Sonya Christian Appointed Chancellor of the California Community Colleges

The board of governor of the California Community Colleges has announced the unanimous selection of Sonya Christian as the next permanent chancellor to lead the largest and most diverse system of public higher education in the nation. Dr. Christian is a historic choice, becoming the first woman and the first person of South Asian heritage to be appointed as permanent chancellor.

“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,” Dr. Christian said. “We continue to face many challenges, but I truly believe our greatest challenges enable us to do our greatest work. We are called to design the most vibrant, resilient, and effective learning environment ever. We are called to do this work at scale, not eventually, but now. And we will work with a shared vision that keeps students first.”

Since 2021, Dr. Christian has been serving as chancellor of the Kern Community College District. She started her career in higher education as a mathematics faculty member and later as division chair, then dean of science, engineering, allied health and mathematics at Bakersfield College. She served as an administrator at Lane Community College in Oregon for several years before returning home to Kern Community College District in 2013 after being selected as the tenth president of Bakersfield College.

Dr. Christian holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Kerala In India. She earned a master’s degree in applied mathematics from the University of Southern California, and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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