Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton has accepted an offer to remain in his job until October 2019.
The longest-serving president in British Columbia’s post-secondary sector, Hamilton has been at the head of Okanagan College since 2004.
“We are absolutely thrilled that Jim will stay on as president,” said Connie Denesiuk, chair of the Okanagan College Board of Governors.
“Over the course of his tenure, he has helped the institution develop a well-deserved reputation for accomplishment, growth and service. I’ve witnessed first-hand how well respected he is provincially and nationally.”
“Jim is respected for his experience and for his insights, demeanour and intelligence.”
Hamilton sees it as an opportunity to continue to complete some ongoing tasks as well as advance important new initiatives.
“I am proud of Okanagan College’s record of success and achievement but I know a lot remains to be done to even better serve the students, employers and community of this region,” Hamilton said.
“I am particularly excited about some of the key directions in the college’s recently-completed five-year strategic plan and I want to be part of moving them forward.
“Those include working with and learning from our indigenous community, increasing our support for key sectors such as wine, food and tourism and technology, and completing a plan that will expand internationalization opportunities for our students and employers.”
Hamilton’s history at OC started with teaching English in 1980 at what then served as the Vernon campus—the old Canadian Forces army barracks.
Prior to becoming president, in additon to serving as a faculty member, Hamilton was a member of the Okanagan University College Board of Governors, and the regional dean of the North Okanagan.
Besides presiding over Okanagan College, Hamilton also chairs the BC Council for International Education and is a board member of Colleges and Institutes Canada, member of the British Columbia Council for Admissions and Transfer, and a vice-chair of the Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society.
In the past, he has been the chair of the Trades Training Consortium of BC and the chair of BC Colleges.
During his time as OC president, enrolment has grown by 43 per cent, annually exceeding government targets.
Okanagan College is now one of the largest colleges in B.C. and the second biggest public trades training institution in the province.
Aboriginal student numbers have more than tripled to 1,550, and the college has greatly expanded its services to that population.
OC has also introduced a host of new programs, grown its profile to address regional and provincial labour force demands and skills needs, and worked closely with industry and employers to make the Okanagan, Shuswap, Similkameen and British Columbia stronger.
With the recent completion of the Trades Training Complex in Kelowna, Okanagan College has seen more than $100 million in new building and redevelopment at its four major campuses in the last decade.
“As much as construction and enrolment growth are both good for the local economy, what has given me the greatest satisfaction is the success of our students and how our team has worked together to create more access for more post-secondary options for the people in this region,” Hamilton said.