The sweet smile of Convocation 2012

con hatsSmiling faces were in plentiful supply virtually all last weekend at Okanagan College, as hundreds of students, family, friends, and their Professors, Instructors and College dignitaries took part in this year’s Spring Convocation.


Weather may have dampened the skies late Friday, but it did nothing to dampen the spirits of more than 100 graduates from various Trades programs who took part in the ceremony held in the atrium of the Centre for Learning at the Kelowna campus.


con smilesSaturday, the skies opened up, and hundreds more flooded the courtyard of the Kelowna campus, which was brightened with new banners celebrating achievement, diversity and leadership.


President Jim Hamilton rallied students to bring an optimistic attitude to their future, regardless of what world events may be transpiring, while Board of Governors Vice-Chair Tom Styffe reminded students of the value of making mistakes, noting the creation of the 3M Post-It note.


The ceremonies were also punctuated with student addresses from Landon Schwarz (Culinary Arts), Barbara Fay (Early Childhood Education), and Jillian Battaglio and Nicole Bazansky (Bachelor of Business Administration).


This year’s Spring Convocation marked the largest held since Okanagan College was re-established in 2005.

To read the full media release, click here.

Kelowna Campus goes Hollywood

Director Vic Sarin prepares for a shot from the “interrogation room” - we know it as the recording studio for audio engineering.
Portions of the Kelowna campus were given over to the magic of the movies Tuesday, as the cast and crew of A Mother’s Nightmare descended with their cables, lights, cameras, trucks and trailers for a day’s filming.


The nursing lab was turned into Ward C of a hospital, a portion of the audio engineering lab was converted to resemble an interrogation room in a police station, and the southern entrance to the C building was relabeled as… a police station.


About 40 crew were on hand for the filming, which was a last-minute addition to the location schedule for the production after another planned location didn’t pan out.


The made-for-TV movie, being made by Sepia Films, is expected to air within a year on Lifetime Networks, which is a production partner. Lifetime broadcasts to approximately 98 million viewers in the U.S.


Written by Shelly Gillen (Writer and Producer, with credits including The Listener, Murdock Mysteries, Fido), the film stars actor/singer Jessica Lowndes, known to many from her role in 90210, and Annabeth Gish, perhaps best known for her supporting role as Elizabeth Bartlet Westin in The West Wing.


The film is being directed by Vic Sarin, who has directed films such as Partition, Cold Comfort, and His Father’s Shoes.


Many of the crew are Okanagan residents.


Filming was scheduled to wrap up at 8 p.m. Tuesday, but the crew is going to be in the Central Okanagan for approximately four weeks.

ACCC conference on route to Penticton 

Okanagan College was front and centre at the Association of Canadian Community Colleges’ annual conference, which took place May 26-29 in Halifax.


The College was on site to promote hosting the 2013 ACCC conference, which will take place in Penticton June 1-3, starting with a special reception at the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation and continue throughout the three days at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.


At the Halifax conference, Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton had the honour of introducing guest speaker John Kao, chairman of the Institute for Large Scale Innovation. Other speakers included former president of Mexico Vicente Fox, humanitarian and former UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis, Lieutenant-General The Honourable Roméo A. Dallaire, and Governor General of Canada David Johnston.


Approximately 700 delegates made up of college leaders, faculty, students and international representatives take part in the annual conferences.

Residential Construction program works with Kindale

North Okanagan Regional Dean (far left) took part in the ground breaking ceremony for the new Kindale headquarters and affordable housing centre.
More than 100 people came out in Armstrong to witness the ground-breaking ceremony of a new affordable housing development being built in partnership with Okanagan College’s Residential Construction program.


The Kindale Developmental Association had been working for years on the project and the College determined it was a perfect fit for its students.


North Okanagan Regional Dean Jane Lister and Associate Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship Randy Werger took part in the ceremony, along with numerous students and other dignitaries.


About 15 students have been working on the job site. Once complete, the building will house Kindale’s new headquarters, along with affordable apartments for seven individuals and families.


 To read the Kindale media release, click here.


Honorary Fellows inspire next generation

MerrifieldInspiration was on the minds of this year’s Okanagan College Honorary Fellows as they took to the stage at this past weekend’s Convocation Ceremonies held in Kelowna.

Honorary Fellow Yasmin John-Thorpe, who has worked for decades inspiring young children through her passion for writing, received her fellowship at the morning ceremony, while Lane Merrifield, co-founder of Club Penguin, spoke in the afternoon.

Merrifield reminded students that no matter what their grades may be, it’s an individual’s personal quest that truly determines success.

“When I was in school I did what I needed to do,” Merrifield said, referring to his C average experience. “But later I found my joy, my muses, my element and then I did it with all my heart.”

