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Sitting Down with the Chancellor: Fullerton College’s Ned Doffoney brings a wealth of experience and talent

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by Chris Haire, Fullerton College Hornet

neddoffoneyThe new chancellor of the North Orange County Community College District, Ned Doffoney, stood before an attentive crowd in the Historic Library Courtyard for his welcome reception, Sept. 18.

As someone who grew up in the segregated South, during a time when it was impossible to think an African-American could rise to the top of his profession, Doffoney represents what is possible with the power of education.

Now, in the middle years of his life, he has overcome racial barriers and sits atop one of the most well regarded community college districts in the state.

Yet, after 36 years engulfed in the field of education, Doffoney still finds joy in the opportunity to better the lives of younger generations.

“Undaunted by the limitations, I seek to provide opportunities for all of our constituents,” Doffoney said.

The chancellor’s admiration of education began at an early age. He grew up in Southern Louisiana, where education was not expected for an African-American. In 1968, he graduated as valedictorian from a segregated high school.

From there he was allowed to attend the University of Southwestern Louisiana, which, according to Doffoney, had an admittance of less than 5 percent African-American.

His time at the university provided emotional challenges for him and his fellow African-American student body.

“It wasn’t a great distance physically, it was a great distance psychologically,” Doffoney said.

The same university that provided him with an opportunity to further his education, was also the institution which gave him his start in the profession.

When Doffoney graduated in 1972, with a bachelor’s degree in economics and mathematics, the university was forced to integrate its faculty and staff.

Doffoney, who is one of eight children, became one of the first African-American administrators for the USL when he accepted the job of assistant director of Financial Aid.

Around 1982, the first major change in his career occurred.

He moved to Southern California and began working at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College. While there, a man named Thomas Stevens, school president at the time, offered him two positions for the price of one, literally.

Stevens offered Doffoney the jobs of director of Financial Aid and dean of Admissions and Records, without a pay increase.

According to Doffoney, Stevens was looking to broaden his understanding of how the educational system works.

In 1998, Doffoney enjoyed a cup of coffee with a mentor from his hometown. During the meeting, his mentor offered him something that would completely change the path he had been on. It was an opportunity that would take him away from his gated community in South Orange County, and send him back to the bayous of Southern Louisiana.

At the meeting, his mentor asked for his help in creating a community college in Southern Louisiana.

At first, Doffoney initially balked at the idea, but he was quickly persuaded otherwise.

The process started turbulently, as the first classes were held only six months after the initial start-up.

A former Lieutenant Governor gave Doffoney a Louisiana proverb, which helped lead him the rest of the way: first you dig a hole, somebody will help you fill it.

This led to a mentality that was essential to finishing the school.

After roughly four years, the South Louisiana Community College was fully functional.
During that same time period, Doffoney and his family began looking to return to California.

He took a job as Fresno City College president, which he occupied for the six years prior to accepting the position of district chancellor.

“Doffoney embodies the ideal of what you can achieve through education,” said Ginna Bearden, director of the TRIO educational opportunity outreach programs at Fullerton College. “He consistently demonstrates his commitment to the significant role of education in promoting human potential.”

After 36 years in education, Doffoney has now come to the NOCCCD in hopes of spreading the promise of human potential.

“This area really need the services [of the district] and people need to know our services are available,” Doffoney said.

Despite being in the district for one semester, Doffoney already has the support of the administrators around him.

“He is a wonderful gift to the district. He will bring the district to a new level,” said Kathleen Hodge, FC president.

Doffoney is expected to help bring the district to new heights.

If the chancellor is going to accomplish this lofty goal, he should keep in mind the old Louisiana proverb: first dig a hole, somebody will help you fill it.


Written by Symphony

November 29, 2008 at 8:07 am

One Response

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  1. I ‘d like 2 know my people.

    Ralph D. Doffoney 111

    January 25, 2011 at 1:08 am

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