SBCCD Names Building in Memory of Lois Carson
Around Campus, In the Community
Around Campus, In the Community
The San Bernardino Community College District on November 4 unveiled the new name of the Campus Center at San Bernardino Valley College. The Lois Carson Campus Center honors the legacy of the first person of color elected to the SBCCD Board of Trustees, where she served for 24 years. Carson was the executive director of Community Action Partnership of Riverside County for 30 years and passed away in 2021, a few days after her 90th birthday.
“Mrs. Carson was a community giant. She was an angel among us for all the good she did for people,” said SBCCD Chancellor Diana Z. Rodriguez. “We recognized the debt we owed her for her lifetime of selfless service to our students and community. This building dedication could not have happened without the leadership and unanimous support of our Board of Trustees.”
“I hope that when students see her name on this building, it will cause them to do a Google search or ask themselves, ‘Who is Lois Carson?’” said SBCCD Trustee Joseph R. Williams, “What I hope they gain from it is the understanding of the spirit of service and the charge to get involved in San Bernardino and our region.”
Dr. Scott Thayer, Interim President of San Bernardino Valley College, described Carson as a “Distinguished alumna, trailblazer, mentor, and advocate for so many of us.”
Thayer presented a video tribute featuring some of Carson’s mentees, including former Assemblymember Wilmer Amina Carter, SBCCD Trustee Joseph R. Williams, former SBCCD Trustee Beverly Powell, San Bernardino City Unified School District Board Member Danny Tillman, and CSUSB Ombuds Officer Twillea Evans-Carthen. Carson’s son and granddaughter, John Carson and Taylor Williams, respectively, were also on hand.
“I saw her as someone I wanted to be like when I grew up. I wanted to be just like her,” said Carter, who went on to serve in the state Assembly from 2006 to 2012.
One of Carson’s mentees, Evans-Carthen, reminisced, “On her 90th birthday, [Lois Carson] didn’t want presents for herself. She raised funds for San Bernardino Valley College. She was still giving back to better the lives of youth here.”
At the ceremony, SBVC Foundation Board President Dexter Thomas and Patricia Nickols-Butler, chief executive officer of Community Action Partnership of San Bernardino County, encouraged attendees to continue Carson’s legacy by donating to the Lois J. Carson scholarship at www.SBVCFoundation.org/Donations.
Policymakers praised Carson’s public service at the event, including Assembly Majority Leader Eloise Gomez Reyes, San Bernardino County Supervisor Joe Baca, Jr., San Bernardino City Councilmember Damon Alexander, and Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh’s district representative Michael Glauser.
In 1973, Lois Carson was the first person of color to be elected to the San Bernardino Community College District, where she served for 24 years, including seven on the national board of the Association of Community College Trustees, which once selected her top trustee in the United States. She is one of the longest-serving trustees to date.
Carson advocated for childcare, transfer centers, the Extended Opportunity Program and Services initiative, and welfare reform during her trusteeship. She was a member of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) and a philanthropic supporter of student scholarships as a board member emeritus of the San Bernardino Valley College Foundation.
Carson graduated from San Bernardino Valley College in 1965 and was part of Cal State San Bernardino’s first graduating class in 1967. She worked as a teacher and director of UC Riverside’s Upward Bound, helping low-income high school students prepare for higher education. She was a deputy director of San Bernardino County’s Community Action Partnership, then served as executive director of the Community Action Partnership of Riverside County for 30 years. Additionally, Carson founded the San Bernardino County Status of Women Commission, the Inland Empire section of the National Council of Negro Women, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Knights of Peter Claver, and Black Future Leaders.
Carson was inducted into the SBVC Hall of Fame in 1997 to recognize her public service in the Inland Empire. She passed away on July 14, 2021, just days after celebrating her 90th birthday.