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The California community college board announces new chancellor

Sonya Christian starts her new role as the first woman appointed in the position.

By Jasmine Alejandre, Staff Writer

After a nationwide search, the board of California community college selected Sonya Christian as chancellor of the California Community Colleges.

The search for a new chancellor began over seven months ago, when former Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakly left his position after six years to work for the College Futures Foundation, a nonprofit he is now CEO of. There were four finalists for this role, with nineteen total applicants.

Christian will be the first woman to hold this position, as well as the first person of South Asian heritage. She earned her master’s degree at USC and her doctorate from UCLA. She was also president of Bakersfield College for eight years. While she was president, graduation rates rose higher and the school was named one of the best community colleges in the country.

“I am honored to be selected to lead the most important system of higher education in the country and grateful to the Board of Governors for their confidence,” Christian said. “We continue to face many challenges, but I truly believe our greatest challenges enable us to do our greatest work. And we will work with a shared vision that keeps students first.”

The Bruin starts her role during a critical time for public education. According to data from The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments, enrollment rates at California community colleges dropped to its lowest level in thirty years. Composed of 116 schools, California has the largest system of community colleges in the country. Roughly 300,000 students have left the school system since 2019. Within the nine campuses of the LACCD there was a 32 percent total enrollment drop.

“Dr. Christian is one of our nation’s most dynamic college leaders, with a demonstrated record of collaboration and results in the Central Valley,” said Califrnonia Governor Gavin Newsom. “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.”

Christian is currently chancellor of the Kern Community College District and will begin her new role in June.


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