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Berkeley City College President's Report – May 14, 2024

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50th Anniversary Block Party & BCC West Groundbreaking Ceremony

On Tuesday, April 23, Berkeley City College honored its past with a beautiful, vibrant block party, complete with good food, dancing, and even horseback riding! Berkeley City College programs and resources were on full display as we tabled with intention, bringing greater awareness to the tremendous value that we offer our community. It was also a great opportunity for BCC to highlight its presence in the heart of Berkeley in a big way and to solidify our commitment to the City.

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We then looked to our future with a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Berkeley City College West Campus scheduled to open in 2026. We are excited about expanding our presence in downtown Berkeley and continuing our legacy of providing low-cost, high-quality education to all who seek it.

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Big thanks to all of our partners who joined us: XL Construction, Ratcliff Architects, Kitchell Corporation, BuildPeralta, Berkeley Rotary Club, BART, Downtown Berkeley, Visit Berkeley, Berkeley Chamber of Commerce, League of Women Voters, Berkeley Symphony, DJ Pulpo, and Tacos Sinaloa.


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Society of Scholars Graduation Ceremony

On Thursday, May 9, students representing all of the Society of Scholars learning communities – Umoja, Puente, AAPI Lead, Ignite, and the Undocumented Community Resource Center – gathered in the BCC auditorium to celebrate graduation with their fellow students. The program was led by SoS counselors Skyler Barton and Dri Regalado and began with an opening welcome from President Denise Richardson. Student speakers from each learning community then shared their experiences: Nancy Hoang spoke on behalf of Umoja, Natalie Flores spoke on behalf of Puente, Denys Systenski spoke on behalf of AAPI, and Galilea Ortega spoke on behalf of IGNITE.

Alumnus Ashley Santos gave the keynote address. Ashley joined IGNITE in the early stages of the establishment of learning communities at BCC. She was one of the first IGNITE student assistants and went on to transfer to UC Berkeley, where she will be graduating this semester. Ashely shared words of encouragement and admiration to the next class of SoS scholars.

Graduates then walked the stage and received their SoS stoles and special certificates. Congratulations to BCC’s 2024 SoS graduating scholars!

Big thanks to Skyler Barton, Dri Regalado, Connie Tran, Christina Taing-Rivera, Susan Truong, and Susan Cuong for their work organizing the event.


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Umoja Rites of Passage

On Wednesday, May 8, the 2024 BCC Umoja graduates gathered in the village to take part in the cohort’s Rites of Passage ceremony. The ceremony opened with Ramona Butler leading a procession of graduates into the village and leading a libation ceremony to honor the students and their loved ones. Umoja counselors Shannon Penn and Skyler Barton then introduced BCC Umoja Alumni who shared a little about where they are in their lives academically and professionally and welcomed the new graduates to the ranks of alumni.

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This year’s class was made up of 19 Umoja students. Each one of them stood to share words about their academic journey and presented an artifact symbolizing their experience at Umoja and BCC. The artifact included photos, jewelry, and shapeless things like time and words of encouragement. At the conclusion, the floor was opened to a Community Forum, a BCC-created special tradition for the Rites of Passage ceremony. It offered an opportunity for family, friends, and Berkeley City College administrators, faculty, and staff to offer words of inspiration and admiration for the students’ accomplishments.

Big thanks to Shannon Penn, Skyler Barton, Connie Tran, and Ramona Butler for organizing a great event.


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Peralta AAPI Graduation

The Peralta Community College District recently marked a significant milestone in its history with the inaugural Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Graduation Ceremony, held in partnership with its sister colleges: College of Alameda, Laney College, and Merritt College. This momentous occasion, hosted at Merritt College, served as a testament to the district’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

From BCC, around 28 AAPI graduates proudly walked across the stage, in their cultural attire, to receive their well-earned recognition and certificates. Among them were students representing a multitude of cultural backgrounds, including Chinese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, Pacific Islander, and more, reflecting the rich tapestry of the AAPI community within the Peralta district.

Throughout the event, speeches and performances highlighted the achievements and contributions of AAPI students, faculty, and staff within the Peralta district. Inspirational stories were shared, showcasing the resilience, perseverance, and academic excellence of the graduates, many of whom overcame significant challenges to reach this pivotal moment in their educational journey.

Congratulations to our AAPI graduates! Thanks to Susan Cuong, Connie Tran, Phoumy Sayavong, Christina Taing-Rivera, Susan Truong, and SOS student leaders for their involvement in organizing this great event.


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AAPI Heritage Month Opening at BCC

On Tuesday, May 7, Berkeley City College opened its AAPI Heritage Month celebration during college hour in the Atrium. President Denise Richardson kicked off the festivities with a welcome. The Laney College orchestra “Purple Silk” then played a set of Asian Music. They also informed the community about the traditional Asian instruments used to create the music. Students in attendance then were able to get lunch.

