A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

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.

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About the Contributors
Michael Combs
Michael Combs, Editor
Michael Combs (he/him) is in his fifth semester writing for The Oak Leaf, and his second as co-Editor-In-Chief. He began taking natural resources management classes at Santa Rosa Junior College to pursue his love of nature and the environment but has shifted toward journalism so he can share those passions with the world. Besides the environment, Michael also likes to write about politics, social justice and mental health. He has a bachelor’s of science in neuroscience and mammalian physiology from the University of California, San Diego, and hopes to get back to his roots with more science journalism as well. In his off time Michael likes to read, write and hike as often as possible in beautiful Sonoma County and beyond.
Hana Seals
Hana Seals, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Hana Seals (she/her) is in her fourth semester at Santa Rosa Junior College, and is preparing to transfer to a four-year school with a major in Journalism. She mainly covers breaking news, community issues and local crime. Outside of writing she spends her time watching documentaries, drawing and opening time with friends and family. Professional content consumer.
Sean Young
Sean Young, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Sean Young (he/him) is in his ninth semester at SRJC and third semester at The Oak Leaf. He plans on finishing an associate degree in communications and journalism this spring. Sean lives in Sebastopol and spends his free time listening to his vinyl record collection, practicing bass guitar and writing for The Oak Leaf. He hopes to continue to a 4-year college after graduating from SRJC to work towards a bachelor's degree in communications and journalism.

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