OCC President Angelica Suarez Honored with NASPA Region VI President’s Award

OCC Marketing & Public Relations
Oct 17, 2023
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Dr. Suarez First Community College President Recipient

OCC President Suarez holding a vibrant bouquet of flowersThe National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Region VI recognized Orange Coast College president, Dr. Angelica Suarez, as the honoree for its President’s Award ­­— the first community college president to be honored with this prestigious award.

“I am honored and humbled to have been selected for the NASPA President’s Award,” said OCC President Angelica Suarez. “This recognition represents a life-long journey to positively impact students' lives through education, thus changing the trajectory of families for future generations. As we know, the heart of an institution is its students, and this award reaffirms our collective purpose to create an environment where every student can thrive.”

Since Dr. Suarez began her presidency at OCC in 2019, she has emphasized a “Culture of Care,” which set the foundation for a revision of the Educational Master Plan in 2021, and the development of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Plan in 2022.

“As a college leader who inspires change and sets an example of care, Dr. Suarez serves as an excellent model of centering the needs of students and the work of student services professionals in the college experience and college strategic planning,” said Dr. Whitney Yamamura, Chancellor of the Coast Community College District. 

The NASPA Region VI President’s Award is a special recognition given to a college or university president who has, over a sustained period of time, advanced the quality of student life on campus by supporting student affairs staff and programs.

Award recipients must show evidence of direct involvement in enhancing the quality of student life on campus, active attempts to involve students and student life staff in governing the institution, and demonstrable contributions to the profession that have an impact beyond an individual campus.

The award will be presented at NASPA’s Western Regional Conference in Las Vegas in November.

OCC’s 11th president is the second woman and the first Latina to hold the position. Dr. Suarez’ personal narrative as an immigrant and first-generation college student connects her very directly to the shared experiences of California community college students. Her educational background includes a doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy studies from Loyola University Chicago, a master’s degree in counseling psychology from California State University at Long Beach, a bachelor’s degree in psychology from CSULB, and an associate’s degree from East Los Angeles College.

NASPA, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of student experience on campus through their support of student affairs staff and programs.