Animation program comes to Okanagan College

Steff Farrar

Aspiring animators will be able to bring their passion for drawing to life this fall with animation industry veteran Steff Farrar at the helm of a new two-year diploma at Okanagan College.

“It’s exciting to be able to offer a program suited to an industry that has a lot of buzz right here in the Okanagan,” says Farrar, who recently moved to Kelowna in order to chair the program. She brings with her 25 years’ industry and training experience.

The College will be hosting a series of open house information sessions in its new animation lab in the Okanagan Centre for Innovation every Saturday in June to meet with prospective students and those interested in a career in animation. Farrar will be on site to answer questions and encourages potential applicants to bring their portfolios along.

With the animation entertainment industry experiencing exponential growth in the valley, graduates of the program will help to meet the local industry demands.

Farrar is working in concert with local studios to ensure that an engaging curriculum responds to the changing needs of the industry, providing critical skills students need to fast track into being job-ready. Students will learn in state-of-the-art classrooms at the Okanagan Centre for Innovation. 

Read the full story here.

OC Alumni Association announces highest honours

Grace Greyeyes

In recognition of outstanding contributions to the College and its surrounding communities, two Okanagan College alumni have earned the top honours awarded by the Okanagan College Alumni Association (OCAA).

Penticton’s Grace Greyeyes is the recipient of this year’s OCAA Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes excellence in the areas of leadership, the environment, business or industry, public or community service, the arts and/or support for Okanagan College. Ben Klick of West Kelowna will receive the 2017 OCAA Young Alumni Award, which recognizes extraordinary contributions of alumni under the age of 35.

Greyeyes’ connection to Okanagan College dates back to the institution’s earliest years. She completed her Practical Nursing training at the College (then B.C. Vocational School) in 1968. She returned in the early 1990s to continue her education, pursuing Arts courses at the Penticton campus. Since 2015 she has served as Elder in Residence at the College’s Penticton campus.

At only 21 years of age, Ben Klick has already made his mark in the countryBen Klick music scene in Canada and the U.S. and continues to amass fans and accolades, along with the attention and respect of his fellow artists in the industry. 

Klick enrolled in the Audio Engineering and Music Production program at Okanagan College in 2014. He set out to learn as much as he could about the music industry, from the technical aspects of the recording studio to the finer points of marketing and entrepreneurship that go into launching a successful career as an artist. After graduating in September 2015, he released his debut EP Today and went on to play nearly 60 dates across North America the following year. 

Both were featured in the Kelowna Capital News. Learn more about these honorees here.

Wine Talks returns

wine talks 2 inside ocTogether with Liquidity Winery, Okanagan College is presenting Wine Talks, An International Perspective on Wine Marketing, for the second time, to be held at the Penticton campus June 26. 

Leading the discussion will be Mark Davidson, Global Education Manager for Wine Australia. Davidson has more than 35 years of experience in the hospitality sector and is a former Sommelier of the Year at the Vancouver International Wine Festival. 

Joining him is founder of WineDrops, Karen Graham. WineDrops offers commentary on policy and business issues in the Canadian wine and liquor industry, along with analytical and strategic advisory work through KMG Strategy Consulting. 

Rob McMillan, Executive Vice-President of the Wine Division of Silicon Valley Bank, joins the panel once again, having presented at the first Wine Talks in November. In his role, McMillan supports the growth of California’s wine industry with his client base and by sharing views on factors impacting the fine wine business.

Vancouver-based lawyers Mark Hicken of Vintage Law Group and Shea Coulson, who practises commercial, regulatory, and constitutional litigation, will provide updates and insight on the direct-to-consumer market and interprovincial trade barriers. Hicken is the founder and co-chair of Vancouver’s annual Wine and Liquor Law Conference.

Read the full story here, and take advantage of early bird tickets until June 19.

Enactus youth projects get a boost

Enactus Cheque 1The Central Okanagan Foundation for Youth (COFFY) and United Way’s GenNext partnered again this year to offer Youth Initiative Grants for up to $2,000, and two Enactus Okanagan College initiatives received funding: Accelerate Youth and Silver Surfers.
These grants are available to young people up to age 25 who are partnering with an organization to create positive change in their local community. A committee comprising of COFFY and GenNext representatives met in late March to review the applications and make funding decisions.
GenNext is an affinity group of United Way CSO consisting of young professionals who are looking to support our community in a meaningful way, and the Central Okanagan Foundation for Youth (COFFY) committee is made up of young adults age 15 - 25. Since its establishment in 2002, COFFY has been building an endowment fund with the COF and the income generated is used to support youth projects and programs in the Central Okanagan.


