Spring Convocation celebrates graduates this Saturday

Spring Convocation 2018Okanagan College will host its fourth and fifth of eight convocation ceremonies this year on Saturday at the Spring Convocation hosted at the Kelowna campus.

The ceremony is split into two celebrations. The first begins at 10:30 a.m. and will recognize graduates from the arts, health, technologies, science and computer science programs. The afternoon ceremony will start at 1:30 p.m. and will recognize students from the Okanagan College School of Business. Jointly the ceremonies will recognize the achievements of more than 600 students.

Both the morning and afternoon ceremonies will be livestreamed on the College’s Facebook page and viewers can tune in from across Canada. If you don’t have the opportunity to attend the ceremonies, be sure to follow along on our Facebook page.

Banham honoured with Distinguished Service Award

Heather Banham - 2019 Distinguished Service AwardDr. Heather Banham, retired Dean of the Okanagan College School of Business, will be recognized by the College with the Distinguished Service Award.

The award is the highest honour bestowed upon a former employee and recognizes those who have given outstanding service to Okanagan College, who share and support its mission, vision and values, and are active within and outside the College community.

“I sincerely appreciate this recognition from Okanagan College,” says Banham. “It was really a privilege to work at the School of Business during those years and to be part of the team that was so committed to building strong programs and creating opportunities for students to gain the skills, knowledge and experience to be successful." 

Banham worked at the College for 24 years and wore many hats. She was a professor, department chair, Associate Dean and Dean of the Okanagan School of Business. Upon her retirement in 2017, the business program boasted more than 2,000 students on four campuses.

“Under Heather’s leadership, business programming was expanded on our Vernon and Penticton campuses, providing more access for students in the region,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “She worked to continue to develop the Okanagan School of Business national reputation and distinguished herself as a vital member of the accounting community. Heather is incredibly deserving of the Distinguished Service Award.”

Banham joins five other past recipients of the Distinguished Service Award; Rick Gee (2016), John Lent (2014), Catherine Williams (2012), Gary Dickinson (2011) and Lynda Wilson (2010).

She will receive her award at the College’s spring convocation ceremony on June 1. She will address the graduating business students during the ceremony, which is held at 1:30 p.m. at the College’s Kelowna campus.

Read the full story here.

OC Trades Commencement sparks change

OC Eagle StaffOkanagan College hosted its Trades Commencement ceremony on May 16 where 90 trades students received scrolls and witnessed a significant change to the traditions of the procession.

The change involves the addition of an Eagle Staff to the convocation and commencement ceremonies. The staff was gifted to the College during the 10th Annual Powwow (September 2018) by Elder Richard Jackson Jr. of the Lower Nicola Indian Band and Noel Ferguson of the Canoe Creek First Nation.

The staff will lead the procession of the platform party, which normally involves the President, Board Chair, Board members, College Executive and leadership team members, the Registrar, and other dignitaries.

The Eagle Staff was carried in by Chris Derickson, Chair of the OC Board of Governors, while Alec Cardenas of the Penticton Indian Band drummed and sang an Honour Song.

“The staff symbolizes the respectful gathering of all nations to celebrate unity,” explains Derickson. “Many First Nations people understand the eagle to be the most honoured and respected animal in the natural world and the use of its feathers on the staff requires us to show the utmost respect to the staff.”

Graduates were then addressed by OC President Jim Hamilton who congratulated students on their educational achievements and offered words of advice on life-long learning.

“This graduating class includes our future welders, chefs, electricians, plumbers and heavy-duty mechanics, to name just a few,” notes Hamilton. “These are the people who will construct our communities, advance sustainability and change the way we work, learn and live.”

Trades Commencement is one of eight convocation and commencement ceremonies the College will host this year. By the end of June, OC will have sent more than 2,000 graduates into the world. 

Each ceremony is live streamed on the Okanagan College Facebook page. Click here to view the footage from Trades Commencement.

New OC program lives at the intersection of marketing and data

Okanagan College will be offering a new program this fall that speaks to the growing role of marketing and data in our lives, and the increasing demand for people whose skills and education position them at the intersection of the two areas.

The Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Marketing and Data Analytics will combine courses from mathematics, statistics, business and data science to provide students (who already have Bachelor degrees in business or science) with the knowledge to carve a career in the growing field.

“The development, interpretation and use of data today informs all fields of business and commerce. But as the quantity of data has grown exponentially in recent years, the skill set and knowledge required to take full advantage of that information have changed,” notes Bill Gillett, Dean of the Okanagan College School of Business. “Our program recognizes that.”

The program, which was developed by the Math & Statistics department at Okanagan College with support from the Business department will meet local demand.

“Our business analysts use data to evaluate product placement, channel strategies, benchmarking (customer and competitor), and logistic and strategic capital investment analyses,” says Pino Pucci, Tolko Vice President of Sales, Marketing & Logistics. “The demand for this expertise within the industry is increasing and we’re fortunate to have our local college offer this program.” 

