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Release No.06.26.15-CCLCAward
June 26, 2015

College Trustee Michele Jenkins Honored for 31 Years of Service

Forty-six years after enrolling in the first classes offered by College of the Canyons, held in the evenings at Hart High School, Michele Jenkins is still making an impact at the college. 

Jenkins currently serves as the president of the Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees, which oversees the college. First elected in 1984, she is the longest continuously serving member of the board. 

Her 31 years of dedicated service were recently recognized by the Community College League of California (CCLC), the organization representing the state’s 72 college districts. Jenkins received the CCLC’s “Fulfilling the Trust” service award at the organization’s annual conference. 

“I’m honored to be elected by the community to serve as a trustee, and work on behalf of our 30,000 students to ensure they have the same life-changing opportunities available to them that College of the Canyons created for me and my family,” Jenkins said. 

After receiving her associate degree from COC, Michele transferred to the University of California, Los Angeles to complete her bachelor’s degree program in anthropology. She went on to earn her master’s degree in counseling from the University of North Dakota.

Eventually, she and her husband Greg returned to the Santa Clarita Valley, where he created the moniker for, and was the founding partner of, The Doctors’ Office. Michele served as the practice manager. Later, Michele and Greg opened Dr. Jenkins’ solo private family medical practice. 

“College of the Canyons gave me the opportunity to prove to myself that I could achieve my goals.  It laid a foundation for what I have accomplished, so I have a personal and passionate belief in the value of community colleges,” Jenkins said. “And that’s what motivates me to serve on the Board of Trustees.”

“Michele is the epitome of commitment and dedication, and sets the standard for service as a community college trustee,” College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook said. “She is selfless with her time, and her greatest reward is the satisfaction that comes from seeing lives changed by the power of education.”

During her three decades of service on the Board of Trustees, Michele has held the positions of president, vice president and clerk of the board numerous times. She has served as the COC Foundation Board liaison, and participated in a number of ad hoc groups, including the committee that determined the feasibility of returning football and expanding women’s athletics at COC, as well as the Measure C Advisory Committee and the Health and Welfare Benefits Committee. 

Michele has also been extremely active at the state level, representing College of the Canyons and the Santa Clarita Community College district and providing leadership for trustees statewide. She spent 11 years on the California Community College Trustees (CCCT) Board of Directors, including serving as the CCCT President, as well as the President of the Community College League of California. 

Of all her accomplishments as a board member, she points to one as a defining moment in the history of the college: hiring Dr. Van Hook to lead the college in 1988. Jenkins was president of the board then, and made what was considered a gutsy decision at the time, but one that clearly changed the course of the college’s direction. 

“She had the courage to lead the Board in hiring a woman to lead the college when there were just a handful of female community college presidents in California,” Van Hook said. “But that speaks to Michele’s courage as a leader, and her belief in the potential of people.”

Jenkins’ connection to College of the Canyons is a family affair. Her husband Greg also received his associate degree at COC. Their son and daughter attended the college as well, with Michele’s mother and father volunteering for many years in the college’s Community Services and Security departments, respectively.

“College of the Canyons is an amazing place,” she said. “I’m proud to be an alumna, and it’s been a tremendous privilege to serve as a board member and help shape the college’s growth, increasing quality, and service to students for more than 30 years.”​