The future of healthcare education at Okanagan College is looking bright after a local family foundation donated $100k to the program on Wednesday (Jan. 19).
Gifted to the Health Sciences Centre at the college’s Kelowna campus, the Merrifield Family Foundation has decided to “invest in the future”, the school said in a statement.
“The gift will support technology upgrades and new equipment for eight professions ranging from Pharmacy Technician Assistants and nurses to Therapist Assistants,” it reads.
The leader of the foundation, Lane Merrifield, is a local entrepreneur who at one time attended Okanagan College.
But Merrifield wasn’t just any ordinary student — he was named an Okanagan College Honorary Fellow in 2012, the college’s highest honour.
“I know I’ve benefited from hands-on learning in my career and health care is no different,” Merrifield said after the $100k donation was made public. “Having opportunities to try your skills in learning labs will greatly enhance students’ skills and confidence.”
The $100k donation from the Merrifield Family Foundation has helped the college come closer to reaching its fundraising milestone.
Okanagan College is hoping to raise a total of $4.25 million to complete its Health Sciences Centre. After the pledge from the Merrifield family, the school is now $750,000 away from reaching its goal.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Merrifield Family Foundation for supporting students and excellence in healthcare education,” said Helen Jackman, the foundation’s executive director at Okanagan College.
Merrifield and his family’s donation has not only set up the technological future of the college’s health centre but has also inspired a number of current students hoping to soon work in the healthcare field, according to Okanagan College.
The college’s new health sciences centre, which has an estimated total cost of $19.4 million, opened its doors to students in September and is equipped to support 591 students.