Mt. San Antonio College Student Services Vice President Dr. Audrey Yamagata-Noji was honored recently with the Dr. John W. Rice Diversity and Equity Award in Sacramento. Yamagata-Noji was named for the award for establishing numerous programs that provide mentorship and tutoring services for underrepresented students.
She has been a champion of diversity and equity programs at Mt. SAC that support student success, including the college’s Bridge Program for first-time college students, the Arise Program for Asian and Pacific Islander students, and the Aspire Program for African-American students.
The award was established to honor community college staff, districts, colleges and programs that have made the greatest contribution toward diversity and equity at community colleges.
“Dr. John W. Rice wanted all community college students to be treated equally, fairly, and with respect. All he wanted was for everyone to have an equal chance at an education, and the winners of the award today want the same thing,” said California Community Colleges Board of Governors President and Mt. SAC Trustee Dr. Manuel Baca.
The award is named after the former California Community Colleges Board of Governors member and the father of former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
“For my father, being a part of the community college system was not just a profession, but it was a passion and indeed a mission and a calling,” said former the U.S. Secretary of State, who delivered the keynote address at the 14th annual awards ceremony. “He recognized that education is not a right, it’s a privilege and that someone stood up for him and that he must stand up for others.”
Yamagata-Noji has served as Student Services Vice President at Mt. SAC since 1996. A resident of Santa Ana, she has also served on the Santa Ana Unified School District Board of Education for over 30 years and is currently serving as board president.