Other events this month will be:

  • Tuesday, May 14th - Ryan Samn will present on Diasporic Cultural Exploration from 12:30pm - 1:30pm in the Atrium. Ryan Samn is a San Francisco Bay Area-based writer & educator. His work explores themes of culture, identity & language from an Asian American perspective.
  • Thursday, May 16th - AAPI Heritage Month Mental Health Workshop with Cynthia Park Chai. Free lunch will be served from Mint Leaf.
  • May 20th-May 23rd,- Tabling on the first floor offering coloring pages and tea.


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BCC Student Arts Guild “Metamorphosis” Art Exhibition
By Lisa Cralle

Berkeley City College’s student art exhibition showcases artwork made by Art and Art History students. For the second semester in a row, the student showcase was directed by the BCC Student Arts Guild, an all-student collective. They were instrumental in advertising the open call, collecting and sorting the artwork, creating spreadsheets to keep things organized, printing labels, and hanging the artwork in a very thoughtful and professional manner. The Student Arts Guild is overseen by arts faculty Lisa Cralle and Jennie Braman. Students in a leadership capacity within the Arts Guild include Jamie, Juno, Toni, Oberon, Alix, and Luca.

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This semester’s theme was “Metamorphosis” and opened on Thursday, May 2. The art will be displayed through the end of the semester. Thanks to ASBCC for reimbursing us for food and drinks for the reception. You can see more by following the Art Department’s Instagram @berkeleycitycollege_art


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Student Success Day

Thursday, May 2 was Student Success Day at Berkeley City College. Over 180 students from high schools across BCC’s service region attended. Many of them enrolled, while others gathered the information and resources necessary to become acquainted with BCC offerings. Students were able to meet with counselors and learn about programs and services, tour the campus, get lunch, and take part in a raffle to get free BCC swag.


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BCC Stem Club Earth Day Clean Up
By Emily Segal

On Saturday, Apri 20 BCC STEM club co-presidents Sofia Gonzalez and Giselle Rivera-Hill organized a park clean-up to join an Earth Day Park clean-up event hosted by the East Bay Regional Park District. The students met at the Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline in Oakland and safely disposed of many loads of litter on the island. Big thanks to our student volunteers who helped make a difference on Earth Day!


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Peralta MESA Programs Attend Research Showcase

On Friday, April 19, 2024, Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, and Laney College MESA Centers came together to visit CSU East Bay and attend their Undergraduate Student Research Showcase. Our hosts from CSU East Bay MESA conducted a college tour, provided lunch at the university dining commons, and hosted a student panel of current Computer Science students. During the Research Showcase, our students were able to learn about research conducted by East Bay undergraduate students. This helped inform our students of the research opportunities available at CSU East Bay and learn about the scientific work being conducted by undergraduate students like themselves.


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Lawrence Berkeley Lab Research Panel
By Adi Kanteti

The Electronics and Engineering Club held a research panel in collaboration with various school clubs and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. We brought down three panelists from various teams at Berkeley Lab (including the Energy Technologies Area, Computing Sciences Area, and the Earth and Environmental Science Area) to share their experiences in research with students at Berkeley City College. This included an engineer working in sustainability research within buildings, a physicist working with quantum computers, and a communications specialist specializing in sharing cutting-edge research with the public.

More than 60 people joined us for the event in our auditorium, which was nearly double the expected attendance. Varied majors and departments at BCC were represented, and students had the opportunity to ask the researchers questions. After the event, students were able to engage the researchers in smaller groups. Typically, these kinds of researchers only give talks to research universities, so it was incredible to bring an opportunity like this to BCC. We also shared internship opportunities/programs for community college students, which most (nearly all) students had never heard about. The event was a success and we want to continue this next year with researchers from Berkeley Lab or other research organizations.

The Electronics & Engineering Club at BCC led the event, with collaboration with the Women’s Leadership Club, STEM Club, API LEAD, Sustainable Business Club, Civic Engagement Club, Psychology Club, Computer & Data Science Club, and Applied Mathematics Club. All these clubs organized the structure of the event, including getting food, funding, goodie bags, raffle items, and items from Berkeley Lab. Without the help of each of these clubs, the event wouldn’t have even gotten off the ground.

At Berkeley Lab, Armando Casillas, Kasra Nowrouzi, and Julie Bobyock all were panelists for the event and did a great job in answering questions, sharing unique experiences, and explaining their path through university (and community college) to get to their current positions. I also want to thank the WD&E group at LBNL for getting us freebies which we used.

For the BCC side of things, I want to thank John Nguyen for helping us deal with the administrative hurdles, Joe Bay for setting up and organizing all AV-related things, Tom Rizza for helping with photography and outreach, and Randy Yang for helping with outreach and advertising to students. I also want to give a big shout-out to the Associated Students of Berkeley City College for funding the event, which was a major reason we were able to bring in so many students. Without the help of ASBCC and the Interclub Council, this event/panel wouldn’t have been as impactful.


This article is taken from the President’s Report, written by Dr. Denise Richardson, Berkeley City College President, that was presented to the PCCD Board of Trustees during their regular meeting on Tuesday, May 14, 2024. To view it as a PDF, click here.

Tags: Berkeley City College, President's Report


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