Okanagan College will bestow its highest honour on three local respected and innovative community leaders during a series of Convocation ceremonies in June.
Ernie Philip, Alan Gatzke and Barry Lapointe will be recognized as Honorary Fellows of the College for their contributions and leadership in the areas of cultural awareness, the agricultural industry and in aviation entrepreneurship, respectively.
“I am proud to welcome Ernie, Alan and Barry as Honorary Fellows of Okanagan College,” said President Jim Hamilton. “When I think about the people who have made a difference in our communities, from Kelowna to Oyama and extending to the Shuswap, each of the 2013 recipients are shining examples of people who have dedicated to improving their communities.”
Alan Gatzke will be presented as the Honorary Fellow at the College’s afternoon ceremony on June 8th, 2013, where he will address the graduating class of business students at Okanagan College.
As proprietor of Gatzke Orchards in Oyama, Gatzke is a third generation farmer whose roots in the Okanagan extend back to 1929, when his grandfather began the family business. Deeply embedded in the agricultural history of the Okanagan, Gatzke Orchards is one of the region’s oldest producers of tree fruits. In the 80 years since Leo Gatzke began farming in Oyama, the business has adapted to meet the needs of the people and land it serves.
As one of the areas early adopters of agritourism, Gatzke Orchards is committed to corporate social responsibility and sustainability in all forms of the business.
Gatzke’s vision for the family business has resulted in a thriving local hub that includes a farm market, café, bakery, accommodations and venues for concerts, weddings and special events.
A former city councilor for the District of Lake Country, Gatzke has also served as a Director for the Board of Tourism Kelowna, where he has helped move the sustainability agenda forward through his unique insight into economic diversification.