Indian-American Sonya Christian named chancellor of California Community Colleges

Indian-American Sonya Christian has been named the 11th permanent Chancellor of the California Community College system, the largest and most diverse system of public higher education in the US. 

With her appointment, Christian, a Kerala University graduate, becomes the first woman and the first person of South Asian origin to lead the college system that serves 1.8 million students every year. She will be the first woman and first person of South Asian descent to lead the USA’s largest system of higher education. 

“Dr. Christian is one of our nation’s most dynamic college leaders, with a demonstrated record of collaboration and results in the Central Valley,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement. 

The distinguished educationist started her career in higher education as a mathematics faculty and later as division chair, then Dean of science, engineering, allied health and mathematics at Bakersfield College. 

She served as an administrator at Lane Community College in Oregon for several years before returning home to Kern Community College District in 2013 after being selected as the 10th president of Bakersfield College. 

Christian earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Kerala; her Master of Science in Applied Mathematics from the University of Southern California; and her doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles. 

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