September 21, 2020
Sacramento, Calif. – issued the following statement on the addition of Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors as an ex officio member as prescribed in legislation signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom:
“It’s an honor to welcome Lt. Gov. Kounalakis to the Board of Governors. She brings extraordinary experience in both the private and public sector to the board, as well as a longtime passion for early childhood and higher education. Her statewide leadership role will enhance our ability to help students of all backgrounds build better futures for themselves and their communities.”
Eleni Kounalakis is the 50th lieutenant governor of California and the first woman elected to the position. From 2010 to 2013, Kounalakis served as President Barack Obama’s Ambassador to the Republic of Hungary. In 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom designated Kounalakis as his Representative for International Affairs and Trade Development, and as Chair of the corresponding Interagency Committee that oversees the state’s trade, investment and international relations. Kounalakis also serves on the State Lands Commission, and as a voting member of the University of California Board of Regents and the California State University Board of Trustees.
Prior to her public service, Kounalakis was president of AKT Development, where she worked for 18 years building housing for the Sacramento region’s working families. She has served as a member of California’s Commission and the California Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism. Lt. Governor Kounalakis graduated from Dartmouth College in 1989 and earned her M.B.A. from U.C. Berkeley. She is the author of “Madam Ambassador: Three Years of Diplomacy, Dinner Parties and Democracy in Budapest.”
The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed of 73 districts and 116 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. California community colleges provide career education and workforce training; guaranteed transfer to four-year universities; degree and certificate pathways; and basic skills education in English and math. As the state’s engine for social and economic mobility, the California Community Colleges supports the , a strategic plan designed to improve student success outcomes, increase transfer rates and eliminate achievement gaps. For more information, please visit the or follow us on and .