College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook has been named as the National Pacesetter of the Year by the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR). The award recognizes a president or CEO at a two-year community or technical college who has demonstrated leadership and support in the area of college communications and public relations.
Dr. Van Hook received the award at NCMPR’s national conference held yesterday in Charleston, South Carolina.
“I am honored to receive the National Pacesetter of the Year Award,” said Dr. Van Hook. “Public relations and marketing are essential components of our college’s ability to create quality and results-driven messaging that positively impacts our students and defines their experience at College of the Canyons.”
Since 1988, Dr. Van Hook has served as CEO of the Santa Clarita Community College District, making her the longest serving community college CEO in California. Her longevity in that role and emphasis on effective marketing has played a major role in creating and maintaining the college’s brand and ensuring consistent messaging across mediums.
To accommodate its growing student population, COC has increased facilities square footage five-fold under Dr. Van Hook’s leadership, from 199,000 square feet on one campus to 950,000 on campuses in Valencia and Canyon Country.
“We at College of the Canyons are very fortunate to have Dr. Van Hook as a visionary and inspirational leader,” said Steve Zimmer, president of the COC Board of Trustees. “She has been able to oversee the long term growth of our college and widely communicate our student success story to our local community and throughout the entire state through the effective use of public relations and marketing.”
College of the Canyons was recently ranked among the top 15 best community and career colleges by salary potential in PayScale’s 2016-2017 College Salary Report, which ranked 381 two-year colleges across the nation by post-graduation earnings.
In a continued effort to reduce college costs, College of the Canyons will soon launch the First-Year Promise (FYP) program, a pathway that will provide increased opportunities for new full-time college students to achieve their educational goals, through a $750,000 grant from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO).
Out of 51 community college districts that applied, COC was one of only 14 colleges awarded a CCCCO grant through the California College Promise Innovation Grant Program.
The addition of the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, named in her honor, in 2009 and the Institute for Culinary Education in 2015 have helped students in the Santa Clarita Valley reach their academic and career goals.
“Dr. Van Hook has always supported effective communication on her campus and has been a leader at the state and national levels to further the mission of California’s community colleges,” said Juan Gutierrez, NCMPR District 6 Director. “I cannot think of a more deserving person to receive this prestigious award.”
Headquartered in New Mexico, NCMPR is a national organization governed by volunteer community college professionals that exclusively represents marketing and public relations professionals at community and technical colleges. NCMPR has more than 1,550 members from more than 650 colleges across the country, including Canada and other countries.
The National Pacesetter Award is presented annually to one of NCMPR’s seven district winners of the regional award.
Dr. Van Hook was named Pacesetter of the Year for Region 6 in September 2016.