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Dr. Sonya Christian Appointed First Woman and First South Asian Chancellor of California Community Colleges

Dr. Sonya Christian has been selected to lead California Community Colleges, effective Jun. 1. She will be the first woman and the first person of South Asian heritage in the role.Dr. Sonya ChristianDr. Sonya Christian

Christian is chancellor of the Kern Community College District.

“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 California Gov. 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. I look forward to continuing to partner with Dr. Christian to ensure our community colleges are engines of equity and opportunity.”

She has previously been dean of science, engineering, allied health, and mathematics at Bakersfield College and administrator at Lane Community College.

“Dr. Christian is an equity-centered leader who understands that increasing access to education and workforce development transforms lives, families, communities and the state,” said Dr. Jolene Koester, interim chancellor of the California State University. “She is an innovator with a long and impressive track record of expanding opportunities for California’s students. I invite and welcome Dr. Christian’s partnership in collaboratively advancing our shared goals for student success.”

She is a board member on the Campaign for College Opportunity; the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce; and the Public Policy Institute of California Higher Education Advisory Council. She is also chair of the California Community Colleges Women's Caucus and a member of the Asian American Pacific Islander Trustees and Administrators Caucus.

Christian holds a B.S. from University of Kerala; an M.S. in applied mathematics from University of Southern California; and a doctorate from University of California, Los Angeles.

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