College of the Canyons Chancellor Dianne Van Hook was honored in the hills of the Canyon Country campus Thursday as longtime residents, local district leaders and dozens of college stakeholders celebrated the new name of the campus’ main road — Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook Drive.
The Canyon Country campus wishes to honor the work, leadership and vision that has made the campus possible, said Ryan Theule, vice president of the Canyon Country campus and grants development.
“The Canyon Country Campus is proud of this new name for the prime road in front of the emerging science center and honored that it will forever be associated with Dr. Van Hook’s leadership and legacy for our campus and students,” Theule said as he described Van Hook’s commitment to the campus and community.
The main road, which is now named in honor of the chancellor, leads to the campus’ still-under-construction science center, which will house 55,000 square feet of cadaver labs, computer workspaces and other physical and biological science necessities when it’s completed in 2020.
Steve Zimmer, president of the college’s board of trustees, spoke of the bustling student activity and potential of the recently established campus when he took the podium prior to unveiling the tri-colored street sign that hid beneath a green sheet.
“This campus and this vision has been made possible by the diligent 30-year leadership of Dr. Dianne Van Hook,” Zimmer said. “The word ‘drive’ is very fitting for today’s recognition because it (represents) the determination, assiduousness and leadership of chancellor Van Hook.”
Zimmer and members of the audience recalled looking at the site and thinking it was no place for a college campus. Despite their doubts, the longest-serving community college CEO in California maintained the forethought, vision and community support to make the campus a reality, Zimmer said.
“If you can imagine it, you can design it and you can do it,” Van Hook said at the podium while she spoke about the scene of the site during its early years.
“Many of you were here 11 years ago when we were trying to get ready to open the campus,” she said, pointing out those who washed windows and stocked the bathrooms with toilet paper prior to the first day of school. “That collaborative spirit has been present the entire time we’ve been working on the campus,” and it will only continue, she said.
College officials hope to break ground on three more buildings for the east side of the valley in the next three and a half years, Van Hook said. “We hope to have five permanent buildings done in eight years’ time.”
A lot of times you get people who say no, but COC doesn’t take no for an answer, “so I want to thank you,” she added. “It’s a tremendous honor to have the Dr. Dianne (G.) Van Hook Drive. I like the fact that drive is in there, because drive is what got this campus to be where it is today, so thank you very much.”