Dr. Denise Richardson, Berkeley City College, President

President’s Welcome

Welcome to Berkeley City College, and congratulations on taking this important step toward realizing your academic and career goals. As the President, I stand with our faculty, administrators, and classified professionals to support you at every step of your higher education journey. With over 100 degrees and programs, Berkeley City College has many academic and professional pathways for you to explore. Whether you are a dual enrolled high school student, a student working to transfer to a four-year university, a working student earning a certificate to advance professionally, or still deciding your goals, our counselors and career specialists are here to assist you.

Not only does Berkeley City College offer you a first-class educational experience, you will also find dozens of clubs and activities to expand your exposure and growth in the arts, political inquiry, and student participatory governance. Other special programs include Phi Theta Kappa, the Society of Scholars learning communities, the Undocumented Community Resource Center, Veterans resources, Basic Needs, and Extended Opportunities Programs and Services. These are just a few of the spaces where you can discover community at BCC.

One of the things I am most proud of at Berkeley City College is our strong stance to support social justice, equity and inclusion. College stakeholders have adopted bold and audacious goals to confront barriers to student success, and threats to community diversity. Subsequently, institutional planning now includes strategies to interrupt generational poverty, and to mitigate the impact of gentrification. The College is also committed to providing high quality instruction that is culturally relevant, and services that support equitable learning experiences for our wonderfully diverse student population.

After living in the Bay Area and working in the Peralta Community College District for more than 20 years, helping students transform their lives has become a deeply personal and professional life pursuit. It is an honor to serve as the President of Berkeley City College, and I look forward to supporting your success.


Denise Richardson, Ed.D.
Berkeley City College, President


Please join us in welcoming President Dr. Denise Richardson, who began her role at Berkeley City College on July 1, 2023. Dr. Richardson is an experienced community college educator, dedicated to maximizing student success and institutional effectiveness in support of the diverse and extraordinary students of the Peralta Community College District. Dr. Richardson comes to Berkeley City College from Merritt College, where she has served as Vice President of Instruction since March 2020. In addition to working collaboratively with her administrative team to successfully navigate an ever-emerging educational climate, she has been a highly responsible steward of fiscal resources and a resolute advocate for Diversity, equity and inclusion.

As the College Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO), Dr. Richardson was integral to the development of Merritt’s 2020 Institutional Self-Evaluation Report (ISER). Merritt’s ISER was distinguished by the fact that it received no recommendations from the ACCJC. Dr. Richardson also led the effort to secure the $500,000 Omnibus Appropriations grant for the College Cybersecurity Program in 2022. Dr. Richardson recognizes that classified professionals are the lifeblood of community college success, so she is particularly proud of the work that she has done with Merritt’s classified senate leadership to secure an IEPI grant that will support classified professional development opportunities and career advancement pathways over the next three years.

Dr. Richardson is the consummate example of Peralta growing its own, as she began her career at PCCD in January 2001 through participation in the Faculty Diversity Internship Program. In the fall of 2001, she began teaching political science part-time before being hired as a full-time political science professor at Laney College in the fall of 2004. Denise enthusiastically engaged her students in critical inquiry, with a focus on equity and empowerment. During her faculty career she held several key leadership positions, including Vice President and President of the Laney Faculty Senate. In recognition of her accomplishments and contributions, Denise received the Laney Faculty of the Year Award in 2012.

In August of 2013, Dr. Richardson began her administrative career as the Dean of Math and Sciences at Laney College, a position she held until March 2020. In addition to her role as dean, Denise was the Accreditation Liaison Officer for Laney College for two years, and successfully led the report-writing efforts for two follow-up reports and the 2018 Midterm Report.

Dr. Richardson earned her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at Mills College in Oakland, CA, and wrote a narrative dissertation that examined success strategies of Black American males who completed STEM degree programs at California Bay Area community colleges. She also holds a M.A. Degree in Educational Leadership from

Mills, a M.A. Degree in Political Science from San Francisco State University, and B.A. and A.S. Degrees in Communication from Oakwood University in Huntsville, AL.

Dr. Richardson is committed to leading with integrity, and she considers it a profound privilege and honor to work in a profession that so closely aligns with her passion for equity and social justice.