Okanagan College issues call for alumni awards

Penticton's Shane Koyczan was the recipient of last year's college Young Alumni award

The alumni association at Okanagan College is once again calling for nominations in their annual awards honouring past graduates of the college.

The association gives out two awards annually, one for older graduates and one for more recent grads.

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes alumni of Okanagan College and Okanagan University College for their contributions to their communities and demonstration of excellence in the areas of: leadership, the environment, business or industry, public or community service, the arts or support for the college.

The Young Alumni Award follows the same format, but recognizes outstanding contributions by alumni under the age of 35.

This year’s winners will be joining some exalted company, like last year’s Young Alumni winner: Shane Koyczan of Penticton.

Koyczan was honoured for his success in the art world with his writing and spoken word performances, “bringing a nation together through spoken word.” That reference was to Koyczan’s well known performance at the opening of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics when he shared his poem for Canada, We Are More, in front of millions of viewers. The poem struck an emotional chord with Canadians as a heartwarming and at times tear-evoking homage to the nation.

Koyczan attended Okanagan College’s Penticton campus in 1998, where he took courses in the Associate of Arts degree program and excelled in creative writing before moving to Vancouver where he quickly made a name for himself and attracted a dedicated following in the world of slam poetry.

Other notable local recipients of the award include Chris Gibbons, finance manager of Westhills Aggregates, Corinne Inman, owner of Morpheus Graphics, and freshwater scientist and environmentalist Michelle Boshard.

To qualify as distinguished or young alumni, nominees must have completed a certificate, diploma, degree, apprenticeship program or have completed a minimum of 30 academic credits at Okanagan College or OUC.

“It is wonderful to learn of the impact that Okanagan College and OUC alumni have in their organizations, industries and communities,” said Kara Kazimer, president of the OCAA board.

The deadline for nominations is March 30. Nominations may be made by completing an online form available at www.okanagan.bc.ca/alumni.