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Chancellor picks up honor

Van Hook recognized for women's advocacy

Posted: March 16, 2009 1:16 a.m.
Updated: March 16, 2009 4:55 a.m.
The Los Angeles County Commission for Women will honor College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook today for decades of advocating on behalf of women and furthering the lives of women and their careers.

"I'm passionate about California community colleges and the opportunities they afford people to become whomever they want to be," Van Hook said. "I have been blessed to be able to work in this amazing system of education and to build bridges for people so they can open doors and realize that they can succeed.

"What an honor it is to be recognized for my decades of commitment to enhancing opportunities for women - one person at a time."

Van Hook will receive her honor during the 24th annual Women of the Year Luncheon in Los Angeles. She is one of a handful of honorees for each of five Los Angeles County districts.

In 1979, Van Hook became a member of the California Community and Junior College Association's (CCJCA) Commission on Women.

She created the New Horizons program for Santa Ana College in the Rancho Santiago Community College District so that women could have the same opportunities as men.

Before coming to College of the Canyons, Van Hook helped create the Asilomar Leadership Conference, which provides training for women looking to advance to executive positions in community colleges throughout California, and later established the Association of California Community College Administrators (ACCCA) Mentor Program to further train future community college leaders.

At College of the Canyons, Van Hook participates in an annual mentor program in which she serves as a role model and mentor to women aspiring to become college presidents.

More than 40 of the women she has mentored went on to achieve that goal at a California community college.

This year she is mentoring three women, one a faculty member and two administrators, Van Hook said.

Locally, under her leadership the number of female administrators at College of the Canyons has increased from just two before she was hired in 1988 to 54 percent of all the college's administrators, as she has hired more than 90 percent of all full-time staff since 1988.

During her 21 years as leader of College of the Canyons, the college's budget grew from $8 million to $221 million and student enrollment jumped from 4,000 to more than 25,000.

The 15-member Los Angeles County Commission for Women was created in 1975 to represent the concerns and interests of women. The group serves as an advisory board to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and promotes equality for women.


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