The Wenatchee Valley College (WVC) Foundation's Board of Directors has chosen Dennis Carlton to be the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award for 2023.

The foundation's executive director, Rachel Evey, says Carlton was one of a dozen nominees for the award.

"Dennis was selected out of twelve different nominations because of his proven track record of community service, civic mindedness, and business entrepreneurship in Omak. The WVC Foundation's board of directors is really excited to honor a graduate from Omak."

Carlton enrolled at WVC in 1965 and attended classes at the school's Wenatchee campus since there would not be one in Omak until the mid-1970s.

In 1967, Carlton graduated from WVC, becoming one of only five students to do so from the 55 from Omak who enrolled two years prior.

After receiving his associate degree from WVC, Carlton went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in education with an emphasis in business from Eastern Washington University.

He began his professional career in 1970 with the Omak School District where he was an instructor of business courses through the DECA high school business and entrepreneurial program.

Carlton went on to teach at WVC's Omak campus before changing careers and opening a variety of businesses in Omak. He's also been an insurance agent with New York Life for over 47 years.

Evey says in addition to his professional accomplishments, Carlton was chosen for the accolade due to his civic contributions as well.

"We always try to find a recipient who has that mix of career and professional accomplishments along with service to their community, whether that's to their city, the state or the country, whatever that might look like we want to see both sides of the coin."

Over the years, Carlton has held many leadership positions within the Omak community, such as president of the Omak Performing Arts Foundation, Omak Chamber of Commerce, the Loup-Loup Ski Foundation, and Rotary Club of Okanogan-Omak, as well as chairman of the Omak School Board.

The WVC Distinguished Alumni Award began in 1975 and is designed to recognize past attendees of the college who have distinguished themselves in their chosen professional field; made significant contributions to their community on a local, state, national or international level; and have demonstrated integrity in their personal life and gained the respect of their peers.

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