December 7, 2020

By Farhad Golriz, Tayler Shaw and Jose Hernandez, Staff Writers

The inaugural Equity Champions of Higher Education awards took place on November 19, a ceremony that honored community colleges with accomplishments in academic success for Black and Latino students who earned associate degrees for transfer. Hosted by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, the virtual event recognized over 100 community colleges and 23 CSU campuses, including Laney College, Berkeley City College and College of Alameda. Each received the 2020 Equity Champion of Higher Education award for outstanding achievements in associate degrees for transfer for African American and Latino students.

Laney College President Rudy Besikof graciously accepted the award. “It’s an honor to be recognized,” he said. “Associate degrees for transfer have become an important guarantee toward student success. It’s great that African American students and Latino students are earning this award as they work hard towards their bachelor’s degree or other educational goals.”

 On behalf of Berkeley City College, President Angelica Garcia accepted the 2020 Equity Champion in Higher Education award for having consistently committed to close equity gaps.

Lastly, President David Johnson of Merritt College accepted the inaugural 2020 Equity Champion in Higher Education award. “I want to thank The Campaign for College Opportunity for this important and prestigious honor that you bestowed upon Merritt College,” he said. “And we pledge to continue to meet the mark as well and look forward to being with you to celebrate like this hopefully for years to come. So thank you.” 

The ceremony ended with an announcement that on December 9 at 5 pm, the Campaign for College community is hosting the three leaders of our California higher education systems. University of California President Michael Drake, California State University Chancellor elect Joe Castro and Community College Chancellor Eloy Oakley, will be speaking on the future of higher education and how to move through 2021 after the pandemic.