Santa Rosa Junior College officially installed Frank Chong as the campus's new president Thursday — making him only the fifth person to hold the title in the school's 94-year history.
On the job since January, Chong used Thursday's annual luncheon and "President's Address to the Community" to lay out his vision for the college.
"We are in the business of being dream makers," he said during his 16-minute address.
But Chong acknowledged the "public disinvestment in public education," saying funding cuts have stripped course offerings that will force the school to find new ways to provide services.
"We need to be entreprenurial and be more creative," he said. "We have been lucky in Sonoma County, the JC has enjoyed a tremendous amount of philanthropy."
He also vowed to bring back "Day Under the Oaks," an annual community event that has been suspended since 2009.
Chong was introduced to the luncheon crowd in Haehl Pavilion by longtime colleague Evan Dobelle, president of Westfield State College in Massachusetts.
"Frank Chong will call your students to leadership," he said. "He won't ever allow this institution to behave irresponsibly."
"Frank Chong's world is not one where values are marginalized," he said. "He'll never say what he needs to say just to get to tomorrow."
"You selected a leader," he said.
The President's Medallion, an honor bestowed every year to supporters of the college, was given to the Dutton family, longtime backers of the schools' agriculture program.
"Thank you for this great honor on behalf of my family, my children and grandchildren," said Gail Dutton, a former student at the JC.