The statewide Chancellor's Circle luncheon included CEOs of community colleges in San Diego and Riverside counties, community college foundation leaders and board members, and staff from the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.
The lunch, as described by Grossmont College President Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh, was a victory tour of sorts for the 113- college system's "advocate in chief."
California's community colleges have gone through dramatic changes and improvements since Harris took over as chancellor in November 2012. They include:
-- student success efforts to help students plan and complete the classes they need to fulfill their educational goals.
-- an Associate Degree for Transfer program that guarantees students who fulfill requirements a transfer to a California State University school.
-- a pilot program allowing 15 community colleges in the state to offer baccalaureate degrees in certain high-demand fields.
"The system has some amazing success stories in the past three years," Harris said.
Harris said California community colleges have been quietly and effectively innovative, seeking ways to prepare students for the workforce that are being emulated by other college systems across the country.
"In California community colleges lies the hope of America's competitiveness," he said.