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Uploaded 09/20/2018

Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook Drive Unveiling At Canyon Country Campus

College of the Canyons has named the main road at the Canyon Country Campus in Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook’s honor in recognition of her 30 years of leadership, which makes her the longest serving community college CEO in California.

The road sign was unveiled on Thursday, Sept. 20, during a Canyon Country Campus Advisory Committee meeting.

“It is an incredible honor to be recognized in this manner,” said College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook. “I’m especially grateful to the community members, faculty, staff, and administrators who have worked for so many years to shape the campus into the resource it is today. Their unwavering support of our second campus as it continues to grow and meet the needs of our students enables us to do what we do. I am inspired by their spirit and their care for the Canyon Country Campus, and I thank them for expecting the best from us.”

The COC Board of Trustees passed a resolution to name the campus’s main road Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook Drive at a board meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 22.

“The Board of Trustees commends Dr. Van Hook on her untiring efforts to expand access to higher education in the Santa Clarita Valley, and for providing the leadership necessary to make the Canyon Country Campus a reality,” said Steve Zimmer, president of the college’s Board of Trustees.

Hired at College of the Canyons on July 1, 1988, Dr. Van Hook has been a driving force behind the college’s expansion and the development of the Canyon Country Campus.

Early in her tenure at COC, Dr. Van Hook identified the need for a new campus on the east side of the Santa Clarita Valley and led the college in expanding courses and services in Canyon Country, first by offering classes at Canyon High School, and then by establishing the Canyon Country ACCESS Center in the joint Los Angeles County-City of Santa Clarita Jo Anne Darcy Library.

She recommended to the Board of Trustees that the district purchase a series of parcels on Sierra Highway that would become the Canyon Country Campus, and in fall 2007 – just over a year after construction began – the campus opened and welcomed more than 3,400 students. The campus was not expected to serve that many students until it had been open for five years.

“Dr. Van Hook’s exemplary vision made the Canyon Country Campus a reality,” said Dr. Ryan Theule, Vice President of the Canyon Country Campus and grants development at the college. “The Canyon Country Campus is proud of this new name for the prime road in front of the emerging Science Center and honored that it will forever be associated with Dr. Van Hook’s leadership and legacy for our campus and students.”

Dr. Van Hook’s lifelong commitment to making a difference for others began in 1972, when she started her career in education as a junior high school teacher and part-time instructor at Long Beach City College, her alma mater. She also taught as a part-time career guidance instructor at Cerritos College and launched the college’s Women’s Center.

After accepting a full-time position at Santa Ana College, Dr. Van Hook created and launched New Horizons, which is now a statewide program. It served, what were then considered, non-traditional student populations – adult re-entry students, senior citizens, ESL students, as well Indochinese refugees fleeing Southeast Asia in the wake of the Vietnam War.

Before being hired at College of the Canyons, Dr. Van Hook was dean at Lake Tahoe Community College. She assisted in the planning and deployment of the construction of Lake Tahoe’s new campus, which enabled the college to move from converted commercial spaces to a new campus designed for higher education and the enrollment of six times the students.

College of the Canyons served fewer than 5,000 students when Dr. Van Hook arrived, and today enrolls more than 32,000 each year. Accordingly, COC has increased facilities square footage more than four-fold under Dr. Van Hook’s leadership, from 199,000 square feet on one campus to 881,855 on campuses in Valencia and Canyon Country. The new classrooms, labs, and other spaces allowed the college to not only serve more students, but also offer a variety of new academic programs such as automotive technology, culinary arts, and medical lab technician.

During her tenure, the college has passed three bond measures in 15 years totaling $480 million that enabled the growth of facilities and programs to accommodate its growing student population.

The addition of the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, named in her honor, in 2009 has enabled more than 3,000 students to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees from partnering universities while attending classes in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The Science Center, which is currently under construction at the Canyon Country Campus, will serve as a focal point for students and first-time visitors.

Funded by Measure E, the approximately 55,000-square-foot facility will primarily be devoted to physical and biological sciences, housing eight labs and 10 science service rooms. Additionally, the building will also house three computer labs, 24 faculty offices, seven group study rooms, open study spaces, lab service spaces, as well as seven lecture rooms, including a lecture room with 75-seating capacity. It is expected to be completed by 2020.

(c) 2018 SCVTV
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