Constance Carroll waves from a car at a parade

SDCCD Chancellor Constance M. Carroll.

Sept. 18 gala will honor retiring chancellor and benefit San Diego Promise

July 26, 2021 | San Diego Community College District

The San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) will be holding a gala on Saturday, September 18, 2021 honoring the legacy of Chancellor Emerita Constance M. Carroll that will also serve as a major fundraiser for the tuition-free San Diego Promise. The sold-out event, which is being held outside at the San Diego Mission Bay Resort (1775 E Mission Bay Drive, 92109), begins at 5:30 p.m.

Chancellor Carroll retired on July 1, 2021 after serving for 17 years as the chief executive officer at the district. The gala, titled “A Legacy of Achievement: A Tribute to Chancellor Emerita Constance M. Carroll, Ph.D. Benefiting the San Diego Promise,” and affiliated fundraising efforts have already raised nearly $700,000 to benefit students at San Diego City, Mesa, and Miramar colleges.

The SDCCD’s longest-serving Chancellor, Dr. Carroll made a profound impact on the district and its students. Prior to her appointment as Chancellor in 2004, Dr. Carroll served as president of San Diego Mesa College for 11 years. Among many initiatives and projects undertaken during her time as Chancellor, Dr. Carroll was the driving force behind the San Diego Promise. Launched as a pilot project in the fall of 2016 with an initial cohort of 186 students and has since expanded to become one of the largest free-tuition programs in California. In total, over 8,000 students have benefited from the program with the majority having come from low-income and traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic communities.

Frequently referred to as “The People’s Chancellor,” Dr. Carroll also oversaw the transformation of San Diego City, Mesa, and Miramar colleges and the San Diego College of Continuing Education through the voter-approved, $1.555-billion, Propositions S and N bond measures passed in 2002 and 2006 respectively; she co-chaired the advocacy campaign for Senate Bill 850, which established the California Community College Baccalaureate Program; she was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve on the National Council on the Humanities; and she supported a burgeoning Honors Program that has played a critical role in students earning a record-breaking number of degrees and certificates and transferring to some of the top universities in the nation.

Speakers at the September 18 gala will include Martha Kanter, CEO of the national College Promise initiative; University of San Diego President James Harris, Larry Galizio, President & CEO of the Community College League of California; Mark Stuart, President & CEO of The San Diego Foundation; Shirley Weber, California Secretary of State; Mesa College President Pamela T. Luster, and SDCCD Board President Maria Nieto Senour. NBC 7 San Diego Reporter/Anchor Artie Ojeda, a City College alum, will serve as master of ceremonies. Kanter is serving as co-chair of the event’s honorary committee along with Jerry Sanders, President and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. 

In addition, the event will feature performances by the San Diego Mesa College Jazz Musicians, the San Diego Mesa College Choir, and a special performance of Si, mi, chiamono Mimi by opera singer Candace Bogan.

For additional information and to make a donation to the San Diego Promise in Dr. Carroll’s name, visit

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