COC chancellor named Pacesetter of the Year for Region 6

Dr. Dianne Van Hook with NCMPR District 6 Director Juan Gutierrez following her recognition as the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations' Pacesetter of the Year for Region 6 in September 2106. Photo Courtesy of College of the Canyons

Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook, College of the Canyons’ chancellor, was named the Pacesetter of the Year for Region 6 by the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR).

The Pacesetter award recognizes a community college president or CEO who has demonstrated leadership and support in the area of college marketing and public relations, according to NCMPR’s website.  It is presented annually in each of NCMPR’s seven districts.

Van Hook received the award last week at NCMPR’s conference held in San Diego.

“I am truly honored to accept the Pacesetter of the Year award,” said Van Hook in a press release. “The quality of marketing, advertising and communications directly impacts access for our students, the opportunities created for our students and the development of partnerships.”

Van Hook became he CEO of the Santa Clarita Community College District July 1, 1988 at 37 years old.  Twenty-eight years later, Van Hook is the longest serving community college CEO in California.

Juan Gutierrez, NCMPR District 6 director, said Van Hook has demonstrated an understanding of college marketing and public relations by making COC stand out and grow during her time as CEO.

“Dr. Van Hook throughout the years has been an advocate for community college, has been at the forefront for outreach for her district… and has really supported the marketing and public relations for College of the Canyons,” he said.

Gutierrez said he hopes COC’s promotion of college activities and Van Hook’s strategy acts as a model for community colleges statewide.

Eric Harnish, COC’s vice president of public information, advocacy and external relations, said the award is well-deserved for Van Hook who has been at the forefront of the college and responsible for COC’s community partnerships and growth.

“I think it’s a testament to her leadership and longevity that the college has become what it has become,” Harnish said.  “COC is this community’s college and that’s a credit to her leadership and the stability of leadership.”

Under Van Hook’s leadership, COC increased its facilities square footage by five times on its two campuses.

It also founded the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, named in her honor, in 2009 and established the Institute for Culinary Education in 2015.

Gutierrez said Van Hook is not only a leader in college marketing and communications, but also an advocate for community colleges at the legislative level.

“I’ve been in the community college system for 15 years now and one of the constants throughout my careers is CEOs like Dr. Van Hook advocating for community colleges up in Sacramento or Washington, D.C.,” he said.  “I’ve known of her for a while now and I really happy she received the award this year.”

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