SRJC President Dr. Frank Chong says goodbye to SRJC in his final presidential address


Sean Young

Dr. Frank Chong says farewell to Santa Rosa Junior College after 12 years at the helm.

Gratitude, cheers and appreciation from hundreds of Sonoma County business representatives and politicians, along with members of the Santa Rosa Junior College community filled the air as SRJC President Dr. Frank Chong bid farewell to the college that he’s called home for the past 12 years.

The SRJC Foundation President’s Address and Celebration, held at the Warren G. Dutton Jr. Agriculture Pavilion at Shone Farm, provided the JC community an opportunity to show gratitude for Chong, who has served the college for over a decade.

The occasion may have been the presidential address, but the overarching theme of the evening was one of thankfulness and legacy.

Martha J. Kanter, the former Under Secretary of Education under President Barack Obama, who worked with Chong while he was deputy assistant secretary for community colleges in the same administration, said Chong has made a significant mark at the college. “That’s what leadership is about, you know, when you’re gone. What remains? And is that legacy something that people will value in perpetuity?”

Chong’s legacy at SRJC includes the Measure H bond, which approved $410 million to redesign several older buildings on campus, new student housing, fresh safety measures to keep campuses safe and significant steps towards a more sustainable college.

SRJC’s newly-elected student trustee, Logan Warren, believed that Chong was a thoughtful and effective leader who always made decisions with SRJC’s best interests in mind. “I’m really grateful for Dr. Chong. And ever since I stepped into the role of student trustee, he’s been nothing but caring and kind,” Warren said. “I wish Dr. Chong we’ll. He has done a great job here.”

Chong offered a heartfelt thanks to the SRJC Board of Trustees, colleagues, his executive cabinet and his family. He also shared appreciation for every person who has lent him a helping hand along the way by paraphrasing a quote from the Irish poet William Butler Yeats.

“‘Ask where man’s greatness begins and ends, and tell them that I had such friends,’” Chong said.

Chong’s daughter Mia was delighted by how many people showed up to celebrate her father. “It was really moving to see all of these different communities come together and celebrate all of the different parts of his life. I know I’m only one slice of that, but it was really nice to feel this bigger family.

After offering a sincere goodbye, Chong promised that the community is in good hands with Dr. Maria Angélica Garcia, who will be stepping up on July 1.

“She is someone I’ve worked with closely. I know her, and I feel so good and comfortable that I can go off and into the sunset,” Chong said.