Merrifield said there are far too many people who never take the time to connect with their real talents.

“Make sure you travel, meditate,” he said. “And when you find what you love, work won’t feel like work. The ones at the top are always the ones who took the time to find their talent. Don’t just chase the dollars, find yourself and be truly successful.”

Catherine Williams received the Distinguished Service award from Okanagan College. The third Honorary Fellow recipient, Janet Shaw, will be receiving her award at the Summer Convocation, which takes place June 28 in Kelowna.

An Educational Journey

Befus, MadelaineMadelaine Befus’ education and career have been entwined with Okanagan College and before that, Okanagan University College, for many years.


In 1971, she completed an Office Administration Certificate at the Kelowna campus and completed some Okanagan College Arts and Business courses at the Vernon “Army Camp” campus.

After working at College of the Rockies and Malaspina College, in government, and in business, Befus became an Office Administration instructor with Okanagan College in Vernon, working out of E-12, one of the five de-commissioned army barracks on the edge of Vernon.
She taught full-time for Okanagan College from 1979 to 1983, then returned part-time from 1985 to 1992 to teach for Office Administration and Continuing Studies whilst parenting her two sons and running the accounting office for a family business.


Please help celebrate Madelaine Befus' career on Wednesday, June 13 from 3 - 5 p.m. in E108 (Centre For Learning Building) at the Kelowna campus.


To read more about Madeline Befus and her successful journey, click here.

Bike to work a wheel winner 

bikersSeventy-five riders took part in this year’s Okanagan College Bike to Work team, including 10 new recruits as a result of the team’s bring-a-friend program.


Organizer Paul Stephenson, aka Biker Paul, said the group clocked in 1,867-km – 204-km more than last year – the equivalent of riding from Kelowna to Portage La Prairie in Manitoba.


Many riders have now set a goal of riding to work at least once a week throughout the summer. For more information on how to get ready for next year, contact Biker Paul.

The Vernon campus also got on board with the nine-member Torphile Psychlers racking up a total of 313-km. Congratulations to name-draw prizewinners Jeanne Boekelheide (free massage from OVCMT) and Chandra McCann (bracelet from Re-Cycled Accessories), and an extra-big congratulations to Scott Richardson who took first place in the Car vs. Bike Challenge, beating the first media vehicle by one minute, 17 seconds.

Great performance from master swimmers

master swimmersOkanagan College turned out strong results at the Canadian Masters Swimming Championships held over the May long weekend.


Water Engineering Technology student Allegra Rogers placed in the top five in all of her events and won the 100m breast stroke taking 10 seconds off of her previous best time.  


Psychology Professor Leora Dahl placed in the top 10 in all of her events and took second place in the 200m fly after taking four seconds off of her best time.  


The two women were also on a relay team together which placed second overall.


Meanwhile, Ben Kendel from IT Services knocked four seconds off of his 50m free time and 10 seconds off of his 100m free time to place in the top 10 in his age group for both events.


The Championships attracted significant support from Okanagan College including sponsorship, and the presence of many College volunteers.

College employee wins high praise from Air Cadet League of Canada

John Caspers RCACJohn Caspers may be in charge of parking at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus, but when it comes to helping young teens, nothing stops him.


This past weekend, Caspers received the prestigious President’s Award from the Air Cadet League of Canada for his 17 years of service to the organization as a Civilian Instructor with 243 Ogopogo Squadron in Kelowna.


Caspers provides young cadets, age 12 to 18, with leadership and survival training.


“Some of the kids I work with come from some pretty rough backgrounds and I keep telling them there is no such thing as failure,” said Caspers. “If you put your mind to it, you can do anything.”


Caspers recently used that tough but encouraging method to help a young cadet become one of only 30 in the province to earn her way to getting a free pilot’s license.


“She kept telling me she didn’t think she could this, and I kept telling her otherwise,” he said.


At a special event over the weekend, Caspers, who served in the military himself before coming to Okanagan College, received the citation.


“No one was telling me anything,” said Caspers. “I knew something was up, but had no idea.”


This marks the first time the President’s Award has been handed out to a civilian.

June 5, 2012 Vol. 6 Issue 4


Okanagan College Garage Sale success

The Okanagan College Garage Sale attracted lots of crowds, more than $5,000 and an outstanding number of volunteers.


Organizer Angie March said aside from those who helped leading up to the event, others volunteered Friday, and more on Saturday, including a security guard, and those in trades who offered up the automotive shop for storage and views.


“We couldn’t have done it without them,” she said.

Registration open for Learner-Centred Instructor Certificate program

The Institute for Learning and Teaching is offering its third session of the very popular Learner-Centred Instructor Certificate program which runs from August 27 through to November 30.

