Long Beach City College District (LBCCD) Superintendent-President Eloy Ortiz Oakley was unanimously selected as the next chancellor—the first Latino chancellor—to lead California community colleges, the California Community Colleges Board of Governors announced today.
Oakley has acted as superintendent-president of Long Beach City college since 2007, creating signature initiatives such as the Long Beach College Promise, which helps connect Long Beach’s primary, secondary, junior college and university systems to improve graduation rates among Long Beach residents. The program has spurred similar programs, such as Obama’s America’s College Promise.
Oakley will leave his current position for the chancellorship.
“While we are sorry to see him go, we expect to continue to work with him in Sacramento where he is well known and enjoys an excellent reputation,” said LBCCD Board of Trustees President Doug Otto in a statement. “I am confident we will be able to continue to follow President Oakley’s vision for Long Beach City College during this transition. His work puts us in an excellent position to attract another outstanding CEO.”
“Today the Board of Governors continues the tradition of selecting great chancellors to lead the California Community Colleges,’’ said Board President Geoffrey L. Baum in a statement, calling him “well-positioned.” “Eloy Ortiz Oakley is an innovative and tested leader who understands how to operate successfully in a large, complex system of public higher education. In Oakley we see a change agent – someone whose relentless focus on student success will help more students obtain certificates and degrees or transfer to four-year institutions on time. As a member of the UC Board of Regents and with his close ties with California State University, he is well positioned to foster greater collaboration that will benefit all students.”
“Eloy Oakley knows California’s community colleges inside and out and has served at every level in the system – from teaching in the classroom to running a campus as superintendent,” said Governor Jerry Brown in a statement. Brown appointed Oakley to the University of California Board of Regents in 2014. “California’s 113 community colleges – and the 2.1 million students they serve – are in good hands.”
“As a California native and a product of a California community college, I am honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to lead the largest and most diverse system of higher education in the nation,” Oakley said. “I wish to thank the Board of Governors, Governor Brown and the people of California for expressing their faith in me.”
Oakley is a product of the community college system himself, graduating from Golden West College after serving in the military for four years. He then transferred to the University of California, Irvine, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Analysis and Planning and a master’s in Business Administration, according to a release issued by the California Community Colleges.
Before being appointed superintendent-president, Oakley served as the assistant to the superintendent/executive vice president of administrative services in 2002. Before that, he worked as the vice president of college services at Oxnard College and the assistant vice president of the Property & Casualty Division of Keenan & Associates, as well as the manager of risk services at the Coast Community College District.
Other local leaders joined in, praising California Community Colleges for their selection, as well as Oakley’s experience.
“I want to add my enthusiastic congratulations to Superintendent-President Eloy Oakley on being selected as the new Chancellor for the California Community Colleges – he is the right choice. The students of Long Beach City College benefitted tremendously from President Oakley’s innovative ideas and exemplary leadership,” said Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell in a statement. “I am confident his talents will have an equally positive impact on the millions of students enrolled in community colleges across our state.
“In less than a decade at the helm, Eloy has transformed Long Beach City College into a world class college that serves all facets of the community – students seeking to transfer, career technical education students, and adult learners,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. “His successful work on boosting transfer rates for underserved students and on the Long Beach College Promise program has become a model for colleges statewide.”
Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) President Jane Close Conoley also commended Oakley and the board’s selection.
“Congratulations to Eloy Ortiz Oakley on his well-deserved appointment as Chancellor of the California Community Colleges. He has been a long-time champion for education and his leadership on the Long Beach College Promise has improved opportunity for students and benefitted the city and the greater Long Beach area. That partnership was something that raised my interest and drew me to Long Beach, and I will miss his counsel and our close collaboration,” said Close-Conoley in a statement. “Long Beach City College is losing a tremendous leader, but I have no doubt he will have the same positive impact on the entire State of California in his new role.”
This story was updated on Tuesday, 07/19/16 at 8:08AM with a statement from LBCCD’s Doug Otto.