at Okanagan College, is releasing her debut CD "Velvet & Lace" on Tuesday, July 15, at 8 p.m. at the Rotary Centre for the Arts. Olga's music, which can be described as a blend of vintage jazz with some European influences like German and French chanson, tango, and gypsy jazz, has already found recognition in Russia, staying on top of the smooth jazz charts for over two months.  The CD Release will include a concert followed by CD signing and reception. Tickets are $20 (or $25 at the door), on sale through Ticketmaster.

Culinary Arts staff going green

carpoolCulinary Arts staff at the Kelowna campus have been making a concerted effort to reduce their environmental impact by finding alternative transportation solutions. Bill Adams traded his monster 4x4 for a smart car to travel to work in and reduced his gas consumption by 70 per cent and saves himself about $150 per month.  Kathryn Neilsen commutes with Bill and therefore burns no gas and takes up no parking space. John Bull rides any one of his five Vespa scooters to work, gets a whopping 120 miles per gallon and shares a parking space with Bill Adam’s smart car.

College represented at 60th NAFSA conference

gordonOkanagan College was represented at the 60th Annual North American Foreign Student Advisors (NAFSA) Conference by Dr. Jayne Brooks, Gordon Shuster, Fran Kelly, and Sheri McKinley. A highlight of the Conference was the Destination Canada reception at the Canadian Embassy. The event was hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Canada Member Interest Group co-chairs Karen Strang (Nipissing University) and Gordon Shuster. Special guest was The Honourable Michael Wilson, Canadian Ambassador to the United States.

Tammy Szucs competes with an old friend

You never know where Okanagan College staff will turn up. IT Services’ Tammy Szucs recently competed at a Gymkhana event at the Kelowna Riding Club with her horse Paso. Tammy and Paso placed fourth in the event – a considerable achievement considering Paso is 27 years old.

Congratulations to grandma Read

Mary Read is the proud new grandmother of Mara Lynn Read-Corbett. Mara was born on June 14 to Mary's daughter Holly and son-in-law.

babyLeif Burge and Barbara Ramovs are pleased to announce the birth of their son Samuel McKay Ramovs Burge. He was born on Monday June 2nd at  8:21 in the morning. He weighed 6 lbs 15 oz.  All are doing well.


June 20 -22 - The RV Owner's Lifestyle Seminar is taking place at the KLO campus of Okanagan College. For more information contact Al Cohoe.

June 26
- Summer Convocation will be held at the Kelowna campus at 6:30 p.m.

June 20 – Okanagan College’s men’s golf tournament will take place at Kelowna Springs with tee times starting at 3:44 p.m. The tourney is a nine-hole challenge – email Jim Gamble to register.

June 25 – The women’s tourney will take place at Michaelbrook in Kelowna beginning at 5 p.m. (shotgun start). Thirty-five dollars will get you nine holes, dinner and prizes. Register with Angie March.


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 July 4, 2008