Muskens: Alumni Awards go to truly inspiring people

Make time to be inspired by others who give back to the community.

I’ve always admired people who give back; especially those who, no matter how busy they are, find the time to make a difference.

This is why I’m always so interested in the annual recipients of the Okanagan College Alumni awards.

The association has two awards: One is the Distinguished Alumni Award, which honours someone who demonstrates excellence in leadership, the environment, business or industry, public and community service, the arts and may have provided support to Okanagan College.

The other award is a Young Alumni Award, which is for a recent graduate under the age of 35 who has had a successful start in their career and/or is positively contributing to their community.

This year’s awards also mark the 50th anniversary of Okanagan College and the Alumni Association and is why the association is celebrating 50 years of alumni excellence at a special event on June 12 at the Kelowna campus.

After 20 years of working at Okanagan College, I know our graduates end up all over the world, many doing some amazing things so it can’t be easy deciding who gets these awards, especially for the 50th anniversary.

This year’s recipients showcase a very distinguished alumna, Lane Shupe, who graduated from Okanagan College’s Certified Dental Assistant program in 1982. That’s 33 years ago and she is still active with the program  regularly sponsoring and attending their graduate tea.

But Lane’s commitment to the community is much larger than her promotion of the program. Here is a women who, since 1980, has been involved in the United Way, the BC Children’s Hospital, the Okanagan Symphony, the Kelowna Art Gallery, the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, the Central Okanagan Heritage Society, Kelowna General Hospital Foundation, the B.C. Cancer Foundation plus much more. She is clearly someone who is dedicated in helping her community.

The recipient of the Young Alumni Award is Donnie Ungaro. Donnie graduated from OUC’s Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 2003.

What is really interesting about Donnie is how much of his work is focused on young people. Kelowna is a city that doesn’t have a problem attracting seniors but falls short when it comes to retaining young people. Although this has changed in the last 10 years, much work still needs to be done and Donnie, who works for the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission, is tasked with making this happen.

Since he assumed this role he has created and launched a number of initiatives under the Okanagan Young Professionals (OYP) Collective. These include timeDRIVE (services for non-profits), motionball (fund raising for Special Olympics), TEDxKelowna, Appetite for Art (fundraising for the Art Gallery), Growing Chefs, Okanagan Start up Week, Faculty Connection Club (networking), and more.

The OYP Collective, for example, supports up to 17 community groups in the area, giving young adults a chance to participate in all sorts of community endeavours.

Both of these recipients will be speaking at the event on June 12, which I suspect will be very engaging. If you need to be inspired, mark your calendar for this date, I don’t think you will be disappointed.



Just Posted

A new development surrounding plane that went missing around Revelstoke in November

The family of Ashley Bourgeault believe they have found a new clue

Bikeshare to roll into Kelowna

Kelowna may soon have a fleet of bikes available for hourly rentals

Kelowna police look for missing person

Police ask the public for help in locating a missing man

Four arrests made after couple steals cash stolen in robbery

Kelowna RCMP made four arrests in two “bizarrely related” crimes carried out in Kelowna.

Banner year for housing construction, real estate

If the ample supply of cranes lining Kelowna’s skyline aren’t evidence enough, there’s more cause to believe that this city is in the throes of a building boom.

Your Jan. 22 Morning Brief

Check out the top stories of the day in the Okanagan-Shuswap with Carmen Weld’s Black Press Morning Brief.

$130K could get you on a dive to the Titanic

Hot summer ticket: $130K could get you on a dive to the Titanic off Newfoundland

UK’s Princess Eugenie, daughter of Prince Andrew, engaged

Princess Eugenie, the daughter of Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, will marry Jack Brooksbank in Autumn 2018

German nurse charged with 97 more murders

Niels Hoegel, serving a life sentence for two murders, has been indicted in nearly 100 more killings.

Okanagan jazz legends grace Vernon Jazz Club stage

The Vernon Jazz Society presents the Craig Thomson Quintet Jan. 27

Two men guilty in murders of Alberta family could face 75 years

The pair were found guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Klaus’s parents and sister in a rural home near Castor, Alberta

With Senate talks falling short, U.S. shutdown enters workweek

President Donald Trump accused Democrats of prioritizing services and security for noncitizens over U.S. citizens

Heat win fourth straight, Huskies next up

UBCO women hold firm among top four teams in Canada West standings

Toronto mayor wants city to co-host 2026 FIFA World Cup

The mayor of Canada’s most populous city says he wants Toronto to be among the North American cities to co-host the 2026 FIFA World Cup

Most Read