Builder honours father and industry with $50,000 gift to College 

keith construction iocVernon-based home builder Keith Construction has stepped up to provide $50,000 toward the campaign to support Okanagan College’s new $6.2 million Trades Training Centre at the Vernon campus.

Ken and Karen Dahlen, owners of the custom home building and renovation company, are among the first to contribute to the project as a way to demonstrate the company’s appreciation for its industry, employees and community.

“Our success over the years has come from multiple skilled tradespeople within our region,” says Keith Dahlen. “With a shortage of skilled trades, we believe the best way for the company to give back to our industry is by helping to provide quality training for the next generation.”

The $50,000 gift will support the construction of the new 13,450 square-foot state-of-the-art facility that will serve approximately 150 students per year in Vernon. The building will include multi-purpose trades shops for the College’s electrical, carpentry, plumbing and pipefitting programs, as well as a dedicated welding shop.

“This gift sends a powerful message to our students when an employer with an exemplary reputation in the community invests in their future,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “It represents the value the Dahlen family places on education and will be truly transformative for trades training in Vernon and the surrounding region.”

Read the full story here.

Digging the na’ʔk’ʷulamən Garden


The Kelowna campus will be home to a traditional garden by the end of next month. Named the na’ʔk’ʷulamən Garden or "things that we do," the garden will host a wide variety of indigenous plants that are of significance to the Syilx/Okanagan people of the region. The garden will be located by the north entrance to the Centre for Learning. 

In early June more than 380 plants will arrive from Sagebrush nursery. With that many plants arriving at one time, the Garden Task Force is in need of assistance. Planting days are being coordinated for June 6 and 7. If you, any students or friends could help plant some of these wonderful local plants on those days, contact Angie March at local 4501.


Dr. Gabriel Balint to lead Viticulture Technician Diploma

Gabriel Balint

The Okanagan College School of Business welcomes Dr. Gabriel Balint as professor and chair of the new Viticulture Technician diploma. Balint will be collaborating with his fellow professors and the local grape and wine industry to deliver the two-year pilot project to 20 students beginning in September at the Penticton campus.  

Balint earned his PhD in Viticulture and Oenology at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario in 2011 and his Masters of Science in Horticulture jointly delivered by the University of London, Wye, UK and the University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Iaşi, Romania in 2007. In addition to this field expertise, he also earned his Sommelier certificate from Niagara College in 2009. 

Jonathan Rouse, Food, Wine and Tourism Director says, “Dr. Gabriel Balint is a true 'vine to wine' expert and we are thrilled to welcome him to our team.” The new Viticulture Technician diploma program is designed to take advantage of the academic year and the viticulture growing season and will provide students with a working co-op period from May through August annually. Students will gain the theoretical knowledge, practical skills and field experience necessary to pursue careers in the viticulture sector.

Mame McCrea Silva joins Facilities and Business Services

Health and safety at Okanagan College is a priority for the team at Facilities and Business Services, and Carolyn Hayman, Manager, Health, Safety and Emergency Management Services, along with Alex Kortzman, Health and Safety Coordinator, are now also working with Mame McCrea Silva, who has been seconded as Manager, OHS Operations & Training for a two-year period. Silva promote health and safety programs at all campuses; she has a strong background in emergency training, and is currently the Kelowna Campus co-chair on the Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee. Silva joined Facilities and Business Services on May 29.

Tinning's art featured at Meadowlark Festival

meadow larkOkanagan College Honorary Fellow Dorothy Tinning was the featured artist for the 2017 Meadowlark Nature Festival in Penticton.

Her painting, Spring Awakening, was auctioned off at the Gala Dinner and Auction on Saturday, May 20 as a fundraiser for the Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance. Tinning currently has an art exhibition at the Penticton Art Gallery titled, Dorothy Tinning: Creative Exploration through Landscape Art, which opened on May 19 with a reception and artist's talk and will be open to the public until June 11.



May 30, 2017, Vol. 11, Issue 30


Watch Convocation LIVE

Convocation 2017 will be livestreamed on Okanagan College’s Facebook page at the following times. Be sure to tune in, like, share and comment to congratulate all of our 2017 grads. 

