Chaffey College and Dr.Audrey Yamagata-Noji of Mt. San Antonio College Honored in Today's Award Ceremony
SACRAMENTO, California—July 8, 2014—Chaffey College’s Online to College program and Mt. San Antonio College’s Audrey Yamagata-Noji are this year’s recipients of the annual Dr. John W. Rice Diversity and Equity Award. The California Community Colleges Board of Governors held the annual ceremony today at the Sterling Hotel in Sacramento. Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. Secretary of State and daughter of Dr. John W. Rice, delivered the keynote address. “My father knew that education can give anyone—regardless of background—a chance to be somebody that they would otherwise never be,” said Dr. Rice. The Foundation for California Community Colleges (Foundation) sponsors the event, which was also attended byRice’s widow Mrs. Clara Rice, as well as members of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, elected officials, district chancellors, college presidents, and other California Community College system leaders.
This year’s awards recognized people and programs that support and encourage equality and diversity in the Community Colleges. The Online to College program, founded in 1998, works to increase college attendance rates in the city of Montclair. Students begin the program in the fifth grade, and participate in college field trips, college fairs, and presentations to learn the importance of attending college. After completing the eight-year program, students receive a two-year scholarship to Chaffey College. Many of these students are Hispanic students from low-income households and are the first in their families to go to college.
Dr. Audrey Yamagata-Noji, Vice President of Student Services at Mt. San Antonio College, is a leader who helps further student success in underserved student populations, focusing on diversity issues that include ethnicity, gender, and disabilities. Her projects have included the Arise Program, which helps Asian American and Pacific Islander students improve basic educational skills, and Aspire, a similar program for African American students. She is also co-chair of the Mt. San Antonio College’s Equity for All Initiative.
“Today’s winners highlight the California Community Colleges’ steadfast commitment to diversity, equity, and access for all students,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris. “Thanks to their work, students have had the support and encouragement they need to thrive in college, and young men and women who may not have attended college are doing so. That is a record to be proud of.”
“We are proud to support the annual Dr. John W. Rice Awards and to celebrate such strong achievements in promoting diversity and equity throughout the California Community Colleges," said Keetha Mills, president and CEO of the Foundation. "The California Community College system is the most diverse system of higher education in the nation, and the two winners we honor today are wonderful examples of our system's commitment to providing opportunity for all students."
The Dr. John W. Rice Diversity and Equity Award was created in 2001 to honor a Community College member, district, campus, or program that has contributed to community diversity and equality. Dr. Rice was born in Baton Rouge, LA., and grew up living through years of segregation and the civil rights era. He served on the California Community Colleges Board of Governors from 1992 until 2000 and was a leader and spokesperson for equal employment opportunity and nondiscrimination in the California Community Colleges. While on the Board, he showed a strong commitment to multicultural learning experiences for all students.
About the Foundation for California Community Colleges
The Foundation for California Community Colleges is the official nonprofit foundation to the California Community Colleges’ Board of Governors and Chancellor’s Office. The Foundation’s mission is to benefit, support, and enhance the missions of the California Community College system, the largest higher education system in the nation. Incorporated in 1998, the Foundation works with Community Colleges and partner organizations to manage grants, programs, and services that drive excellence in education. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit corporation and receives no direct state or public support.
About the California Community Colleges
The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation. It is composed of 72 districts and 112 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. Community colleges supply workforce training, basic skills courses in English and math, and prepare students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. The Chancellor’s Office provides leadership, advocacy and support under the direction of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges.