ELOY ORITZ OAKLEY
Chancellor, California Community Colleges
Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley embodies the impact that California Community Colleges are having in transforming lives. He grew up in the Florence-Firestone area of south east Los Angeles in the mid-1970s and early 1980s, the son of an American-born father who was schooled in Mexico and a mother who was a Mexican immigrant. After serving four years in the Army, he enrolled at Golden West College and transferred to the University of California, Irvine, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental analysis and design and a master’s degree in business administration.
During his expansive career in higher education, he has served in nearly every role from adjunct faculty member to chancellor. In 2007 he was appointed superintendent-president of the Long Beach Community College District, one of the most diverse community college districts in the nation, and he became increasingly well-known for providing statewide and national leadership on improving educational outcomes of historically underrepresented students. In 2015, President Obama launched the America’s College Promise initiative that was modeled in part on the Long Beach Promise.
Since 2016 he has served as chancellor for the California Community Colleges where he has established a vision for improvement with clear goals and a set of commitments needed to ensure that California student outcomes significantly improve.
Growing up in south east Los Angeles during a time of rising crime and dwindling job opportunities, Oakley recalls that the expectations of going to college for children from a Mexican-American family like his were somewhere between slim and none. Higher education set him on a path to where he is today. And he has tirelessly dedicated his entire career to preserving this path for others.