This is a 12-week, blended, 60-hour program offered to both Okanagan College employees and external applicants. It is divided into six two-week courses and participants will work with their cohort group both online and in person. Completion of the program qualifies for a two-course credit towards the VCC Provincial Instructor Diploma.

While ideal for an instructor new to teaching in a college environment, this program has much to offer seasoned practitioners who want to further enhance their instructional skills to become more learner-centred.

Registration for this program is now open and seats in the certificate program are limited. For more information or to be put on a contact list, please email Paul Stephenson. 

Vernon truck run on hold

Supply Management Services advises that the regular Friday truck run from Kelowna to Vernon will be discontinued for the summer. The last run will be on Friday June 8. Service resumes August 10. Please ensure everyone in your department or division is notified about the change in schedule. Any concerns, contact Brad Piontek. 

Active update

There are still a few more days to take part in this year’s Commuter Challenge.


The event runs as part of National Environment Week through to Saturday, June 9. Participants only need to commit to one trip, to take part, so walk, cycle or car-pool to work and make a difference.


To take part, complete the online registration form, or stop by the Kelowna campus Recreation office in A105.


June 7 - Students get a chance to celebrate the summer session with a lunchtime BBQ in the courtyard of the Kelowna campus from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.


June 8 – The Teaching Sustainability discussion group takes place at the Kelowna campus, Room L103, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. for College employees interested in learning about how to deepen discussion in the classroom.


June 10 – OC Coaches team takes part in the Walk to Fight Arthritis in Kelowna. To take part, visit the Athletics and Recreation Facebook page  and click on the event. For more info contact Jenn.


June 13 – The College’s Salmon Arm campus celebrates outstanding students with its 37th Annual Awards Ceremony. Fifty awards will be handed out, including awards to incoming high school students and program graduates. The event takes place from 7-8:30 pm. in Room 130.


June 22 – The 16th annual ACIC Links to Learning Golf Tournament takes place at the Talking Rock Golf Course, on the north shore of Little Shuswap Lake. Funds raised go to support scholarship and bursary funds for Okanagan College. To register contact Patty Bruce.

June 27 – The College’s Vernon campus holds its annual Convocation Ceremony at 4:30 p.m. at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre.


June 28 – The College’s Kelowna campus conducts its Summer Convocation at 6 p.m. for graduates from various Continuing Studies and Certificate programs.


Spring Convocation brought out the flowers and the photographers. See: Okanagan College celebrates spring convocation.


Local chef and Okanagan College Culinary Arts graduate Jon Garratt is encouraging gardeners to grow a row for the food bank. Read: Local chef calling on all gardeners.

Castanet and CHBC captured a few young entrepreneurs from the SIFE program in the South Okanagan competing for cash. To view the videos, click Castanet
, and CHBC.

Catherine Williams received a Distinguished Service Award from Okanagan College on the weekend, and took some time to speak with



The Penticton Herald, the Courier and the Capital News picked up the news release that spotlighted the success of two top trades students who returned with bronze medals from the Skills Canada competition. Read: Trade students win skillfully, Medal winners withstood pressure, and Students win Skills Canada bronze.


Okanagan College’s booming aboriginal population is looking to see more culturally-relevant events. See: OC Aboriginal students want more cultural events

Secondary school students in Vernon have access to more Okanagan College Awards. Read: Cash awards for grads in the Vernon Morning Star.

Young elementary school students are taking part in Okanagan College and SIFE’s Instill Life program. Read: Students make a difference, from the Vernon Morning Star.


The Capital News picked up on Lauren Strang’s success. The young Okanagan College School of Business student won a national award for project management. Read: Student behind Young Entrepreneur program wins national award.


The Morning Star reported on the sixth annual Young Entrepreneur Dragons’ Den competition. Read: High school students thrive in Dragons’ Den.


Confusion over the new site for a Greater Vernon sports complex has now been settled. Read: College site official for proposed track.


The value of Vernon’s Spring into College information session was featured in the Morning Star. Read: Helping students spring into college.


Various local media picked up news of the Okanagan College’s Garage sale. Read: College opens its doors to public for used computer inventory sale, and Trunk Sale goodies draw shoppers looking for pre-owned stuff for sale.


The Harvest Your Family Tree conference, which takes place this year at Okanagan College, was part of a feature on genealogy in the Capital News. Read: Nuts and flowers not uncommon on family trees.


The Okanagan Saturday reported on the disbanding of the Okanagan Partnership which received funding over the years from Okanagan College. Read: Group started a revolution in thinking.


Kelowna Community Resources held a networking event at Okanagan College. Read: Businesses and non-profits get together.


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

To ensure your submission is included, please send all details at least one day in advance of the newsletter’s publication.

The next edition of INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE will be issued on Tuesday, June 19, 2012.