Wednesday, September 22, 2021

In Memoriam: Scott Lay, Community College League of California President & CEO 2006-14

SACRAMENTO, CA – The Community College League of California (League) is deeply saddened by the recent passing of former League President Scott Lay. Mr. Lay was a passionate advocate, brilliant budget analyst, and sophisticated observer of California politics who served as the League’s President and CEO from 2006-2014.

According to Capitol Weekly, “Scott, who died earlier this month at his Sacramento home at the age of 48, was a tireless advocate for community colleges and fought tirelessly to make higher education affordable and accessible for all who wanted it.”

After his tenure at the League, Mr. Lay created The Nooner, reporting on state political news and Sacramento’s happenings, while also contributing to The Roundup.

The League is pleased to share the following comments from California Community College stakeholders:

“Scott Lay was a tireless advocate for community college students, and as the chief executive officer of the Community College League of California he devoted his energy and talents to advancing student success and highlighting the critical role of community colleges in our state. In Sacramento, he was instrumental to staffers like me learning to navigate and engage in our state’s democratic process. Our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends,” said Acting Chancellor Dr. Daisy Gonzales of the California Community Colleges.

“Scott Lay was a passionate advocate for California Community Colleges, an exceptional budget analyst, a tech-savvy innovator, and a sophisticated political observer. His commitment to and impact on community college policy and practice lives on,” said Dr. Larry Galizio, President and CEO of the Community College League of California.

"Scott Lay was a unique talent whose exemplary dedication to, and passion for, the California Community Colleges showed in every fiber of his being. Having worked closely with him during my two decades as the Executive Director of the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC), I was continually struck by his ability to seamlessly move between detailed discussions of Proposition 98 to revelations of the latest technological innovations to prescient observations on the relative strengths of the Giants and Dodgers. In times of economic distress—of which there were two major ones during Scott's tenure with the League—he rose above despair, assembled the brightest minds, provided take-out food, and got us working on a collective response. It's thus no coincidence that his term at the League marked the political turning point when California Community Colleges stopped being political roadkill and became courted by elected officials and candidates alike. At his core, Scott was a student who ensured that the student interests would rise above. He will be deeply missed while his legacy will live on," said League Consultant and Former FACCC Executive Director Jonathan Lightman.

“I had the pleasure of working with Scott for nearly two decades and always found him to be more knowledgeable about California Community Colleges, and the politics surrounding our system, than anyone I encountered. He was himself a community college success story and a passionate advocate for our students and colleges. Scott always had a smile on his face when he talked about our faculty, staff, and students. His leadership and advocacy for our system will be missed,” said Dr. Brice W. Harris, Chancellor Emeritus, California Community Colleges.

"Scott Lay was the driving force behind the League's efforts to increase the level of support from the Legislature and Governor's Office for California’s community colleges. His analytical skills, creative problem solving, innovative approaches to communication, and unparalleled dedication to student access and success made a difference. He never forgot his community college roots and never stopped advocating the value of our mission. It was a privilege to have worked with and learned from him through our time together at the League,” said David Viar, Superintendent/President of Glendale Community College.

"Scott Lay was a brilliant person and a great advocate for our community colleges. He was a valued partner to the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) for many years, always willing to offer advice and to help new faculty leaders better understand legislation and policy. Even after he left the community college system, his insights and commentaries remained valuable to us all. He was also quick with a joke or a wisecrack that could make the many meetings we sat through together more bearable. We will miss him as a colleague and even more as a friend," said David Morse, Former ASCCC President, and Dolores Davison, Current ASCCC President.

A scholarship in memory of Scott Lay has been established by the Orange Coast College Foundation where he was a student in the early 1990’s. Online gifts can be made at:

Donations by check to the Scott Lay Memorial Scholarship should be directed to:

Orange Coast College Foundation
Attn: Doug Bennett
2701 Fairview Road
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

For questions about the scholarship, contact Doug Bennett at or (714) 412-1939.


The Community College League of California (League) is a nonprofit public benefit corporation with a voluntary membership of the 73 community college districts in California. As the professional membership association of the California Community College districts, the League empowers California Community Colleges to transform the lives of our diverse students and strengthen communities statewide through advocacy, leadership development, district services, coalition building, and policy advancement. The vision of the League is California Community Colleges as the global model for community-based public higher education with an unparalleled commitment to access, equity and achievement. Visit our website at