College breaks ground on new Health Sciences Centre in Kelowna

Health Sciences Centre ground breakingConstruction for the College’s new Health Sciences Centre officially kicked off on July 19 at the Kelowna campus.

Advanced Education, Skills and Training Minister Melanie Mark came to the College last Thursday to join OC students, employees and community members to break ground on the project. The ceremony was emceed by Yvonne Moritz, Dean of Science, Technology and Health and included comments from OC President Jim Hamilton, Interior Health's Susan Brown (VP and COO Hospitals and Communities) and Maran Kokoszka, a Pharmacy Technician student.

“Students will get the skills and training in a modern building for a range of health-care and social-development careers,” said Mark. “Nurses, pharmacy technicians and early childhood educators are in-demand jobs that people rely on every day in communities around the province to keep our families safe and healthy." 

The new 2,800 square-metre (30,000 square-foot), three-storey Health Sciences Centre will be a state-of-the-art integrated learning centre supporting the training of students across an array of Health and Social Development programs.

“The groundbreaking is an exciting milestone in the start of a new era in training health professionals at the College,” said Hamilton. “The Health Sciences Centre has been a high priority for us, and will be welcome news for thousands of students who will go on to become an important part of our province’s workforce.”

Read more in the media release and view the recorded livestream of the groundbreaking here. You can also view photos from the event on the College’s Flickr page.

New go-kart camp revs up excitement

Girls can Go-Kart Too CampOC's new Girls Can Go-Kart Too camp crossed the finish line on July 13. The weeklong pilot camp received a lot of attention, spanning the country.

The camp drew in industry partners, media and Edmonton MP Amarjeet Sohi, now the federal Minister of National Resources – who got a quick lesson on changing oil from an 11-year old.

The camp saw a dozen girls aged 9-12 step into the Automotive shop at the Kelowna campus, tackling everything from designing their go-karts to working on small engines, changing the oil, replacing tires, testing and fixing brakes, and installing ignition kill switches – all under the watchful eye of College instructors. 

While the camp was designed to help girls build their skills in the shop, connecting them with mentors was another priority. They each received mentorship, support and encouragement from the Women in Trades team, WITT industry mentors and WITT foundation participants.

Read the full story here.


Milestone for English professor

Old Kelowna facebook pageOC English professor Shona Harrison reached a major milestone on her Facebook page, Old Kelowna, which shares photos and history from Kelowna’s earlier years. The page just celebrated its 24,000th member. 

The page, started in May 2014 by Harrison, is dedicated to documenting, celebrating and preserving the collective history of Kelowna. Harrison and team member Doug Cook set up the page to be interactive and welcome visitors to post their own historical pictures to commemorate Kelowna’s past.

Harrison began teaching at the College in 2010 and is no stranger to milestones. In both 2015 and 2017, she was a recipient of the Teaching Excellence award in OC’s annual Employee Excellence awards.

Connections coming soon

Connections 2018Want to spend time getting to know your colleagues from all campuses? Want to learn about Okanagan history that could kill you, practice yoga, learn about stress relieving strategies, try belly dancing or learn to braid hair at the braiding bar?

Connections is the College’s annual employee learning conference and is about connecting face-to-face with colleagues from different departments and campuses and celebrating the strengths and diversity of the people who work here. Employees will enjoy a series of interactive and social activities, fun informative workshops and will hear from OC President Jim Hamilton.

Registration is open until Aug. 12 for the College’s 13th annual conference held at the Vernon campus and sessions are filling up fast. Register now to get into your learning session of choice.

Free bus rides are available to and from Connections from your home campus.

Choose which day you want to attend, Tuesday, Aug. 21 or Wednesday, Aug. 22, check out the workshop planner and click here to register.

Bocce winners declared

IncredibowlsThe Incredibowls bocce team has come out victorious at the 11th annual OC Bocce Tournament.

Facilities and Business Services Admin employees Bobbie Wyatt and Holly Gaboury took home the glory after a lengthy competition which saw 48 players compete for the trophy. Wyatt and Gaboury took on Lisa Wakefield and Terry Bridges (team All Jacked Up) in a sudden death playoff.

Sparling appointed Business chair

Dr. Lynn Sparling is the new Business Administration Chair effective July 23. 

"Lynn and I will be working together over the next few weeks to determine an appropriate structure and additional staffing to manage the substantial administrative demands of the department," says Bill Gillett, Dean of the Okanagan School of Business. "I am excited to welcome Lynn to the role and grateful she has agreed to extend her time here in service to her colleagues and Okanagan College."

July 24, 2018, Vol. 12, Issue 14


July 27 planned power outage – Kelowna campus

There will be a brief power outage starting at 6 a.m. this Friday, July 27. The emergency generator will be running for approximately 15 minutes. One hour has been allotted for this work to be done, should it be necessary.

