Alumni Association honours essential workers; provides support to next generation

By College Relations | April 12, 2021

Allan Coyle and Nick Melemenis OCAA
Allan Coyle (left) and Nick Melemenis, OCAA

For 18 years, the Okanagan College Alumni Association (OCAA) has honoured OC graduates whose extraordinary contributions have positively impacted those close to home and around the world. In a year like no other and for the first time in the awards’ history, the OCAA is celebrating multiple recipients of this prestigious award: essential workers.

“This year we decided to do things a little differently and honour all alumni who have been working hard in our community to keep us all safe,” says OCAA Vice President Nick Melemenis. “This pandemic has reminded our community of the vital role that essential workers play and we wanted to show our continuous support and appreciation.”

The physical award will be on display in the new Health Sciences Centre at the Kelowna campus. In addition to the plaque, the OCAA will also be awarding two bursaries to deserving students in a Health and Social development program.

“We have a breadth of health care workers come from Okanagan College that have been instrumental on the frontlines of our hospitals across the Interior. We want to help make it possible for students considering getting into this line of work and are pleased to be offering two bursaries of $1,000 each,” adds Melemenis.

The 2021 awards will return to the normal format of awarding two individual awards: a Distinguished Alumni Award and a Young Alumni Award.

“In the past year we have seen significant numbers of OC alumni inspiring change, support and innovation throughout the pandemic in our communities here in the Okanagan and across the nation. Graduates – and students – in many sectors have stepped up to meet unparalleled challenges – with innovation and energy,” notes Allan Coyle, Vice President of External and Strategic Initiatives.

The nominations for the 2021 awards are now open. The OCAA is seeking nominations for both Distinguished Alumni who demonstrate excellence in leadership, the environment, business and industry, public and community service, the arts, or support for Okanagan College; and Young Alumni who are making a successful start to their career or positively contributing to their community. The Young Alumni award will recognize outstanding contributions by alumni who are 35 years of age or younger.

“We want to honour these inspiring alumni and look forward to seeing the extraordinary work they are putting in,” adds Coyle.

For more information on the awards criteria, past recipients and to nominate an alumnus making a positive impact in their community, visit

Tags: Distinguished Alumni Award, Young Alumni Award, OC Alumni Association, Health and Social Development, Health Sciences Centre, Inside OC, 2021 Year in review



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