Former chancellor of California Community Colleges system receives UC Presidential Medal

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Former chancellor of the California Community Colleges System and former California state politician Jack Scott was awarded the UC Presidential Medal by UC President Mark Yudof last Thursday for his achievements in public education.

Scott, who served as chancellor from 2009 until 2012, worked closely with Yudof and former California State University chancellor Charles Reed through “a very difficult time” for the UC system, according to UC spokesperson Steve Montiel.

“He led the community colleges through a period with very deep debts and cuts to state funding,” Montiel said. “There was a very close collaboration among the three of them — Jack Scott, Charles Reed for CSU and Yudof for the UC.”

Scott worked with the UC and CSU systems to create a new transfer program, which saved money for both the state and students. He also developed the Student Success Task Force, a committee dedicated to increasing educational attainment in California’s 122 community colleges by making important services more widely accessible.

“He has also been a courageous and reliable ally in the ongoing struggle to reverse the chronic disinvestment by the state in public higher education,” Yudof said in a press release made shortly after Scott’s retirement in 2012.

The UC Presidential Medal, established in 1997 to recognize extraordinary contributions to the university, is the highest possible honor awarded within the UC system. In 2012, it was given to former UC president Richard Atkinson, who is known for significantly increasing the university’s budget and research.

Although Scott did not directly work for the UC system, he worked with it to reform the system of transferring from community colleges to UC schools while leading California’s community colleges.

A transfer program implemented during Scott’s tenure partnered community colleges with CSU campuses to ensure that community colleges would offer a transfer degree consistent with CSU general education requirements. The program aimed to make the transfer process more efficient and less costly.

“The community colleges are an extremely significant part of the higher education system,” said Gail Kaufman, deputy director of the Center for Educational Partnerships at UC Berkeley. “Mr. Scott was always a major cheerleader for the role of community colleges.”

Scott retired as chancellor in early 2012 and now is a scholar-in-residence at Claremont Graduate University. He served in the California State Senate as a Democratic senator from 2000 to 2008 and in the California State Assembly from 1996 to 2000.

Politically, Scott was known as an advocate for gun control. He became active about the issue after his son was fatally shot.

Scott also served as president of Pasadena City College from 1987 to 1995 and of Cypress College from 1978 to 1987. He holds a doctorate in history from Claremont Graduate University and a master’s in divinity from Yale University.

Contact Madeleine Pauker at [email protected]