For the full story and more details about the program click here.


Employee Excellence Award recipients

Employee Excellence Recipients 2019The 8th Annual Employee Excellence ceremony drew in a large crowd from all campuses, who cheered on their colleagues and witnessed a surprise announcement from OC's President.

Jim Hamilton delivered a surprise at the ceremony when he announced there would be two recipients of the President’s Award. The award, which isn’t always given out, went to recently retired Vice President, Students Charlotte Kushner and long-time employee and Chair of the Okanagan School of Business, Dr. Lynn Sparling.

The event was hosted on May 15 at the Kelowna campus. Attendees were treated to a delicious buffet prepared by Food Services to enjoy during a social hour before the formal awards ceremony began.

The event was hosted by Associate Dean of Science, Technology and Health Laura Thurnheer and Business Administration Professor Devin Rubadeau. The duo emceed the event which acknowledged 24 finalists in eight categories and numerous milestone achievements.

View the list of recipients here, view event photos on the College’s Flickr album and click here to watch the nominee videos.

OC alumna pays it forward, creates new student award

Suzanne Newton Award 2019

A new annual OC student award will celebrate the perseverance and determination needed to be successful in school.

OC alumna Suzanne Newton completed her business degree at the Penticton campus last year and is now a College employee, working as the Division Assistant in the Advancement and Alumni Office in Kelowna.

While a student, Newton worked diligently to balance full-time studies, work and raising her son -which landed her on academic probation. Knowing something needed to change, Newton turned to student loans to help ease the immediate financial burdens, or so she thought. Student loans didn’t fully cover the cost of attending school so Newton began applying for student awards, netting herself $15,000 through the course of her education.

After experiencing the difficulties of balancing school with life and feeling the relief of student awards first-hand, Newton began searching for a way to pay it forward and help future students in the way she was helped. She established a $1,000 annual award, the Perseverance Inspires Success Award, which is available to any student in need at the Penticton campus.

Read the full story here.

New Public Affairs member, Inside OC contact

Kate DeglowKate Deglow joined the Public Affairs team in March 2019 as a Marketing and Communications Specialist. Born and raised in Penticton, she moved to Calgary where she earned her B.A. in English and Communications from the University of Calgary in 2014. 

One of Deglow’s roles will be managing Inside Okanagan College and College Matters. If you have an idea for a story or news to be shared, email her at or (250) 762-5445, ext. 4850. 

Before joining Okanagan College, Deglow spent most of her career working in the hospitality and wine industries in marketing and digital media roles, as well as writing for a number of publications. A valley girl at heart, Deglow enjoys spending her free time at the beach, on the mountains, or exploring the new hot spots of Kelowna.

Sign up now for Connections

Connections Logo IOCRegistration is open for Okanagan College’s annual employee conference being held at the Kelowna campus this year. 

Connections is organized by employees for employees. It 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 through interactive, social activities and fun informative workshops. You will hear from OC’s President Jim Hamilton about what's happening in and around Okanagan College and have the opportunity to interact with your fellow colleagues.

New this year is an Employee Showcase. Do you, or does your department, have something cool or unique you’d like to show off to your colleagues? (e.g. An antique car, ancient typewriter, coin collection) Tell us about it and you can have it on display at Connections.

You can choose to attend on either Tuesday, Aug. 20 or Wednesday, Aug. 21. Register early as sessions fill up fast.

Click here to register and review the list of workshop descriptions. 

May 28, 2019, Vol. 13, Issue 5


Lab Building C closure, Kelowna campus – June 3

Scheduled maintenance will require shutdown of the Lab Building C at the Kelowna campus on Monday, June 3. This building will be closed from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.

Updates will be posted to

Town Hall budget meetings

All Okanagan College employees are invited to attend a Town Hall meeting regarding the 2019-20 budget. A session will be held at each campus and will be led by Curtis Morcom, Vice President Employee and Corporate Services. OC President, Jim Hamilton, will also be in attendance at each Town Hall meeting.

Morcom will provide information on the OC budget for the upcoming fiscal year and staff will have the opportunity to ask questions regarding the budget information presented. The College’s budget was approved by the Board of Governors in March 2019.   

Salmon Arm campus - Thursday, May 30 at 10 a.m. (141)
Vernon campus - Monday, June 3 at 11:30 a.m. (D344)
Penticton campus - Tuesday, June 4 at 9 a.m. (PC120)
Kelowna campus - Tuesday, June 4 at 11:45 a.m. (E103)

Coffee and cookies will be provided.

Calling all OC Researchers 

Learning and Applied Research is preparing an annual inventory of applied research projects that have occurred over the past year (April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019) or that are currently underway. The information gathered is used for internal and external reports.  If you have an applied project that you would like included in the inventory, please forward the name of the project, researcher(s), funding source, duration of project and brief descriptor to by June 15, 2019.  

Are you interested in engaging in an applied research project at OC?

