News Release

Santa Ana College President Erlinda J. Martinez to Retire in June 2016

​(Santa Ana, CA)—Erlinda J. Martinez, Ed.D., president of Santa Ana College since March 2005, has announced her plans to retire as of June 30, 2016.

“President Martinez has made an indelible impact on the community in her 11 years at the helm of Santa Ana College,” said Raúl Rodríguez, Ph.D., chancellor of Rancho Santiago Community College District. “Her dedication to providing access to a college degree in every home in Santa Ana has been tireless.”

During her tenure as president of SAC, campus instructional facilities expanded thanks to the passage of Measure E, a $337 million general obligation bond. Since 2002, the following new college instructional facilities were constructed:

    • The 28,000-square-foot Digital Media Center, located at 1300 S. Bristol St., with instructional space for TV/video production, digital media arts, and digital music programs
    • An 18,200-square-foot Early Childhood Education Center accommodating 178 infants, toddlers, and preschool children, as well as the college’s human development program
    • A 22,000-square-foot Exercise Science Complex with locker rooms, classrooms, offices, conference rooms and equipment storage and distribution areas
    • A 53,000-square-foot Orange County Sheriff’s Regional Training Academy, located in Tustin, offering training for new recruits and existing law enforcement officers through SAC’s criminal justice program
    • A 16-room, 24,000-square-foot instructional facility
    • A new soccer field, softball field, concession stand and dugout
    • A Maintenance and Operations Building

In 2012, with her leadership, the college succeeded in the passage of Measure Q, a $198 million general obligation bond to finance additional construction, renovation, and improvement projects at SAC. These include:

    • Central Plant and Infrastructure Project
    • Renovation of Dunlap Hall
    • Construction of a new Johnson Student Center
    • Construction of a new Science Center
    • Parking Lot at 17th and Bristol Streets

Since 2005, SAC has received multiple recognitions on the national, regional and local level. Most recently, SAC was named one of the top community colleges in the nation by The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education. SAC was ranked sixth in student enrollment and tenth in the number of associate degrees granted in the magazine’s “Top 25 Community Colleges for Hispanics.” In 2015, Community College Week, ranked SAC 10th among the top 100 associate degree producers for Hispanic students in the nation making it the state’s third highest producer of Hispanic graduates. In addition, SAC was ranked 20th among the top 100 associate degree producers for total minority nationwide, and 26th for Asian American students. SAC is the only Orange County community college ranked among the top 20 associate degree producers for minorities in all disciplines. Today, the college has an enrollment each semester of over 32,000 students in its credit and non-credit programs.

Other notable accomplishments during Martinez’s presidency include:

    • The Centennial Scholarship Campaign, commemorating the college’s 100th birthday, has raised over $1 million surpassing the goal of creating over 100 additional annual student scholarships.
    • SAC has been selected as one of 15 community colleges to participate in a landmark program allowing them to offer bachelor’s degrees. Beginning in fall 2017, the college will offer classes towards a baccalaureate degree in occupational studies.
    • SAC was selected as one of 24 community colleges statewide to participate in the Community Colleges Pathway to Law School initiative providing students a smoother pathway to six of California’s top law schools.
    • Now in its sixth year, Santa Ana ¡Adelante! guarantees that all Santa Ana Unified School District students who graduate from high school, enroll at SAC, and complete all academic requirements and application paperwork will be admitted as transfer students to CSUF or to UCI.
    • Last year, Santa Ana College was awarded $5 million in Awards for Innovation in Higher Education Funds. SAC is one of 14 institutions of higher education to receive these funds from the California Department of Finance. The grant will help fund the Santa Ana Partnership.
    • In fall 2015, SAC’s student newspaper, el Don and the college’s student website both won Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) National Pacemaker Awards. SAC’s student media program is the only community college in the United States to win Pacemaker honors in both the print and online categories.

Prior to being named president of Santa Ana College, Martinez served as vice president for student services/assistant superintendent for Cerritos College in Norwalk. For a decade, she was instrumental in developing Cerritos College’s master plan and supporting the passage of a general obligation bond measure. Under her leadership, the college created a new amphitheater and a streamlined registration process.

Before joining Cerritos College, Martinez was the administrative dean and dean of students for Mission College in Santa Clara for nine years. Prior to this, she served as director of student affairs for El Camino College in Torrance. She began her career as a classified staff member at Compton College.

She earned a doctorate in education from the University of Southern California, a master’s degree in counselor education from California State University, Los Angeles, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California at Riverside.

Among her professional activities are appointments to the Executive Board of NACCTEP (National Association of Community College Teacher Education Programs), the Santa Ana Workforce Investment Board, the KidWorks Board of Directors, as well as a member and mentor for the Association of California Community College Administrators. Martinez is also a member of the Santa Ana College chapter of the Latina Leadership Network.

She has been recognized for her professional and civic contributions by the National Council on Student Development, the National Hispanic Business Women’s Association, the Greater Lakewood Chamber of Commerce and the City of Santa Ana. She has served as a member of the Board of Governors for City University of Seattle in Washington and the Advisory Committee for the Statewide Economic and Workforce Development. Recently she participated in the US Department of Education’s Evidence – Action – Innovation: A College Completion Symposium in Washington DC. She was one of 26 practitioners, selected nationally, and one of two community college executives to participate in this White House appointed endeavor. Most recently, she was recognized by the Hispanic Education Endowment Fund (HEEF) for the Visionary Leadership Award and just this month at the State Capital on the Assembly Floor as the 69th District Woman of the Year, nominated by Assemblymember Tom Daly.

“Though I have served as president of Santa Ana College since 2005, I am still in awe of the student-focused efforts that are evident throughout every facet of the campus. It has been an honor to serve our students and the community while working side by side with such a dedicated, caring faculty and staff, “ said Martinez. “It is a thrill to see community members who have received their training and education from Santa Ana College and have achieved greatness in fields including business, science, technology, public service, athletics and entertainment. It has been a privilege welcoming the community to the college during its centennial year and I am looking forward to its 100th commencement this June. There is no doubt that Santa Ana College has a celebrated past and a boundless future.”

Rancho Santiago Community College District has launched a national search to fill the position of president at Santa Ana College. For more information, visit

About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC), which turned 100 years old in 2015, serves about 18,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, provides invaluable workforce training, and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 11,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the college is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and other medical personnel. SAC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District. Visit to learn more. For information about Santa Ana College’s Centennial, please visit

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Contact: Judy Iannaccone

Phone: (714) 480-7503