Tuesday, November 21, 2017
The RP Group
Keynote Speakers for the 2017 Strengthening Student Success Conference

Keynote speakers for our Strengthening Student Success Conferences are leaders and visionaries in their fields who present attendees with big picture ideas and unique perspectives to help them deepen their understanding of the complexity of students' lives, the elements of learning, and institutional environments. Most importantly, our speakers inspire our community to take action and help shape their own practice and the success of students.

Meet the 2017 Strengthening Student Success Conference Keynote Speakers:


Sonia Nazario

Sonia Nazario

Sonia Nazario is an award-winning journalist whose stories have tackled some of this country’s most intractable problems -- hunger, drug addiction, immigration -- and have won some of the most prestigious journalism and book awards. Nazario is best known for "Enrique's Journey," her story of a Honduran boy’s struggle to find his mother in the U.S. Published as a series in the Los Angeles Times, "Enrique's Journey" won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 2003. It was turned into a book by Random House and became a national bestseller.

Nazario recent humanitarian efforts to get lawyers for unaccompanied migrant children led to her selection as the 2015 Don and Arvonne Fraser Human Rights Award recipient by the Advocates for Human Rights. She was also named a 2015 Champion of Children by First Focus and a 2015 Golden Door award winner by HIAS Pennsylvania. In 2016, the American Immigration Council gave her the American Heritage Award. Also in 2016, the Houston Peace & Justice Center honored her with their National Peacemaker Award.

Nazario, who grew up in Kansas and in Argentina, has written extensively about Latin America and about Latinos in the United States. She has been named among the most influential Latinos by Hispanic Business Magazine and a “trendsetter” by Hispanic Magazine. In 2012 Columbia Journalism Review named Nazario among “40 women who changed the media business in the past 40.” She began her career at the Wall Street Journal, and later joined the Los Angeles Times. 

Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley

Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley

Eloy Ortiz Oakley is best known throughout California and the nation for implementing innovative programs and policies that help students succeed in college. Oakley strongly believes that California’s emerging economies demand a workforce with quality credentials and that the state’s 114 community colleges play a pivotal role in moving California forward. Under Oakley’s leadership, the Long Beach Community College District has received numerous awards and recognitions for its efforts to improve student completion rates and for directly supporting a strong small business and entrepreneurship eco-system throughout the greater Southern California region.

Oakley was appointed as the Superintendent-President of the Long Beach Community College District (LBCCD) in 2007. While there he led one of the most diverse community colleges in the nation and provided statewide and national leadership on the issue of improving the education outcomes for historically underrepresented students. For his efforts, the James Irvine Foundation recognized him with their 2014 Leadership Award. Also in 2014, Gov. Brown appointed Oakley to the University of California Board of Regents. In this role, Oakley is using his experiences to better serve all Californians in higher education. In November of 2017, President Obama recognized him as a White House Champion of Change for his work promoting and supporting the national college promise movement.

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors appointed Eloy Ortiz Oakley as Chancellor for the California Community Colleges beginning December, 2016. Oakley himself is a community college success story. After serving four years in the U.S. Army, he enrolled at Golden West College and then transferred to the University of California, Irvine for undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Regina Stanback Stroud, Ed.D

Regina Stanback StroudDr. Regina Stanback Stroud, President of Skyline College, has been an educator in the California Community Colleges for more than thirty years. She began as a professor of nursing at (then named) Rancho Santiago College of Santa Ana. Later, Dr Stanback Stroud became the Dean of Workforce and Economic Development at Mission College in Santa Clara and the Vice President of Instruction at Skyline College in San Bruno, California. In 2010 she was appointed to be the President of Skyline College by the Board of Trustees of the San Mateo County Community College District. Her experience in policy includes a five-year tenure as a representative, Vice President, President, and Past President of the statewide Academic Senate for California Community Colleges.

Dr. Stanback Stroud is highly regarded at local, regional, state, and national levels for her knowledge, background, and perspective on student equity and diversity, education/industry collaboratives, economic empowerment and anti-poverty strategies, community workforce and economic development, and regional and state system policy implications for successful programs and services. She was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans to make recommendations on strategies and policies that help improve the financial wellbeing of young people. In honor of her work on equity and diversity, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges established the Regina Stanback-Stroud Diversity Award. The award is a statewide award that honors faculty whose work demonstrates a commitment to diversity, equity, and social justice.

Go to Past Years for a full list of speakers from previous Strengthening Student Success Conferences.