Congratulations to Dr. Sonya Christian, CVHEC board member, on her historic appointment Feb. 23 as chancellor of the California Community Colleges System, the largest and most diverse system of public higher education in the nation.
Chancellor-select Christian is the first Asian-American and the first woman to serve as chancellor for the CCC as well as a first-generation college graduate.
As current chancellor of the Kern Community College District, and previously as president of KCCD’s Bakersfield College (2013- 2021), Dr. Christian serves on the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium Board of Directors.
“I am honored to be selected as chancellor, and I am grateful for the leadership and collective work that has created the largest and best community college system in the nation,” said Chancellor-Select Christian. “I do feel a sense of urgency and moral obligation to the job at hand.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom said, “Dr. Christian is one of our nation’s most dynamic college leaders, with a demonstrated record of collaboration and results in the Central Valley. She understands what is needed to deliver on record levels of higher education investment to make real improvements to the lived reality of our students. I look forward to continuing to partner with Dr. Christian to ensure our community colleges are engines of equity and opportunity.”
Her appointment to head the state CC system drew praise from her colleagues on the CVHEC board, which is made up of the presidents and chancellors of 28 member institutions of higher education in the Central Valley’s nine-county region from San Joaquin to Kern Counties including 15 community colleges and four multi-campus community college districts.
“It will be wonderful to have a leader in the system office that understands the unique complexities of leading institutions in rural communities,” said Dr. Kristin Clark, chancellor of WHCCD who serves as chair of the CVHEC board.
Dr. Benjamin T. Duran, CVHEC executive director, said “The CCC Board of Governors made a wise choice by selecting a leader who has proven she understands California’s community colleges and will advocate on their behalf at the state and national level.
“Chancellor-select Christian’s CVHEC colleagues in the nine-county Central Valley are delighted because, as the new chancellor, she understands the needs and challenges of community colleges in the rural areas of California and the students and communities they serve,” he said in a statement Feb 23 upon the announcement.
“They join me in conveying the region’s pride in the selection of a talented and dedicated Central Valley woman as the chancellor of the California Community Colleges,” added Dr. Duran who also is president-emeritus of Merced College.
Chancellor-select Christian will begin her duties June , 2023 filling the position vacated by Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley in August when he stepped down after leading the community college system for nearly six years. Dr. Daisy Gonzales will continue to serve as interim chancellor until Christian takes office.
See media coverage of CCC Chancellor-Select Christian:
• Los Angeles Times • San Francisco Chronicle • EdSource • LAist • Cal Matters • Diverse Issues HE • Bakersfield Californian • Inside Higher Ed • The Renegade Rip • KGET (NBC) • KBAK (CBS) • KERO (ABC) • Community College Daily