Affected areas include: Trades building east, Welding, Automotive, Heavy Duty, Central Stores, Heating Plant, Business building and Health building.

If you have any concerns please contact the Regional Dean’s office at ( or call Angie March at extension 4501 or on her cell 250-317-0800. 

Last day for new employee award applications

The Derek Cook Memorial Award for International Opportunities is now open for applications. Click here for full award details and click here to download the application form.

Applications will be accepted until end of day tomorrow, July 25.

Family Award fall application now open

Applications are now being accepted for the next round of the Okanagan College Family Award, designed for immediate family members of continuing (regular) College employees. This round of applications is for programs or terms starting between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31 and deadline for applications is Sept. 30.

Click here to download full award criteria and application form. All applications must be date-stamped at the Student Services Administration office in Kelowna or at the Campus Administration office in Penticton, Vernon or Salmon Arm. For more information, please contact the Financial Aid and Awards office at 250-862-5419.

Note: There is no longer a requirement to acquire an additional email from HR to confirm relationship to applicant and verification that the employee is a continuing (regular) employee of Okanagan College.

Utility trailer for sale

The Okanagan College Foundation and Supply Management, in conjunction with the Collision Repair Trades department, are presently offering a utility trailer for sale. All bids can be delivered in person to Okanagan College Supply Management, P Building (P111), Kelowna campus.

Bake Shop hours

Bake Shop is held every Friday at 1 p.m. at Infusions however during the first three weeks of August Bake Shop will be held on Thursdays instead. Join us at 1 p.m. in Infusions on Aug. 2, 9 and 16 for delicious goods.


SPOKE Literary Festival

Aug. 10-12 – The third annual Spoke Literary Festival is happening from Aug. 10-12 and the College’s Vernon campus will once again host a number of workshops during the festival including four writing workshops and two literary and social gatherings. Learn more, find speakers/presenters and register by July 31 on the website.


Aug. 21 – 22 - Don’t forget to register for Connections, the College’s 13th annual employee learning conference being held at the Vernon campus on Aug. 21 and 22. Online registration will be open until Aug. 12. View the workshop planner to see what is being offered and click here to register.

Building on Progress 2018

Sept. 13-14 - Okanagan College and the Global Empowerment Coalition of the Central Okanagan have partnered with the Global Climate Action Summit to host an affiliate event during the Summit. With a focus on two of the Summit themes of healthy energy systems and sustainable communities, this affiliate event will demonstrate progress by showcasing local projects addressing sustainable energy, building and infrastructure. 

The event will include an ongoing expo with exhibits from local business and organizations helping to achieve climate progress and building toward a more sustainable future. The event is open to the public. Click here for more information.


With the help of Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, the College officially broke ground on the new Health Sciences building at the Kelowna campus. The Capital News, Salmon Arm Observer, Daily Courier, Castanet, Penticton Western News  and KelownaNow shared details.

OC alumna and owner of Oliver Twist winery Gina Harfman was profiled in John Schreiner’s blog, John Schreiner on wine. Harfman purchased the winery in 2012 and has been proudly releasing four wines with fun names and flavour profiles.

Okanagan Edge and Daily Courier shared the news about the College’s new weeklong camp about visual effects, otherwise known as VFX.  

Penticton Western News, Penticton Herald, Summerland Review and Oliver Chronicle shared details about Connie Denesiuk, former Chair of the College’s Board of Governors, who put forward her candidacy in the fall 2019 federal election as the Liberal nomination for the South Okanagan – West Kootenay riding.  

The Vernon Morning Star helped share event details for the upcoming Spoke Literary Festival which is being held in part at OC’s Vernon campus.

OC alumnus and former Okanagan College Coyotes baseball player Davis Todosichuk made Capital News headlines for bringing his team, the Kelowna Falcons, to its fifth straight win. 

The College’s recent pilot camp, Girls Can Go-Kart Too received a lot of media attention from the Okanagan Weekend, KelownaNow, Capital News and Castanet.

The BC Provincial Government shared details about KF Aerospace’s collaborative relationship with the College in helping to train the next generation of aircraft maintenance engineers (both S and M streams) to meet industry demand.

The new Childcare Centre at the Penticton campus was named one of the top nine sustainable buildings in Canada. Global News shared details about the structure and the Canadian Green Building Award it received.   

The wine industry honoured OC Honorary Fellow (2016) Anthony von Mandl with the Canadian Wine Industry Award of Distinction. The Daily Courier shared details about von Mandl and the award.

The Daily Courier profiled Raghwa Gopal, CEO of Accelerate Okanagan and OC Honorary Fellow (2014) who is representing the Valley on the provincial government's new 14-member Emerging Economy Task Force.

OUC’s first Honorary Doctorate recipient Charles Fipke has received UBC’s Alumni Award of Distinction. The Daily Courier shared details about the award ceremony.


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

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 Aug. 7, 2018.