Dec. 3, 2020 — Collectively, the four new members of the CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI) Foundation Board have decades of experience with the University, some dating back to when CSUCI was still an idea.

New board members and longtime CSUCI volunteers Cheryl Broome and retired pediatric dentist Mark Lisagor as well as Irene Pinkard, Ed.D., a 30-year resident of Ventura County and Santa Barbara financier Jonathan Wang.

The Broome family ranch is part of an 1836 Mexican land grant and a neighbor to CSUCI. The Broomes have been supporters of the University since before its inception. The John Spoor Broome Library is named for Cheryl’s father-in-law.

Cheryl was raised by educators and taught English as a Second Language (ESL) for years. She has volunteered at every level of her children’s schooling. Her volunteer work carried into CSUCI, where she trained to be a Broome library docent with a specialty in the architecture of the building. She has served on many Presidential dinner committees and is a supporter of the Santa Rosa Island Research Station with her husband, John Broome.

Cheryl is serving on the board because she sees the University as a positive force for change and knows first-hand how it has transformed entire families.

“Some of our ranch families, who have been with us 45 years, have children who are CSUCI graduates" Cheryl said. "It has been a unique privilege to watch this University grow into an outstanding place of learning. I first met many of the faculty as the academic programs were coming to life. The quality of effort and dedication to student success of the Presidents, professors, and staff have been beyond impressive.”

Lisagor returns to the board after serving from 2000 to 2006, the period of time that CSUCI went from idea to reality. Lisagor is retired from pediatric dentistry, but on Mondays you’ll find him volunteering at Food Share and for more than two months each year, he leads five regular volunteer teams to do volunteer dental work in three different countries.

Lisagor’s volunteer work in developing countries around the globe gives him a rare perspective on the power of education.

“In India and Nepal for example, their cultures are all about the power of education,” he said. “It is ingrained in families. Our clinic is in a Tibetan Buddhist boarding school. They are the most amazing kids. Some are learning three languages. In America, sometimes I think we give education lip service, but where’s the support? I believe public education deserves our support because it is the key.”

With CSUCI getting a new provost and a new interim president, Lisagor hopes the foundation board’s institutional knowledge can ease the transition.

“It’s going to be a real trying time in the middle of distance learning and the pandemic,” Lisagor said. “I see this as an exciting challenge as we support these people during the transition.”

Almost every project Pinkard takes on is rooted in her passion for education, and her belief in the power of the next generation. Prior to her service on the Oxnard City Council, Pinkard spent 10 years as a trustee on the Oxnard Union High School District board and as an administrator in the Ventura County Community College District.

Pinkard and her late husband, Bedford, have taken students on tours to visit Historically Black College and Universities for more than 30 years to expose students to various college options and in 2014, founded the Pinkard Youth Institute.

Her service on the CSUCI Foundation Board seemed like a natural fit.

“This is an extension of what I do all the time. Education is what I do, it’s my background, it’s how I spend my time,” she said.

Part of CSUCI’s intention to attract more African American students was to launch the Bedford and Dr. Irene Pinkard Multicultural Living-Learning Community, an immersion experience for students who want to learn more about the African American experience both in and out of the classroom. Pinkard believes her perspective on the board will be important to this cause.

“Attracting African American students involves letting the students know ‘You’re welcome here. I’m going to take care of you. You have an advocate when you’re here,’” Pinkard said. “It lets the student know they’re going to get an education while they’re here and we’re not going to let them fail.”

Wang, who runs his own financial management company in Santa Barbara, Bergquist Wang, LLC, is a champion for education with an eye toward undocumented students. Much of Wang’s work to educate first-generation college students was by providing scholarships through the Adsum Education Foundation, which Wang co-founded.

“We noticed that Santa Barbara County had some tremendous undocumented students not being served,” Wang said. “These students were high school valedictorians with 4.0 and even one 5.0 GPA. These students worked so hard, graduated from high school and literally cannot access the next step.”

Board member and philanthropist Christine Garvey invited Wang to CSUCI events about a year ago and Wang saw that CSUCI’s commitment to first generation students matched his own, so he is joining the CSUCI Foundation Board.

“I believe that education is a silver bullet,” Wang said. “It is what levels the playing field. It’s what pulls students, families and communities into a better world.”

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