Campus Life  

Stewart family invests in health at Okanagan College

Stewart Family

The Stewart family is donating $50,000 to support the education of health care professionals at Okanagan College.

The gift will recognize Rosemary and Richard “Dick” Stewart. Dick, a founder of Quails’ Gate Estate Winery and Kelowna City Councillor, passed away nearly one year ago at the age of 94. According to his son Ben Stewart, MLA for Kelowna West, the gift reflects his father’s passion for education.

“My dad believed education creates opportunities for people to lead independent and fulfilling lives,” says Ben. “He saw education as a transformative investment.”

Dick is also remembered for his ethos of giving back to the community including Okanagan College. In the 1990s, Dick volunteered on the Bold Horizons campaign to create a new vision for Okanagan University College (OUC). He later served on OUC’s Board of Governors.

Dick was also a founding member of the Central Okanagan Foundation and its President for nine years.

“He was never one to sit on the sidelines. If he believed in something he would get involved. That’s the way he lived his whole life,” says Ben.

Rosemary is happy to see her husband’s legacy honoured.

“He did a lot for the city because it meant it a lot to him,” says Rosemary.

“Anytime he was asked to go out and raise money he got his shoes on and went. He did it because he loved his community.”

The Stewart family gift will support a student study lounge on the third floor of the Health Sciences Centre. According to the family, the view overlooks one of Dick’s earlier orchards.

Amy Lausman is a first year nursing student in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Lausman says she's inspired to see people giving to the Centre even during the pandemic.

“It's amazing to see the support from community and that they value us as students going into health care professions,” says Lausman.

“I feel very grateful to study in this new Centre. Our lab practice is such a huge part of our education and having a new lab, equipment and other resources will only improve the quality of our education.”

Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director Helen Jackman says the gift from the Stewart family is incredibly special and reflective of the support the Stewart family has demonstrated to the College and the community over many years.

“This gift will help provide our students with a world-class learning environment empowering them to excel in health care professions that are so needed during this time,” says Jackman.

“We are thankful to the Stewart family for their generous investment in our community’s health.”

The Okanagan College Foundation is now $1.5 million away from meeting its fundraising goal for the Health Sciences Centre. The Foundation is calling on a different kind of health care hero to ensure students have access to the very best facilities and equipment when they return to face-to-face classes in this much needed Centre in the Fall.

To learn more or to donate, visit OurStudentsYourHealth.ca.

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