The Okanagan College Alumni Association (OCAA) is bestowing its highest honour on two former Okanagan College students – one of whom has spent nearly three decades working tirelessly to advance the profile and success of the dental industry – the other has focused on developing opportunities for young professionals in the region.
Though their paths at Okanagan College were quite different, both Lane Shupe and Donnie Ungaro are being recognized for their distinguished careers and achievements by their alma mater at a celebration in June.Lane Shupe, a certified dental assistant who graduated from the College in 1981, will receive the OCAA’s Distinguished Alumni award in recognition of her commitment to her profession and her exemplary record of volunteerism.
Donnie Ungaro, Young Professionals/Culture Development Officer with the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission, is being honoured with the association’s Young Alumni award, which recognizes the achievements of Okanagan College or Okanagan University College graduates under the age of 35.
“We are very excited to honour both Lane and Donnie as Alumni Award recipients,” said Kara Kazimer, Okanagan College Alumni Association President. “Okanagan College is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and it is fitting that we recognize the achievements of these special graduates, both of whom have done a great deal for our region.”
Shupe completed the Certified Dental Assistant program at the College in 1981 and then went on to earn a diploma in Business Administration from the College just two years later. She put her dental and business skills to good use, working as a dental assistant and managing a dental practice. She has been a member, sub-chair, chair, examiner, and representative for the College of Dental Surgeons of BC. Currently she is the office manager for Dr. Ron Shupe and the meeting coordinator for the Thompson Okanagan Dental Society (TODS) Annual General Meeting.
“I’m overwhelmed by this honour,” said Shupe. “The College has the best dental program in the province and I am extremely proud to be a graduate from the program. It’s wonderful to be recognized for doing something that I love.”
Ungaro completed a Bachelor of Business Administration from OUC in 2003 with a specialization in marketing. He went on to pursue a career in the insurance industry, then became a Red Seal chef and opened his own catering business. He became head of the Okanagan Young Professionals Collective in 2012 and has been dedicated to driving a culture and community to attract and retain young professional to the Okanagan.
Ungaro has been instrumental in the success of a number of local initiatives, including: Growing Chefs, TimeDRIVE in partnership with Gennext, Appetite for Art fundraiser, TEDxKelowna, and Motionball, which is in support of Special Olympics. Ungaro is also a local board member of Special Olympics.
"I can honestly say that my time at OUC has given me the greatest satisfaction and success in life,” said Ungaro. “I learned how to think in an analytical and rational way. My whole college experience brought maturity and a depth of knowledge. The reputation and caliber of education I received has opened many doors for me. I owe much of my happiness and success to my years at OUC and the people I met there."
Shupe and Ungaro will be honoured at special recognition event on June 12 from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. in the atrium of the College’s Centre for Learning. The free event will mark 50 years of alumni excellence, as the College celebrates its golden anniversary.
Anyone interested in attending can contact Katerina Hay at (250) 862-5630 or [email protected].