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Dr. Pamela Ralston Named New President of Santiago Canyon College


(Orange, CA)
- Following a nationwide search, the Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) Board of Trustees, last night at their regular meeting, unanimously approved the appointment of Dr. Pamela Ralston to lead Santiago Canyon College (SCC) as the new president beginning August 2, 2021.

Dr. Pamela RalstonDr. Ralston succeeds Jose F. Vargas who served as SCC's interim president since July of 2020 after former President John Hernandez accepted the position of president at Irvine Valley College.

Currently serving as Executive Vice President of Educational Programs at Santa Barbara City College, since 2018, Dr. Ralston leads the academic and student services programs for over 16,000 students. Throughout the course of a two-decade career in public higher education, Dr. Ralston has committed to working with faculty, staff and administrators to improve student success and student equity through the creation and support of strong, innovative programs and a rewarding working environment.

Dr. Ralston's selection was led by a multi-member search committee that worked diligently to screen and interview all candidates applying from across the country. The committee considered highly accomplished leaders from a diverse pool of qualified candidates. "I'm grateful to the students, faculty and community members who served on the SCC Selection Committee, Chancellor Martinez and the RSCCD Board of Trustees for [their] confidence in me to fill this important position," expressed Dr. Ralston. "This will be a wonderful journey for us as we enter a new period in our college's history, post COVID, and with a new direction towards serving our students and the community."

Prior to joining Santa Barbara City College, Dr. Ralston served as Vice President for Student Learning at College of the Desert, in Palm Desert, California, overseeing the academic affairs of the college. Before that role, she enjoyed eight years as Dean of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo. Previous to her experience in administration, Dr. Ralston was faculty member and division chair of English and Written Communications at Tacoma Community College, where she taught composition, American Ethnic Literature and developmental studies in writing and reading.

Dr. Ralston has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Oregon and holds master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Washington in Comparative Literature. She has earned excellence in teaching awards from both Tacoma Community College and the University of Washington, and was honored with a Fulbright fellowship for doctoral research at the Royal Library and University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

"Dr. Ralston has a great breadth and depth of experience in higher education that includes teaching, learning, development of academic and career technical education programs, creation of career pathways, and fostering of student success,” said RSCCD Chancellor Marvin Martinez. “Her energy and vision support the great efforts that her predecessors have founded and she will lead Santiago Canyon College to new and exciting directions."

As the new face and leader of SCC, Dr. Ralston is welcomed by constituents in the college's service area to help the beloved campus emerge from the pandemic as a stronger institution with continued success in serving our community.​

For more information about Santiago Canyon College, please visit

About Rancho Santiago Community College District
Located in the heart of Orange County, Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) is home to one of the state’s oldest community colleges, Santa Ana College, and also one of its newest, Santiago Canyon College. RSCCD serves a population of more than 700,000 residents in the communities of Anaheim Hills, Orange, Santa Ana, Villa Park and portions of Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove and Tustin. Encompassing 24 percent of Orange County’s total area (193 square miles), RSCCD maintains eight facilities that include Santa Ana College, Santiago Canyon College, the Centennial and Orange Continuing Education Centers, the Digital Media Center, Orange County Regional Fire Training Center, Orange County Sheriff's Regional Training Academy, and the District operations center. In 2019, RSCCD served over 50,000 students enrolled at both SAC and SCC sites.

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Phone: (714) 480-7500