Campus Life  

College honours Kathy Butler with Distinguished Service Award

Kathy Butler

The first executive director of the Okanagan College Foundation, Kathy Butler, will be recognized with the Distinguished Service Award.

“Kathy left a legacy of growth and development and a significant record of fundraising at the College,” says Neil Fassina, President Okanagan College.

“Under her guidance, and with the support of a team of dedicated volunteers and staff, she helped thousands of students achieve their education and career goals. Her leadership supported the college’s evolution in modern development practices, demonstrating a commitment to excellence and making a positive impact on our communities.”

The award recognizes past employees who have given outstanding service to Okanagan College, who share and support its mission, vision and values, and are active within and outside the College community.

Butler played an integral role in the growth of the Okanagan College Foundation’s endowment. During her tenure, 11,272 awards worth more than $12 million were disbursed to students. She also led the largest college capital campaign in B.C., raising $9 million for Kelowna’s Trades Complex – nearly doubling the $5 million goal.

“Fund development is more than the raising of money; it is the building of long-term relationships and a community of support that elevates the college and furthers access and opportunities for students. I have been in a privileged role to facilitate that happening and am deeply honoured with this recognition.”

After completing a Bachelor of Arts from UBC, Butler began her path to fundraising and donor relations soon after by working with Kelowna General Hospital Foundation.

She entered the post-secondary sector during a critical juncture, as OUC split into two organizations: Okanagan College and UBCO. Butler steered the Foundation through the complex time, establishing the organizational and fund structure to serve OC for years to come while stewarding donor relations.

In 2016, she conducted original research on the state of post-secondary fundraising in Canada, earning her a Master of Arts degree in Philanthropy and Development from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. She has held Certified Fund Raising Executive designation since 1993.

She retired from OC in 2018 and joined Global Philanthropic Canada as a Senior Consultant. She remains active in the community, serving as a director for the Child Advocacy Centre in Kelowna, and as Assistant Governor of Rotary District 5060.

She has received numerous other awards, including the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education in 2019.

Butler joins seven other past recipients of the Distinguished Service Award: Dr. Jayne Brooks (2020), Heather Banham (2019), Rick Gee (2016), John Lent (2014), Catherine Williams (2012), Gary Dickinson (2011) and Lynda Wilson (2010).

Butler will receive the Distinguished Service Award at an upcoming Convocation ceremony in June.

For details about the Distinguished Service Award or to learn about past recipients, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/distinguishedservice.

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