Santa Rosa, CA — Santa Rosa Junior College’s (SRJC) graduation ceremony on May 27 will feature California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley as this year’s commencement speaker. The Board of Governors appointed Oakley as chancellor beginning December 19, 2016.
SRJC’s main graduation ceremony takes place on Saturday, May 27, at 10:00 a.m. on the John Surryhne Outdoor Stage on SRJC’s Santa Rosa campus. It is free to attend; tickets are not required, and parking on campus is free on that day.
Over 1,550 students are expected to receive degrees this year, with approximately one-third of them attending graduation. SRJC officials expect to award a total of 2,000 degrees, as many students earn more than one degree. In addition, over 800 students will receive certificates at the end of the spring semester.
This year’s student commencement speaker is graduating student John Diez. He is transferring to the University of California, San Diego to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in mathematics. Diez’s speech, “Look out! From your Bubble” highlights the importance of becoming self-aware of the effects of technology, and to start an internal change of approaching different stories.
Oakley was appointed as the superintendent/president of the Long Beach Community College District (LBCCD) in 2007. Since his appointment, he has fostered strong relationships with members of the community, state and national policy leaders, his Board of Trustees and the faculty and staff of the college. He has provided statewide and national leadership on the issue of improving the educational outcomes of historically underrepresented students. He joined LBCCD in 2002, serving as the assistant superintendent/executive vice president of administrative services. In this capacity, Oakley undertook supervision of the Measure E Bond construction program for the district and oversaw the finances and operations of the district’s two campuses. Before that, he served as the vice president of college services at Oxnard College; the assistant vice president of the Property and Casualty Division of Keenan & Associates, and the manager of risk services at the Coast Community College District. Oakley also served as an adjunct faculty member teaching in and coordinating the Environmental Technology Certificate Program at Golden West College.
Partnering with the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) and California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), Oakley helped form the nationally recognized Long Beach College Promise. Through the College Promise, LBUSD administrators and high school teachers work with college faculty and staff to create clear structured pathways for students to follow as they move from one educational institution to another. These pathways prepare LBUSD high school graduates to succeed in college. College Promise students are guaranteed a tuition-free year at Long Beach Community College (LBCC) and preferred admission status to CSULB after completing the transfer requirements. Reports suggest the College Promise measurably reduces demand for college level remediation, increases student persistence rates and creates financial efficiencies so LBCC can educate more students for less money.
Oakley serves on the boards and committees of the University of California Board of Regents, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the California Forward Leadership Council, the College Futures Foundation, the American Association of Community Colleges, the YMCA of Greater Long Beach and the Long Beach Rotary Club. He sits on the advisory board for the CSULB Ed.D. Program in Educational Leadership. Oakley himself is a community college success story. After serving four years in the U.S. Army, he enrolled at Golden West College. He then transferred to the University of California, Irvine where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Analysis and Design and Master of Business Administration.
SRJC student John Diez describes himself as a musician, gamer, science lover, future researcher, and a friend. Born and raised in the Philippines, most of his family moved to the United States when he was 10 years old to secure better opportunities. The decoding of two different cultures, as well as being part of a transitional period of technological change, especially with social media, fuels his passion to create a better world. After receiving his bachelor’s degree he plans to attain a Ph.D. in Psychology, focusing on role-playing, social media change, and additional topics. Whenever he has free time, John enjoys playing with different ensembles, video games, and playing a plethora of board games.
More information, including other SRJC graduation ceremonies, receptions, and celebrations, is available at https://events.santarosa.edu/2017-graduations