Most people finish college in about 4 years, but Dr. Dianne Van Hook has been going to college for over 30. Of course, she’s president and CEO of that college, but that’s not where she started. Like so many successful people, Van Hook’s educational journey started at a community college.
Van Hook’s interest in education began at Long Beach City College where a children’s literature class inspired her to become a teacher. After getting her AA and a teaching credential, Van Hook embarked on a career that would include teaching preschool and junior high, being a college counselor, earning a master’s and a doctorate in education, and becoming dean of instruction and student services.
Like an apprentice learning a trade, Van Hook had five jobs in 16 years as she earned while she learned what it would take to succeed in the world of education. This “hands-on” experience culminated when at age 37, she became Chancellor of College of the Canyons and the Santa Clarita Community College District.
At the time, she was the youngest person ever appointed as a California community college CEO, and one of only five women to serve as CEO at the district-level. 30 years later, she has received every major award available for community college administrators and is the longest serving community college CEO in California.
The fact that Van Hook started at a community college only to become the president of one, is a testament not only to her determination, but to the transformative role that community colleges can play in supporting the ambitions of real people who are willing to real hard to achieve their goals. This is why she’s a great example of what it means to be #CCReal.
Interact Communications. Keeping it #CCReal