Alumnus Appointed to State Community Colleges Board of Governors

Geoffrey L. Baum ’85, managing director of the Center on Communication Leadership at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication, has been appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to a position on the California Community Colleges Board of Governors.

The appointment, effective immediately, is subject to confirmation by the California State Senate within a year. If confirmed, Baum will serve a six-year term on the 17-member California Community Colleges Board of Governors, ending in the year 2014.

Baum served as assistant dean for USC’s Annenberg School for Communication for several years before becoming managing director. He previously was an executive producer for C-SPAN and remains on the boards of Pasadena’s Armory Center for the Arts and the Claremont McKenna College Alumni Association.

In addition to years of leadership experience at both CMC and USC, Baum has worked within the California Community Colleges system as a member and past president of the governing board of Pasadena City College.

“My experience working with the very best at CMC, including former President Jack Stark and President Pamela Gann, along with USC President Steven Sample and Annenberg School Dean Geoffrey Cowan, has given me great insight into what makes colleges and universities successful,” Baum says. “Likewise, Pasadena City College is among the state’s top community colleges in both the number of transfers to four-year colleges and universities, and in the breadth of career and technical programs offered.

“Many lessons from these institutions can be applied to the state’s community college system as a whole,” Baum says.

The biggest challenge facing Baum as a new board member, in his estimation, is helping California’s community colleges meet the challenges of the state’s fiscal crisis.

“We anticipate declining revenues while the demand for our programs (both transfer and career and technical education) continues to increase,” he says. “I seek to build growing appreciation and support for the outstanding education offered at community colleges, and deeper understanding of the value of investing in California’s workforce by adequately funding community colleges.”

Baum, who majored in economics and literature during his years at CMC, says that in his new position, “I hope to bring judgment, experience, and a strong belief in the power of education to transform lives for all students.”

Despite the new appointment’s seemingly ideal fit, Baum underwent a rigorous selection process before Gov. Schwarzenegger approved, including personal meetings with legislators and interviews with the Governor’s appointments office as well as representatives from the Secretary of Education’s office.

Baum said several colleagues and friends also wrote letters of recommendation, including Congressman David Dreier ’75, who recently won re-election to the House of Representatives from the 26th Congressional District in California.