Thorpe and Friends Scholarship recognizes two Okanagan College students

By College Relations | October 26, 2022

Rick and Yasmin Thorpe presenting the Thorpe and Friends Scholarship to Wylie Rowan and Mattias Van Bergeyk
Wylie Rowan, Rick Thorpe, Yasmin John-Thorpe, Mattias Van Bergeyk

Local students say the generosity of two prominent Penticton philanthropists is helping them take the next steps in their education.  

Since 2006, former MLA Rick Thorpe and his wife Yasmin John-Thorpe, along with their friends, have given more than $160,000 in scholarships to students in need at Okanagan College’s Penticton Campus. Two of this year’s recipients, Wylie Rowan and Mattias Van Bergeyk, received $2,500 to put toward their education.

Both students are Summerland Secondary School grads in their first year of studies at Okanagan College.

“I was so excited when I found out I’d received the scholarship,” says Rowan. “Without this financial support, I would have had to leave school and find a job.”

Rowan says he’s grateful to the Thorpes for helping him pursue his passion — Kinesiology. “I have been injured many times, and I know how difficult it can be to recover. I want to help people heal.”

The Thorpes say their ongoing commitment to helping students in need is borne out of a desire to give back to their community.

“I was raised in a humble family that always found a way to help people, and so was Yasmin. The importance of giving back was instilled in us from a young age,” says Rick Thorpe.

“These young people are our future. We know that by helping them, we’re investing in the future of our community,” adds Yasmin.

Over the last fifteen years, 76 students have received the Thorpe and Friends Scholarship.

“This is a challenging time for students. They’ve been really impacted by inflation, and many are struggling to make ends meet. Gifts like the Thorpes’ can mean the difference between students staying in school and dropping out,” says Helen Jackman, Executive Director of Okanagan College Foundation.

Tags: OC Foundation, Kinesiology, Science University Studies



Sign up for weekly stories


Communications student standing outside the Centre for Learning building at the Kelowna campus
Meet Ruth Gabriela Melo Flores

April 4, 2023

Q: What's your name? A: Ruth Gabriela Melo Flores Q: What's your hometown? A: Quito – Ecuador – South America Q: How did you end up at Okanagan College? A: Well, I studied for a bachelor's degree in Law in Ecuador. Then, I worked for a while and got my Master's degree in Government and Culture of Organizations at the University of Pamplona.  When I returned to my country, professional opportunities arose for me. I mean, a Master's degree improved my career. Spain helped me develop ...

Animation student
Artistic students design future careers in animation

June 7, 2022

Grads of Okanagan College’s Animation Diploma program are finding their skills have never been in higher demand. First- and second-year students showed samples of their artwork and demo reels to industry partners at OC’s annual Animation Industry Night on May 17. “Lots of the work was very professional,” says James Wood, Chair of Okanagan College’s Animation Department. “Our program is short, but intense. The instructors make sure the students have a realistic understanding of what they need do to succeed in a competitive and demanding wo...

JAMK campus
OC Business students embrace international study again

May 30, 2022

Business students from Okanagan College are once again able to travel to Jyväskylä, Finland to experience an international summer school at the JAMK University of Applied Sciences.  Finland’s education system is widely regarded as one of the best in the world.  OC Business Professor Blair Baldwin, who has taught Services Design at JAMK for several summers, says working in Finland has helped him innovate and create new teaching methodologies. “JAMK employs experiential learning across its curriculum,” he says. “They stress critical thinkin...

Enactus 2022
Enactus Okanagan College tops the field, sets sights on national championships

May 27, 2022

Okanagan College students will once again be competing for the Canadian title after qualifying for the Enactus National Exposition with a first-place finish in their league during the semi-final round. Enactus teams at post-secondary institutions across Canada competed virtually earlier this month, and Okanagan College scooped up top position in the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge, and runner-up in the Scotiabank Climate Action Challenge for the Unusually Good Food Co. project. It also included national runner-up in Shaw and RBC accelerators...