Educator Frank Chong Heads One of CA’s Oldest Colleges
Sonoma County, California–Dr. Frank Chong has been appointed president of Santa Rosa Junior College, one of the oldest community colleges in this entire state. He was selected for the position from a field of 42 applicants.
Dr. Chong started his term on January 11. He was most recently the deputy assistant secretary for community colleges at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C.
He expressed excitement over the appointment and becoming part of the community. Remarked Dr. Chong: “I am grateful for the trust that the Board of Trustees has placed in me and honored to become part of the vibrant, growing Sonoma County community.”
He added: “I look forward to working with the faculty, students, staff and the community to carry on the legacy of one of California’s oldest and finest community colleges and to help maintain Santa Rosa Junior College as one of the leading community colleges in America.”
The SRJC Board of Trustees is confident Dr. Chong will be a great asset to the College and the Santa Rosa community. Board of Trustees President Rick Call said, “The Board is confident that Dr. Chong is the best fit to lead Santa Rosa Junior College, considering the current and future challenges facing our college. Higher education is changing, and we feel Dr. Chong possesses the skills needed to help guide us through the next phase of our long history of success.”
In Washington, D.C., President & Executive Director Neil Horikoshi of Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) hailed the appointment.
“Community colleges are playing an increasingly important role in higher education, and selecting the right leadership is critical to the success of these institutions,” Horikoshi stressed. “Dr. Chong has devoted his entire career to the service of America’s students. I can’t think of anyone better to lead Santa Rosa Junior College during this very important time.”
He added: “As Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders continue to be underrepresented among the highest levels of leadership on college campuses, Dr. Chong’s appointment is especially important for our community. He is a tremendous role model for Asian American and Pacific Islander students and is helping pave the way for future college presidents.”
As the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges, Dr. Chong helped shape federal policies and programs to better support community colleges. This is particularly important. Reason: Nearly 50 percent of Asian American and Pacific Islanders enrolled in higher education attend community colleges.
Dr. Chong succeeds Dr. Robert F. Agrella, who is retiring after 21 years. Dr. Agrela’s career at SRJC “has been highlighted by many significant accomplishments on behalf of the college,” Board officials noted in a statement.
Dr. Chong’s appointment was formally announced by the Board at its December 13, 2011 meeting. A welcoming ceremony is planned in the near future.
Also in the nation’s capital, U.S. Undersecretary of Education Martha Kanter hosted a farewell reception honoring Dr. Chong last December. “She did a great job in recognizing Assistant Undersecretary of Education Frank Chong,” said APIASF’s Horikoshi.
He said Dr. Chong served on the 2010 and 2011 APIASF Higher Education Summit Steering Committees. “He has also been a strong supporter of APIASF’s work to help increase awareness of the Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI) Program, and to better support Asian American and Pacific Islander students in higher education,” he added.
Dr. Chong formerly served as President of Laney College in Oakland and Mission College in Santa Clara. He also served as Campus Dean and Dean of Student Affairs at San Francisco City College. He was Special Assistant to the Speaker of the California Assembly, and executive director of a Bay Area community-based non-profit organization.
Dr. Chong has a Bachelor of Arts degree from UC Berkeley in social welfare and Asian American Studies. He has a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University. He also completed the Educational Management program at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. He earned his doctorate in educational administration, leadership and technology from Dowling College in Oakdale, New York.