LBCC Trustees Sworn-In

By: 
Kirt Ramirez
NEW TRUSTEE UDUAK-JOE NTUK is sworn in by Long Beach Councilman Rex Richardson as wife Tunua Thrash-Ntuk stands by.

Three members of the Long Beach Community College Board of Trustees were sworn-in during the board’s July 24 meeting.

Sunny Zia, who was first elected by the public in 2014 to represent Area 3, was sworn-in for another four-year term as trustee. She also was chosen by her trustee colleagues to become board president, a position that spans one year.

Zia was not re-elected, but rather, appointed, as no one ran against her this time around. Her name did not appear on the ballot.

Third District Councilwoman Suzie Price swore-in Zia.

Zia replaces former trustee Jeff Kellogg as board president.

“It has been an honor to have served alongside my colleagues for the past four years,” Zia said in a speech. “I hope I have brought a fresh set of eyes and unwavering desire to increase transparency, fight for our most vulnerable and underserved – such as our homeless and DACA students and work toward restoring our workforce training programs.”

Zia, a first-generation immigrant from Iran, was the first woman to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Tehran. She later earned a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from UC Irvine.

As president, Zia will preside over the Board of Trustees meetings and act as the board’s chief spokesperson, in addition to other duties.

Zia plans to focus on: “Securing and strengthening our strategic partnerships within the Long Beach business and labor communities; Expanding job training and career opportunities for our students so that they can afford to study, live and work in Long Beach; Putting our district first by creating incentives to encourage businesses and contractors to support our students and the college district.”

The only newcomer, Uduak-Joe Ntuk, was sworn-in to represent Area 1. He replaces long-time trustee Jeff Kellogg.

Ntuk is the first African-American man to serve on the LBCC Board of Trustees.

His biography on the college website says he “is the son of a Nigerian immigrant and the grandson of a naval flight deck captain stationed at the Long Beach Naval Base. A third-generation resident, he attended St. Barnabas Elementary School and St. Anthony High School before pursuing higher education at Long Beach City College.”

His education includes an AA degree in Liberal Arts from LBCC, a BS in chemical engineering from Cal State Long Beach and a Master of Science in engineering from USC.

He works for the City of Los Angeles as director of Petroleum Administration, “where he is responsible for setting energy and environmental policy as well as providing technical advice to the mayor, city council, and various city departments,” his bio states.

Ninth District Councilman Rex Richardson swore him in.

Trustee Virginia Baxter was sworn-in for another term for Area 5. No one ran against her this time and like Zia, she was appointed to the position without her name appearing on the ballot.

Baxter, a celebrated LBCC figure, was sworn-in by former LBCC Superintendent-President and former Long Beach Mayor Beverly O’Neill.

From Highland Park, Illinois, Baxter holds a BA and MA in History from Occidental College in Los Angeles and a doctorate in educational management from the University of LaVerne.

“She started her career at LBCC in 1970 by teaching U.S. History … She was appointed as LBCC’s Assistant dean of student affairs, women’s adviser in 1975. In 1983, she was asked to take over the reins of the LBCC Foundation,” her online bio states.

“At that time there were assets of $500,000, with $50,000 being raised annually. She increased the assets to over $16 million, and for the past 25 years, helped raise more than $35 million for the foundation. Last year alone, she raised almost $4 million for student scholarships, departmental grants, campus beautification and construction,” the bio reads.

“In June, 2008 the Long Beach City College Foundation completed a year and a half major fundraising campaign to raise more than $6.3 million for an endowment for scholarships to fund the Long Beach Promise, which provides a free first semester to every Long Beach area high school graduate. More than 4000 students have received the Long Beach College Promise tuition scholarships.”

Meanwhile, Area 2 Trustee Vivian Malauulu was selected to serve as the board’s vice-president, a non-sworn position.

From a poor barrio in Honduras, Malauulu came to the U.S. with her mother in 1981 and overcame many hardships. She earned a BA degree in journalism from Cal State Northridge and a master’s in educational administration from Cal State Dominguez Hills. She holds four K-14 bilingual credentials in teaching.

“Vivian acknowledges that the opportunity she was blessed with to come to this country changed the trajectory of her life. She credits her strong faith in God, her passion for education, and her tough work ethic for guiding her on the road to public service. That is why she dedicates her three careers – teaching, longshoring, and writing – to equipping students and teachers, enabling workers, and empowering the community.”

Her full bio, as well as all the trustees’ biographies appear on the college website, lbcc.edu under “about.”

kirt@beachcomber.news

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