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Van Hook marks 25 years at COC

Posted: July 1, 2013 5:50 p.m.
Updated: July 1, 2013 5:50 p.m.

College of the Canyons Chancellor Dianne G. Van Hook cuts a cake marking 25 years of service to the college during a University Center ceremony on the Valencia campus Monday. Photo by Jonathan Pobre

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It was July 1988. Metrolink service to Union Station was a proposal being studied on paper. Firefighters at Station 73 were gingerly backing a new ladder truck into the structure to see if it would fit.

The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley was meeting with a storm of controversy from Newhall residents over its plan to locate a new club in Newhall Park.

And a 37-year-old woman was taking the helm at College of the Canyons — the youngest person to hold such a position in California and one of only five women among 70 community college CEOs in the state.

Friends and colleagues joined Dianne G. Van Hook on Monday for a celebration of her 25 years of service at the college.

The then-superintendent, now-chancellor — whom some expected to last no more than four years — helped guide the community college from an enrollment of 4,000 to a high of 27,000 students; from a budget of about $8 million to some $181 million today; from just under 200,000 square feet to 812,000 square feet of structures on two campuses.

“I’m so proud of these people and this place,” Van Hook said of the teamwork she said factored into her leadership as chancellor.

“Teamwork makes dreams work ... it’s really the team that makes you able to live your dreams.”

She was presented with a plaque decorated with 25 quarters, one representing each year she has headed the college and the district. The gesture reflected her late father’s practice of wrapping coins to take to the bank — something she continues to do on occasion.

“My dad was one of the very first people who empowered me to believe that I could do whatever I wanted to do,” she said.

Van Hook continues to oversee a number of projects and future programs for the college, including completion of the Canyon Country campus and the ground breaking for COC’s culinary arts building.




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