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Laney College President's Report – March 12, 2024

Laney BoT Report 3.12.24

March Madness Comes to Laney as Lady Cagers Make Playoffs for a Third Straight Year!

Laney Women's Basketball was named Bay Valley Conference Co-Champion for the 2023-24 season. The league includes not only Bay Area Colleges but those as far east in the state as Yuba College in Marysville! This was the third straight year that women's basketball won the BVC Championship, with this year being the first time the title was shared. Under Coach Ramaundo Vaughn and Athletic Director John Beam’s leadership, these amazing student-athletes have had a nearly unprecedented three-year regular season record of 43 wins against just one loss. In one of this season’s wins, a decisive 50-point plus victory, the team dressed only 6 players (see photo above), displaying the toughness characteristic of Coach Vaughn’s teams.

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On Saturday, March 2, the team defeated Taft College in the first round of the playoffs 80-46 and advanced to face Fresno City College in a road contest set for March 9. The Laney community celebrates these amazing student-athletes and wishes them another deep playoff run!



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Laney College Classified Professionals, Faculty Soar to Distinguished Heights

Laney College CalWorks Coordinator Cynthia Alvarado has been accepted to Harvard’s Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she plans to expand her research with nonprofit advocacy group campaigns aimed at helping people rise out of poverty through education.

Ms. Alvarado is a true Peralta success story who is a former CalWORKs student and student worker. She graduated from PCCD with two A.A.s before transferring to UC Berkeley, where she focused the remainder of her undergraduate work on public policy. After graduating from Berkeley, she became an hourly at Merritt College's VPI, Business Office, Research Office, and library. She found a permanent position at Laney as the CalWORKs coordinator.

Cynthia’s leadership and service with CalWorks is not limited to Laney, but to our greater state of Calfornia, where she serves as the current President of the CalWORKs Association, advocating for the rights of student parents and welfare recipients across the state. As part of that role, she is presently part of a coalition meeting with senators to stop a 3 billion cut to the family stabilization program that provides housing to families on aid.

Laney expresses its congratulations to Cynthia Alvarado!



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Laney Counselor Kimm Blackwell Recognized for Outstanding Service!

This past December, Kimm Sisson Blackwell was the recipient of one of five Matriarch Community Grants from the OakLuv Foundation, which celebrates "the hard work, perseverance, and leadership [of women] in the Oakland community who are dedicated to empowering and creating positive change within their families and communities."

Kimm’s service to Laney has been one of distinction, having served not only as a full-time counseling faculty colleague but also a number of other roles that have included department chair and faculty senator. It is also not uncommon to see Kimm providing support for outreach and support events such as the College’s One-Stop Saturdays. Also, Kimm has provided immeasurable support to Laney College students who are veterans.

Kimm is excited about this honor because it will allow her to accomplish her lifelong goal of establishing her own Peralta Foundation Scholarship! The College appreciates her service and congratulates her on the work she will do with this grant. Moreover, it extends heartfelt gratitude to the OakLuv Foundation for its support.



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Laney College Ethnic Studies Professor/Department Chair Earns Another Prestigious Appointment

Laney College Professor Dana Grisby shared in Febraury that she has been accepted to be a part of the American Association of Colleges and Teacher Education (AACTE) Holmes Scholars Program, yet another accomplishment in the 5-plus years that she has served as a full-time faculty member. Dana was honored at the AACTE Conference in Denver in February, and news of this acceptance has resonated to the far reaches of the campus and district.

The AACTE Holmes Scholars Program has earned renown for its national-level efforts to support racially and ethnically diverse students pursuing doctoral degrees in education.

As a member of the program, more efforts lie ahead for Professor Grisby. She will attend the Summer Policy Institute in Washington, DC, to participate in Washington Week, including the following gatherings:

  • State Leadership Institute
  • Holmes Policy Institute
  • “Day on the Hill” Event to promote education policy

Along with her full-time teaching duties and leadership as Deparment Chair, Dana is pursuing a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership at Fresno State. Tireless educators at Laney such as Professor Grisby make our college a great community for learning!



Laney BoT Report 3.12.24 _6Photo Credit: Instagram @isaac_j_sanders_photography

Laney Art Department Hosts Spring 2024 Faculty Show

The June Steingart Gallery at Laney College will be showcasing a dynamic collection of paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and photography created by our esteemed faculty. Join us in celebrating the creativity and talent of our vibrant artistic community. The exhibition will be on view from February 7 to March 7, 2024. Featured artists from Laney’s rich Art Department and faculty ranks.include:

  • Frederick Alvarado
  • Mary Catherine “MC” Bassett (Art Department Chair)
  • Liesa Lietzke
  • Sharon Siskin
  • Martha “Mo” Storm
  • Fan Lee Warren
  • Minoosh Zomorodinia

Also contributing are our newest faculty members, Ashley Cornwall, Alex Echevarria, Emily Gui, Brandon Lipe, and Susanna Stromberg.



Laney BoT Report 3.12.24 _7

Laney’s Food Distribution Numbers Surpass 184,000 Mark

Laney continues with its meal distribution efforts to address food insecurity among currently enrolled students. In addition to the many colleagues in Food Services, the College would like to express its appreciation to the many volunteers, including Chancellor Tammeil Gilkerson, who have volunteered their time to serve food to students, along with our great partner, Oakland Rotary #3.

Numbers to date:

  • Total number of meals distributed: 184,668
  • Total number of produce boxes distributed: 42,863
  • Grocery packages distributed: 34,007



This article is taken from the President’s Report, written by Dr. Rudy Besikof, Laney College President, that was presented to the PCCD Board of Trustees during their regular meeting on Tuesday, March 12, 2024. To view it as a PDF, click here.

Tags: Laney College, President's Report


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