Bernie Ronan, our friend and TDC co-founder, has died in Arizona after a long struggle with cancer. Bernie passed away surrounded by his family and the love of his extended community.
Bernie was tireless in his work for democracy, and every element of The Democracy Commitment network bears his imprint. He was an organizer, advocate, leader, and an eloquent spokesman for community college students. He was also a profound theorist of democratic culture, and wrote about the significance of democratic engagement in the lives of students.
Bernie had a long and distinguished career as a public servant, after an earlier career as a theologian. Earlier this year he retired as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs of the Maricopa Community Colleges. He oversaw the Division of Public Affairs, which includes government relations, marketing, media relations, communications, as well as the Center for Civic Participation. He had been an administrator in the Maricopa Colleges for the past 20 years, including serving as the Acting President of Mesa Community College in 2007-8.
Prior to his service in the Maricopa Colleges, Bernie was Deputy Director of the Arizona Department of Commerce, and Deputy Associate Superintendent of the Arizona Department of Education.
Over his career as a public administrator, he had developed numerous community partnerships and did research and analysis on public policy issues. An Arizona native, he received a doctorate in public administration from Arizona State University.
In honor of his tremendous devotion and commitment to TDC and the national civic engagement movement, we renamed our TDC student scholarship award after him last year. The “Bernie Ronan Award” will stand as a living testimony to this good and loyal friend. We will miss him deeply.