Generous gift will advance OC health-care education

By College Relations | January 19, 2022

Lane Merrifield
Lane Merrifield

A local family foundation is investing in the future of health-care education with a generous gift to Okanagan College.

The Merrifield Family Foundation is donating $100,000 to the Our Students, Your Health campaign for a modern Health Sciences Centre on the College’s Kelowna campus.

The gift will support technology upgrades and new equipment for eight professions ranging from Pharmacy Technician Assistants and nurses to Therapist Assistants.

Lane Merrifield, a well-known entrepreneur, says he values the College's focus on applied learning where students engage directly in hands-on skills to better understand their craft.

“I know I’ve benefitted from hands-on learning in my career and health care is no different. Having opportunities to try your skills in learning labs will greatly enhance students’ skills and confidence,” says Merrifield, who was named an Okanagan College Honorary Fellow, the College’s highest honour, in 2012.

“Our family values the role frontline health-care professionals play in supporting us all to live healthy lives, and we’re proud to be part of this incredible new Centre that will serve our community.”

Hannah Koch is a recent graduate of the Therapist Assistant program. As one of the first students to take classes in the new Centre, Koch remembers being shocked at the modern elements of the facility. She describes the Therapist Lab as bright and spacious with new beds and technology that supports their training.

“As a student we are going out into the workforce in one or two years, however long your health-care program is, and I think it’s important to get the proper education so we can be effective in the workforce and come out work ready,” says Koch.

“Having an environment that is built newer with newer equipment is really helpful.”

Helen Jackman, Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director, adds students are inspired knowing a local family is investing in their education.

“So many of our students talk about health care as a calling. This gift from the Merrifield Family Foundation will not only help students with their skills training, but also boosts their confidence knowing that our community is supportive of their educational choices,” says Jackman.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Merrifield Family Foundation for supporting students and excellence in health-care education.”

Jackman credits the gift as helping the Foundation hit its current milestone of $4.25 million raised from the community to complete the Health Sciences Centre. She says the Foundation is inviting the public for tours of the Centre, and if they can, to give a gift in support of educating frontline health-care professionals. The Okanagan College Foundation is $750,000 away from reaching its fundraising goal to compete the Centre.

“We are incredibly thankful to the many individuals and organizations for getting us to this point and we’re hopeful we can reach our goal with the continued generosity of the public,” she adds.

To learn more or to give, visit

Tags: OC Foundation, Health Sciences Centre, Therapist Assistant, Kelowna, Inside OC



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