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Dean Whibley graduated prior to Okanagan College offering a four-year Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree. It was his daughter, who is taking business at the College now, who nudged him to attend Okanagan College’s Business Reunion held Friday, Sept. 27.
Standing off to the side as the crowd of diverse alumni entered the cafeteria, Whibley wasn't sure he recognized anyone. That's when Margo McMahan, a retired professor, walked by and recognized his face. McMahan taught at the College for 25 years starting in 1989.
"It's amazing, I've taught thousands of students but I still remember their faces," she says.
Whibley shared that after graduating with a Business Administration Diploma he spent 20 years building a tech software company that he recently sold. At age 49, he is retired, but he isn't sure it will be for long.
McMahan says Whibley's achievement is outstanding, and stories like his are common. She still keeps in touch with many graduates and says OC business alumni are successful locally and internationally.
More than 75 alumni attended the anniversary to mark the beginning of the BBA degree, which started at the College in 1999. Offering the four-year business degree was a milestone for the College, thanks to a core group of skilled professors with strong ties to industry, resulting in the program receiving positive accolades from the community, industry and government.
“Okanagan College has become one of the most outstanding institutions in Canada and we at the Alumni Association are very proud to represent our graduates,” says Kara Kazimer, Alumni Association President, who welcomed everyone to the event.
Kazimer shared that people who were born in 1999, when she attended the first BBA program, are now potentially in their first or second year at the College.
"Our grads are very sought after," says Bill Gillett, Dean of the Okanagan School of Business, who shared with the audience some recent wins that included business teams taking first at Queens University and Enactus National competitions.
"We continue to do very well and provide an excellent education to excellent students. We are thankful to have great faculty, great students and great alumni support."
After networking that included refreshments and appetizers from Infusions, alumni and faculty paired into teams to test their trivia in a competition entitled “Are you smarter than an OC student?”
Crowe MacKay, an accounting firm with offices in Western and Northern Canada, had two teams of OC alumni entered in the trivia, all vying to take the winning title.
“The College has a really strong program,” says Jen Mendes, a senior manager at Crowe MacKay and 2007 BBA grad. She says her firm takes OC co-op students annually and ends up hiring two to three new OC graduates each year.
“You come here for a reason, not just because its close, the College’s reputation speaks for itself,” she says.