Angélica Garcia is the new president of Berkeley City College, the school’s first president of Mexican American descent.
Garcia is distinguished as an exceptional higher education leader devoted to social justice and equity, innovation and the academic advancement of students. She has lived in the Bay Area since the 1990s, was a first-generation college student and was also the first in her family to receive a doctorate degree.
“I’m a community-oriented person. I care about the East Bay because of the diversity and the richness of our community,” Garcia said. “I believe in promoting higher education as a means for upward social mobility for students in their communities.”
As president of Berkeley City College, Garcia plans to work to offer a quality experience for students and a curriculum that prepares students for their future careers. Garcia said she hopes to accomplish this by having conversations with students, faculty members and all other involved parties.
Garcia would also like to see the college work to increase graduation rates and close equity gaps. She said she hopes the college acts intentionally to support minority communities and be a model for other community colleges to mitigate equity gaps.
Garcia said she intends to maintain and strengthen the bond between Berkeley City College and UC Berkeley.
“I want to continue to strengthen the partnership with UC Berkeley and with the Berkeley Unified School District. It allows for there to be a pathway where the children of the Berkeley community know that they have a pathway to higher education,” Garcia said. “We want to maximize partnerships around internships, tutoring and solving community social problems.”
Before becoming president of Berkeley City College, Garcia served as the vice president of student services at Skyline College, a community college in San Bruno. She succeeded in establishing the Promise Scholars Program, which functions to heighten two and three-year graduation rates. Garcia also conducted efforts at the college and district level that addressed the housing and food crises students faced.
Garcia is a member of the board of directors for the Higher Education Resource Services, which emphasizes facilitating leadership opportunities for women in higher education. She also serves as a Leadership Fellow of the National Community College Hispanic Council.
A search committee was created in January to find and establish the college’s new president. David Johnson, president of Merritt College and chair of the search committee, said Garcia was chosen for this position among a pool of many other qualified candidates.
“We are excited that she is joining the organization,” said Mark Johnson, a spokesperson for Berkeley City College. “She is a highly respected educator throughout the California college system. She is a proven innovator.”