Santa Rosa Junior College’s graduation ceremony on May 27 will feature California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley as this year’s commencement speaker. The California Community Colleges Board of Governors appointed Oakley Chancellor for the California Community Colleges in December 2016.

SRJC’s main graduation ceremony takes place May 27 at 10 a.m. on the John Surryhne Outdoor Stage at SRJC’s Santa Rosa Campus. It is free to attend; tickets are not required, and parking on campus is free that day.

More than 1,550 students are expected to receive degrees this year, with approximately one-third of them attending graduation. SRJC officials expect to award a total of 2,000 degrees, as many students earn more than one degree. In addition, more than 800 students will receive certificates at the end of the spring semester.

This year’s student commencement speaker is graduating student John Diez. He is transferring to the University of California, San Diego to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in mathematics. Diez’s speech, “Look Out! From your Bubble” highlights the importance of becoming self-aware of the effects of technology, and to start an internal change of approaching different stories.

Oakley was appointed superintendent/president of the Long Beach Community College District in 2007. Since his appointment, he has fostered strong relationships with members of the community, state and national policy leaders, his Board of Trustees and the faculty and staff of the college. He has provided statewide and national leadership on the issue of improving the educational outcomes of historically underrepresented students. He joined LBCCD in 2002, serving as the assistant superintendent/executive vice president of administrative services.

Before that, he served as the vice president of college services at Oxnard College; the assistant vice president of the Property and Casualty Division of Keenan & Associates, and the manager of risk services at the Coast Community College District. Oakley also served as an adjunct faculty member teaching in and coordinating the Environmental Technology Certificate Program at Golden West College.

Oakley serves on the boards and committees of the University of California Board of Regents, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the California Forward Leadership Council, the College Futures Foundation, the American Association of Community Colleges, the YMCA of Greater Long Beach and the Long Beach Rotary Club. He sits on the advisory board for the CSULB Ed.D. Program in Educational Leadership.

Oakley himself is a community college success story. After serving four years in the Army, he enrolled at Golden West College. He then transferred to the University of California, Irvine, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Analysis and Design and Master of Business Administration.

Diez describes himself as a musician, gamer, science lover, future researcher, and a friend. Born and raised in the Philippines, most of his family moved to the United States when he was 10 years old to secure better opportunities. The decoding of two different cultures, as well as being part of a transitional period of technological change, especially with social media, fuels his passion to create a better world.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he plans to attain a Ph.D. in Psychology, focusing on role-playing, social media change and additional topics.

For more details on other SRJC graduation ceremonies, receptions and celebrations, visit the website at: events.santarosa.edu/2017-graduations.