Trades Commencement (Kelowna)
Friday, June 2 @ 6:30 p.m.

Spring Convocation (Kelowna)
Saturday, June 3 @ 10:30 a.m. 
and 1:30 p.m. (1:30 ceremony is for Business grads)

Vernon Convocation
Tuesday, June 27 @ 4:30 p.m.

Summer Convocation & Kelowna

Date: Wednesday, June 28 @ 7 p.m. 
(Continuing Studies grads)
Thursday, June 29 @ 7 p.m. 
(Diploma and Certificate grads)

Volunteer for Convocation 2017

This June, Okanagan College will celebrate its graduating students at six Convocation ceremonies. Volunteers are needed to assist as event ushers, to distribute gowns to grads and to help prepare refreshments for the reception. Please contact Michelle Lowry if you would like to volunteer, noting the ceremony you are available for.

  • Vernon Convocation Tue, June 27 @ 4:30 p.m. 
  • Summer Commencement (for CS grads only) Wed, June 28 @ 7 p.m.
  • Summer Convocation Thu, June 29 @ 7 p.m.

For more information about Convocation, visit the website.

Register for Connections before May 31

Registration is open for Okanagan College’s annual employee conference. 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 President Jim Hamilton about what's happening in and around Okanagan College and you will have a great opportunity to interact. Reminder: if you register here before May 31, you will be eligible to win one of two iPad Airs.  

Connections will be held at the Kelowna campus again this year and you have the choice to attend on either Tuesday, August 22 or Wednesday, August 23. Employees are invited to share their area of expertise or passions outside of work with their peers at Connections Expo. If you would like to reserve your booth or would like more information contact Anna Wolleben

Family Award application deadline approaching

A reminder that applications are now being accepted for the next round of the Okanagan College Family Award, designed for immediate family members of continuing (regular) Okanagan College employees. This round of applications is for programs or terms starting between April 1 - August 31, 2017. 

Full award criteria and the application form can be found in myOkanagan under “OC Express – Forms," and then click on “Foundation," or click here to download the application form. For more information, contact the Financial Aid and Awards Office or 250-862-5419.

Join the Be Well Mind and Body Challenge

Join Athletics, Recreation and Student Life for the Be Well Mind and Body Challenge May 25 – June 23. In collaboration with Brett Wade engage in daily mindfulness activities, workout Wednesdays and informative Facebook posts and discussions. Participation qualifies you for a chance to win weekly draw prizes and one of two Fitbit Flexes. For more information contact Heather Carson or Jenn Naiman. Click here to sign up (click on ‘forgot password’ and enter your preferred email account). There is no fee associated with this challenge.

Kelowna Campus Fitness Facility spring hours

Please note that spring hours for the Fitness Facility from May 1 - June 30 will be: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday - Friday and 12-4 p.m. on Saturday.

Think safety; work safely

The Joint Occupational Health & Safety (JOHS) Committee in Kelowna has a bulletin board located on the first floor of the Centre for Learning (Building E) on the east wall near the washrooms. The board includes contact info for co-chairs and members, the last three months of meeting minutes, and other pertinent Health & Safety information. The JOHS webpage has links to an online comment box, the Terms of Reference and JOHS committees at the other campuses. Think Safety; Work Safely.

Employee and Family Assistance Program - mobile app and monthly newsletter

As part of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) benefits, employees can now download a free mobile app to access local health and wellness professionals. The app is available on Apple and Android devices; click here for more information about the app and how to download it. The monthly EFAP newsletter "How to manage symptoms of depression" can be found here.

Volunteers needed for Smart Start

The Kelowna campus fall orientation team is busy planning Smart Start, a series of sessions designed to provide incoming students with a smooth transition from high school or work life to college. This new pre-orientation conference will run August 30 and 31, 2017. 

The committee is looking for volunteers who may be interested in running a session. If you have a great idea for a session, the committee would love to hear about it. To learn more about this event, visit Questions, comments and ideas can be directed to Carlyn Young.


SCMT Smart Start session

A Smart Start session for the SCMT program is open to anyone interested in this program and wants to learn more about the SCMT program and opportunities.
Students who have applied and been accepted will be sent an email about the event, but the general community is also invited.
Thursday June 1, Penticton Campus
5:15 p.m. – Campus Tour – Meet at the reception desk in the Centre of Excellence
6:15 p.m. – Information Session – Room PC 204 in the Centre of Excellence

Join instructors and advisors and learn about the Sustainable Construction Management Technology program, the blended learning format, course expectations, equipment, software requirements and anticipated projects.