Periodically, Okanagan College is approached by small and medium sized businesses that have a problem that requires some element of research to either solve the problem or determine strategies to solve the problem. Okanagan College seeks funding to support all aspects of the project, including a researcher being given release time to work on the project. Learning and Applied Research is currently building an inventory of potential researchers for upcoming projects.  If you would like your name added to the Researcher Inventory List, please send your name and research interests to

OC Mileage Reimbursement Policy update

The Mileage Reimbursement Policy has been revised and is now called the Kilometre Reimbursement Policy. Click here to view the new policy (E.1.3).

RV for sale

The Okanagan College Foundation and OC Supply Management are presently offering the following RV for sale: 

All bids are to be delivered in person to Okanagan College Supply Management (P-111). 

Employee and Family Assistance Program: Mental Health and Children

Start the conversation about mental health early. It is essential to promote feelings of comfort and openness when talking about mental health and to end the stigma before it begins. For guidance and support, visit LifeWorks online and login with the username: okanagan and the password: healthy. Alternatively, you can call LifeWorks toll-free any time, day or night at 1-888-307-0590. View the monthly May feature here

No Bake Shop this week

Due to curriculum, there will be no Bake Shop this week at the Kelowna campus.

Kelowna summer food services hours

Kelowna cafeteria

  • Closed June 17 for the summer
  • Open Mon-Thu from 7 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Fri from 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • The cafeteria is now proudly serving fresh brewed Starbucks coffee and selling special gluten- and nut-free vegan treats from Trish's Treats.

Kelowna Food Services

  • Fezziwig's - Mon-Thu from 7:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. and Friday from 7:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • DeBeans - Mon-Fri from 8 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.


Spring Convocation

June 1 – Spring Convocation ceremonies are this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Both ceremonies are at the Kelowna campus in the courtyard. 

For more information visit

OC Social Club fun golf tournament

June 17 – The Okanagan College Social Club presents the Annual Golf Tournament held at Michaelbrook Golf Club on Monday, June 17. Tickets are $40 and include nine holes of golf and a burger at the end. Shotgun start begins at 4:45 p.m. sharp. Wear your tackiest golf outfit for a chance to win a prize.

Register a team of four or yourself by emailing Angie March. View the event poster here.

Nancy Ankerstein’s retirement party

June 26 – Join in to say farewell to Nancy Ankerstein as she prepares to retire. Ankerstein will say goodbye to colleagues on June 26 between 2 – 3:30 p.m. in the Trades Boardroom (T115B) at the Kelowna campus.


Okanagan College bestowed its highest honour on three notable Okanagan residents as OC’s Honorary Fellows. The news was shared by Summerland Review, Kelowna Capital News, The Daily CourierThe Okanagan Weekend and Salmon Arm Observer.

Okanagan College Honorary Fellow (2013) and founder and CEO of Kelowna Flightcraft, Barry Lapointe has been inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame. Wings Magazine and InfoTel News shared the news.

Revelstoke Review shared the news about Columbia Basin Trust supporting Okanagan College’s Tourism Management Diploma with $40,000 for a virtual classroom.

Okanagan College student trades digital skills for apprenticeship. The Daily Courier and Kelowna Capital News shared the details.

Thrive Global caught up with Okanagan College School of Business professor, Roberta Sawatzky, to discuss the future of education and the future of work.

Enactus Okanagan College students received a youth initiative grant for their Green Screen Project, collecting unused technology from middle-school students in Kelowna and redistributing it to people who need it. The Penticton Western NewsThe Daily CourierKelowna Capital News and BC Local News shared the details.

The Daily Courier shared the details about Okanagan College’s new Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Marketing and Data Analytics.

The Summerland Review and The Daily Courier shared the exciting news about Okanagan College Enactus’ results at the national competition.

The B.C. government announced $70,000 to support child-care facilities in Salmon Arm and Sicamous. One of the facilities, Tiny Tyke n Tots, will host Indigenous Early Childhood Education students from OC for the practicum portion of their program. Kelowna Capital News shared the details.

Okanagan College will recognize Heather Banham, retired dean of the Okanagan College School of Business with the Distinguished Service Award. The Daily CourierKelowna Capital News and The Okanagan Weekend shared the news.

Academica Group shared the news about the College’s new Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Marketing and Data Analytics.

The Penticton Herald shared details about OC alumna and current employee, Suzanne Newton, who recently set up an annual OC student award.

The OC Trades Commencement ceremony took place on May 16 at the Kelowna campus and The Daily Courier shared a student story. 

Vernon OC employee, Marilyn Alexis, connects campus with Indigenous community. The Okanagan Weekend shared the story.

Okanagan College School of Business professor and Central Okanagan Sailing Association head coach, Devin Rubadeau, was featured in The Daily Courier for his team's recent victories in the May long weekend Springtime Regatta. 


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

To ensure the best chance for your submission to be 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 June 11, 2019.