In 1995, Hilda Zacarías was one of 75 distinguished alumni selected and honored as part of the 75th anniversary celebration at Allan Hancock College. On Tuesday, she was sworn in as the newest member of the college’s Board of Trustees.
“I remember back to 1985 when I first returned to Allan Hancock as a young mother,” Zacarías said. “Those 10 years between 1985 and 1995 were built on the foundation I received from the AHC family of counselors and teachers. To now return as a trustee is both an honor and a privilege. I like to share the story that I went from Head Start to Harvard — with an important stop at Allan Hancock College.”
Zacarías was elected to the board in November for a four-year term representing Area 1, which includes northern Santa Maria.
A self-employed tax accountant and organizational management consultant, Zacarías said she is dedicated to facilitating the inclusion of diverse community voices in public life.
She first served on the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District Board of Trustees in 1993 as the group’s youngest member. Zacarías was then elected to the Santa Maria City Council in 2006 and was the Democratic nominee to the State Assembly in 2010.
A lifelong resident of Santa Maria, Zacarías completed her general education at Allan Hancock College, graduated with an accounting degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and received a master’s degree in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School in 2006. Zacarías served as a lecturer in taxation at Cal Poly for five years, earning a Distinguished Service Award from the college.
Zacarías is a promoter of education as well as an advocate for volunteer organizations. She served as trustee emeritus of the Santa Barbara Community Foundation and is a former board member for The Fund for Santa Barbara. Zacarías is a current member of the Allan Hancock College Foundation and has served on the board of more than a dozen other nonprofit organizations.
Her goals for her term on the Hancock board mirror her pride in her status as an alumnus.
“I would love nothing more than to know that the entire northern Santa Barbara County community considers Allan Hancock College its greatest asset, a place for all of us,” she said. “As our motto states, ‘Start here, go anywhere.’ I am living proof of that principle.”
Also sworn in, for their third terms, were current board members Bernard Jones, representing area 4 in the Lompoc Valley, and Tim Bennett, representing area 2, the southeast portion of Santa Maria. Each will serve an additional four-year term.
— Sonja Oglesby is a public affairs and publications technician for Allan Hancock College.