New California Community Colleges Chancellor has been selected


Dr. Sonya Christian was selected as the new California Community College Chancellor on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. She will begin her service on June 1, 2023, replacing Eloy Ortiz Oakley, after nearly six years of service. Photo credit: California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office

Gerardo Chagolla, Editor-In-Cheif

Seven months after Eloy Ortiz Oakley resigned as Chancellor of the California Community Colleges after serving nearly six years, Sonya Christian was selected as a permanent replacement for the position on Thursday Feb. 23, 2023.

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors unanimously agreed on the selection of Christian as the next permanent chancellor to lead the largest, most diverse system of public higher education in America.

Christian earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Kerala in Kerala, India. She earned her Master of Science in Applied Mathematics from the University of Southern California and her doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Christian began her career in higher education on the mathematics faculty in Bakersfield College. She has also served as an administrator at Lane Community College in Oregon for several years. In 2013, she was selected as the 10th president of Bakersfield Community College, making her way back home to California.

In July 2021, Christian was named the sixth chancellor of the Kern Community College District. At KCCD, she implemented a call to action with a focus on advancing student success and closing achievement and equity gaps.

In a press release sent out on Thursday she said, “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.”

In the same press release, California Governor 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.”

This announcement comes following an extensive and nationwide search over the past seven months, making Christian a historic choice. She will be the first woman and the first person of South Asian heritage to be appointed as permanent chancellor.

Christian will begin her service on June 1, 2023. In the meantime, Daisy Gonzales, will continue to serve as interim chancellor.