Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas Recognizes Distinguished Academic Leaders at the 2017 Juneteenth Celebration

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Continuing the celebratory efforts at the 152nd anniversary of Juneteenth, also commonly referred to as Freedom Day,  Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas and other members of the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) sought to honor esteemed academic leaders in the sphere of higher education institutions. The awards reception, hosted in Sacramento at the California Railroad Museum, emphasized the theme of “Beyond Resistance: Empowerment Through Education and Civic Engagement.”

The year’s honorees included Dr. Horace Mitchell, President of CSU, Bakersfield; Dr. Soraya Coley, President of CSU, Polytechnic Pomona; Dr. William Hagan, President of CSU, Dominguez Hills; and lastly, Dr. Gary May, the incoming Chancellor of UC Davis; all of whom have advanced education in each of their respective positions, while continuing to equip our nation’s youth with the necessary tools and skills to enhance all aspects of society.

“We have the tools, the ability, and the knowledge to really enhance the outcome for everyone,” said Dr. Coley. “And then we invest that in our young people. We teach them how, first of all, to understand how their gifts and talents help society…to understand they have gifts and talents that our world needs. Our mission in higher education is to unfold those talents.”

“We try and develop, and have developed, partnerships for excellence,” said Horace Mitchell.  “Through that, we are able to give students real experiences, so that they see what is happening in the community and [therefore] what education they need in order to affect the changes that they would like to see. Students who are well-prepared become players in their destiny. They can make a difference in what happens.”

“Get involved. It is easy to sit around thinking of issues that are wrong,” said William Hagan. “Get involved in your community, in your club, and in your school. Getting involved helps make you part of the change process.”