Monday, November 2, 2020

League Names Three Prestigious 2020 California Community College Distinguished Alumni at Annual Convention

SACRAMENTO, CA – This year, the Community College League of California (League) honors three remarkable California Community College (CCC) alumni at the 2020 Annual Convention held virtually November 17-20. Award recipients are California Community College alumni who are accomplished professionals and contributing citizens of their communities. “Since 1964, the League has celebrated the educational and professional accomplishments of our alumni at the League’s Annual Convention. On our 30th anniversary, we are proud of the three exceptional alumni chosen as this year’s 2020 California Community College Distinguished Alumni Award recipients. Each has an inspiring story and represents the importance of California Community Colleges as affordable, quality higher education and career opportunities for all Californians,” said Dr. Larry Galizio, President & CEO, Community College League of California.

The prestigious 2020 California Community College Distinguished Alumni Awardees are the following:

Luz Garcia, Hartnell College
Physician Assistant, Gonzalez Medical Center

As founder of Gonzales Medical Center and a successful physician assistant, Luz Garcia is a highly respected California Community College graduate for her contributions to healthcare in the Salinas Valley. Ms. Garcia’s career was fueled by an unstoppable drive to bring healthcare to underserved communities. In 2012, one in five people in Garcia’s town had no regular physician or clinic for preventive and routine care, and only one practicing doctor. Pursuing a childhood dream, Garcia played a big role in changing all of that. Luz was not born into a world that would lead to college and a profession. Her family worked as seasonal farmworkers, and despite family burdens, she graduated from Hartnell College in 2004. After earning her degree, Ms. Garcia’s dream of medical school was shattered, but the one local doctor in town helped train her and she landed a job at a community clinic. For a decade, the clinic has served everyone seeking medical care, including onsite rehabilitation for farmworkers. Seeing the needs at the clinic and knowing how people traveled long distances for medical care, she pulled together resources to open the Gonzales Medical Center. Luz has helped Monterey County’s most underserved residents with her healing touch and by never giving up. She continues to advocate for local students to become medical professionals, just like she did, against all odds. Today, her town is one of a select few nationwide to win the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize.

William A. Young, El Camino College
President and Founder, The Young Center for Academic and Cultural Enrichment

William A. Young has been an actor since age 13 and now has over 100 starring roles in television, stage, and film productions. He recently starred in the medical drama “Code Black” as Dr. Guthrie. William is the founder and president of the non-profit The Young Center for Academic and Cultural Enrichment, which serves the needs of low to moderate-income households in underserved communities in California. Mr. Young attended El Camino College from 1975-77 and earned an associate degree in speech communication. He transferred to USC on a full scholarship, where he was twice ranked the No. 1 college speaker in the nation. Young earned a bachelor's degree in rhetoric and debate, then continued his education at California State University, Los Angeles, where he earned a master's degree in sociolinguistics. He is the recipient of the NAACP Outstanding Social Achievement Award and was deemed a "Goodwill Ambassador" by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, among other awards. Young is respected in the arts and entertainment community for his professional accomplishments and his passion for education. As a former co-chair of the Directors Guild of America's African American Steering Committee, he helped negotiate the landmark 2000 Network Agreement to help diversify the ranks of actors, writers, directors, and producers in Hollywood. He has also inspired countless lives and created opportunities for hundreds of underserved youth to gain acceptance at colleges and universities nationwide through his award-winning nonprofit, the Young Center for Academic & Cultural Enrichment.

George Ow, Monterey Peninsula College
CEO, Ow Family Properties

George Ow Jr. is a prominent real estate developer and philanthropist in Santa Cruz. The son of Chinese immigrants, his family has developed shopping centers and business ventures throughout the Santa Cruz region. He is best known for his dedication to local education institutions and as a supporter of the arts and culture. In 1963 he graduated from Monterey Peninsula College, transferred to San Francisco State, and eventually earning his MBA from UCLA. In 1989, he and his family established the American Dream Scholarship Program at Cabrillo College, providing $500 grants to first-generation college students. For over 30 years now, Ow Family contributions to the Cabrillo Foundation total more than $800,000. Each year, roughly 100 Cabrillo students are recipients of American Dream Scholarships from the Ow family. He has also served as a major benefactor for UC Santa Cruz students and has served on the Cabrillo College Foundation Board, along with his son and daughter in law. As a graduate of the community college system, his support for its students and programs is substantial and heart-felt. In 2019, Cabrillo College awarded Mr. Ow an honorary degree for all of his work in support of the community and its local students.

The Annual Convention, now offered as a fully online virtual event, celebrates the League’s 30th Anniversary by offering free admission to all attendees. As the state's premier professional development conference for California community college leadership, this year’s Annual Convention serves as an opportunity for community college CEOs, trustees, faculty, staff, administrators, and partners from across the system to focus on addressing current issues impacting California Community Colleges.

To register and for more information about the 2020 Annual Convention, visit


The Community College League of California (League), whose vision is Quality Public Community Colleges for All Californians, is a nonprofit public benefit corporation with a voluntary membership of the 73 local community college districts in California. The League promotes student access and success by strengthening colleges through advocacy, policy development, leadership development, and district services. Visit our website at