The sun shone through the windows of Okanagan College Centre for Learning as the first graduates of 2013 paraded into the atrium Saturday morning.
Three hundred and twenty-nine students graduated from more than 20 programs, including: Practical nursing, commercial aviation, business administration, human kinetics, human service work, engineering technologies and computer science.
Dr. Andrew Hay, vice president of education at Okanagan College, and college president Jim Hamilton gave opening remarks before business administration graduate Joshua Widmann spoke to his fellow graduates as he gave the student address.
“There seems to be a requirement for these speeches to make a cheesy reference about the school, so I promise to fill my quota for today,” said Widmann.
“We’re surrounded by our parents, friends, professors and administrators. They compose a support network that has enabled us to get this far in our studies. Today we much not only celebrate our accomplishments, but also recognize those individuals who helped us through this journey.
“These people picked us up when we were down, taught us things we never thought we could learn and inspired us to perform beyond our greatest expectations.”
Widmann kept his speech lighthearted, noting students will likely have many fond memories of the college, but some memories won’t be pleasant.
“I don’t believe anyone will miss fighting off high school students from KSS for a seat in the atrium, or stalking pedestrians to get a parking spot in the parking lot.”
In total, the college granted 72 degrees, 25 associate degrees, 162 diplomas and 70 certificates. Last year Okanagan College recognized more than 2,800 students at its various convocations—the largest of which are typically held in June.
Lance Kayfish, chair of Okanagan College board of governors, told graduates to be proud of not only what they achieved, but where they studied. He noted the college’s reputation is growing not only throughout the Okanagan, but nationally and globally as well.
Okanagan College is the largest college in the Interior and has campuses in Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon and Salmon Arm, along with several education centres.