Closing out June 2023 – work hard…play hard

Last weekend started with country music at Buck Owens Chrystal Place and wrapped up at the Pantages with Tina Turner the musical. This is what happens when you have a high school friend visiting.

The Hollywood Pantages Theatre is one of my favorites – it’s breathtakingly beautiful and full of history. It had its grand opening on June 4, 1930, right down the block from Vine Street. From 1950-1959, it was even the home of the Academy Awards Presentation!

In 1963, it was home to the Hollywood Premiere of “Cleopatra,” with a ticket price of $250 per person (about $2,484 today!). The event raised $400,000 to help fund the construction of Los Angeles’ planned performing arts complex, The Music Center.

In 1977, the Pantages had its Broadway debut with the musical “Bubbling Brown Sugar.”

When the Walt Disney Company was seeking a home for its LA production of “The Lion King,” the Nederlander Organization agreed to a substantial renovation to restore the theatre to its former glory – including 84,027 square feet of gold, silver, copper and bronze leaf; 2,000 square feet of marble; 1,843 gallons of paint; and 7,260 square yards of new carpeting.

Today it is truly one of California’s many gems, and a treat for anyone lucky enough to visit.

The Tina Turner musical is a must see. And of course, my favorite has always been Proud Mary. Grabbed this 10-min video from youtube.


This week has been a travel week as college campuses hosted events on key topics related to educational attainment and the future of work.

On Tuesday, I was at West Los Angeles College for California Community Colleges and Climate: Defining the Possible Summit. We discussed the role that community colleges have – and will continue to have – as we tackle climate change and what it means for our evolving economy. Thank you President Jim Limbaugh and Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez for hosting this statewide event. We had several dignitaries attend — Ben Chida, Deputy Cabinet Secretary to Governor Newsom, and Stewart Knox, Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development.

President Jose Fiero, Trustee Andra Hoffman, BOG VP Hildy Aguinaldo, Dr. Larry Galizio, BOG member Tom Epstein, Governor’s Deputy Cabinet Secretary Ben Chida, Sonya Christian, BOG Member Jennifer Perry, Secretary Knox, Foundation President Keetha Mills, BOG President Amy Costa

I got a chance to see some of my old colleagues from Kern Community College District:

The inaugural CEO Climate Panel showed up in full force.

President Jose Fiero, President Lennor Johnson, President Jerry Buckley, President Martha Garcia, Sonya Christian, President Joe Wyse, Chancellor Tom Burke

Here is the foundation team with President Keetha Mills and Member of the Board of Directors Manuel Bacca

On Wednesday, I headed to Long Beach City College for the 9th Grade to Baccalaureate Intersegmental Collaboration. Thank you President Mike Munoz for hosting this statewide event.

We had many great speakers share their experiences, and ideas on how to move our Dual Enrollment work forward to ensure success with equity for all of our students.

Thank you to all our speakers – Mike Munoz, Ben Chida, Jolene Koester, Larry Galizio, Amy Costa, Andra Hoffman, Uduak-Joe Ntuk, Manuel Velez, Suman Mudunuri, Jerome Hunt. Thank you Kylie Campbell for organizing this event with the LBCC team.

What an incredible faculty panel.

Thank you to the five members of the Board of Governors who attended this event.

And thank you to everyone who joined to support and learn about how we can expand these opportunities for all our California students.

Appreciated the Chancellor’s Office showing up.

Marc LeForestier, Paul Feist, Lizette Navarette, Sonya Christian, Craig Hayward, David O’Brien

Good morning California.
It is July 1, 2023.
A good day to be a Community College Champion

From California Community Colleges.
Our Time is Now!

Imperial Valley College Awarded Aspen Prize

Imperial Valley College’s efforts to create a “college-going culture” have led to a 12% jump in graduation rates over the past four years. As a result, the college was recently awarded the Aspen Prize, one of the nation’s top awards for community colleges that are achieving growing and equitable student outcomes.

It is the first California Community College to be awarded the Aspen Prize since 2013.

» Read more on Imperial Valley College’s website!

» Check out the EdSource article about the award!

Mission College offers courses at Santa Clara County Main Jail

Mission College is the first college to offer courses at the Santa Clara County Main Jail.

As part of their commitment to serving incarcerated and formerly incarcerated students, the dedicated Rising Scholars program team, led by Department Chair of Social & Behavioral Science, Jeff Cormier, and Program Specialist, Steve Duong, successfully launched the Main Jail’s first college program this summer.

» Read more about this program!

Chabot College holds Ribbon Cutting for Fire Academy

Last week, the City of Hayward and Chabot-Las Positas Community College District celebrated the ribbon-cutting of the long awaited Fire Station 6 and Training Center. This new campus will serve as the new home of the Chabot College Fire Academy.

» Read more about Fire Technology at Chabot College!

In Case You Missed It

EdSource: Sonya Christian on her ambitious goals as California’s new community colleges chief

I had the opportunity to sit down for a 1-on-1 interview with Michael Burke of EdSource. Did not realize it was going to be Q&A style reporting….. check it out to get a sense of the Vision 2030 emerging themes.

» Read the Q&A on EdSource’s website!


Comstock: Graduating into a New Life

Comstock Magazine published a piece about Los Rios Community College District’s Prison and Reentry Education Program.

» Read the Article!

Fun Photos & Spotted on Social Media

Frank Ramirez from Porterville College shared this post:

We had a great time learning about best practices in helping #firstgen @PCollegePirates students at the #SSHE2023 Conference. @FirstgenCenter @NASPAtweets#StudentSuccess#EdEquity#firstgen

Andra Hoffman shared this photo – BOG President Amy Costa and I had lunch with the CC League Board:

Tina Maria King shared these photos from the California Community Colleges Black CEO Summer Retreat at UC Davis Wheelhouse:

And From the Home of the Renegades

Summer Bridge to BC Program on Track to Support 3,000 Students

Through a successful collaboration of the Bridge to BC team and the Students Affairs Team, this year’s Bridge to BC program is on pace to support more than 3,000 first-year students. The one-day, in-person course helps new students get a jump start on their academic success.

» Read more about this week at BC!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Remember – our greatest challenges enable us to do our greatest work.

That’s all for today.

See you next Saturday!

With much hope and joy, 

Your Chancellor,



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3 thoughts on “Closing out June 2023 – work hard…play hard

  1. Nick Strobel July 2, 2023 at 7:19 pm Reply

    Thanks for letting us know about the California Community Colleges and Climate: Defining the Possible Summit! I hope that they recorded at least some of the sessions. More about the CA Center for Climate Change Education at WLAC is at .

    • SonyaChristian July 3, 2023 at 8:38 am Reply

      Thank you Nick for the comment. The event was very good. Will post the videos once they are available.

  2. […] Check out the happenings from last week in my blog post: “Closing out June 2023- Work hard…play hard.” […]

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