Please register online. More information about the program can be found at


ETUG conference in Kelowna

June 1-2 – ETUG is a group of education technology users in British Columbia higher education. The ETUG two-day spring conference is being held at UBC Okanagan in Kelowna on June 1-2. This event is a great opportunity for Okanagan College employees to learn about education technology. The main theme of the conference is Education by Design and streams include Learning Design, Education Technology, Faculty Development and Breakthrough Thinking. For more information and registration please see the ETUG website.

Staff Spring BBQ

June 7 – Employees are invited to attend the OC Social Committee Spring BBQ hosted at the Kelowna campus in the L-Cove (between the A and C buildings) on Wednesday, June 7 between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. 

For just $5, you’ll get a burger and a drink and a chance to catch up with your colleagues in a relaxed atmosphere.

To ensure there is a burger waiting for you, tickets can be purchased ahead of time from any of the following Social Committee members: Angie March (Regional Dean’s Office), Carlyn Young (Registrar’s Office), Dawn Douglas (Advancement Office), Heather Grassick (Trades Office), Jo-Dee Hecko (HSW Instructor), Lynda Dreaper (Human Resources), Margaret Johnson (Executive Office), Tanya Tarlit (Co-op Office).

Salmon Arm Charity Golf Tournament and houseboat vacation prize raffle

June 23 – The ACIC 21st Annual Links-to-Learning Golf Tournament will take place at the Salmon Arm Golf Club on Friday, June 23 with registration at noon and a shotgun start at 1 p.m. The $150 registration fee includes green fees, cart, range balls and a buffet dinner.

Help support the Okanagan College Foundation and Okanagan College students by purchasing a raffle ticket for a chance to win a Shuswap houseboat vacation. The prize is a three-day weekend or four-day midweek houseboat vacation this fall on a Mirage 65, 22 sleeper with Waterways. Click here for more information. The trip is valued at $2685 and the winner is welcome to upgrade to a different boat or season or length of stay (depending on availability), by paying the difference. Raffle tickets are 1/$10 or 3/$20. Cash, cheque or credit card accepted, draw date is June 23, 2017. To register for the golf tournament, purchase raffle tickets, or for more information, please email Margaret Scharf or call local 8238. All funds raised will directly benefit Okanagan College students by providing scholarships and bursaries.


Kelowna NowThe View in Mission, and Okanagan Edge reported on the success of Enactus Okanagan College at the Enactus Canada National Exposition, where four OC teams competed and brought home multiple awards.

The Salmon Arm Observer featured the Word on the Lake Writers’ Festival, which was held in part at the Salmon Arm campus.

Penticton’s B.C. Wine Information Sensory Lab was mentioned in a Penticton Herald article on plans for a new innovation centre to support local agriculture in Summerland.

The Business Examiner – Thompson Okanagan profiled Kelowna’s business community and its growing tech sector, including the College’s new animation program, while the Okanagan Sunday covered open houses for the program, taking place in June, also covered by Kelowna Now.

A 2008 Honorary Fellow, Kenneth Harding, was remembered in the Kelowna Capital News.

A review of Okanagan College Coyotes respectable finish to their season was covered by the Kelowna Capital News, and mentioned in the Fort McMurray Today.

The Penticton Western News covered the upcoming Camp OC programs being offered this summer.

The Okanagan Saturday reported on recent contracts awarded to KF Aerospace, CEO Barry Lapointe, a 2013 Honorary Fellow, posed with a Royal Canadian Air Force CC-115 Buffalo search and rescue plane.

A brief mention for former Vernon campus regional dean, John Lent, and his blues and roots ensemble, was in an article in the Vernon Morning Star.

The upcoming return of Wine Talks was mentioned in The Business Examiner and Okanagan Edge.

Revelstoke resident Jim Cook, a former instructor, was featured in the Revelstoke Review Personal Histories section.

The semi-annual trunk show held at the Kelowna campus was posted on Kelowna Now.

Kelowna Secondary School students discussed future plans with Castanet while getting ready for grad.

Anthropology instructor Leanne Mallory and her daughter enjoyed quizzing retired astronaut Chris Hadfield at a recent event, as reported by the Vernon Morning Star.


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

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 June 13, 2017.