New banners link Vallejo to higher education

Like Berkeley and Davis, Vallejo is a college town — a fact that somehow this fact doesn’t register with many people.

So, a dozen new banners saying so are going up downtown.

A ceremony marking the “unveiling” of the banners along Georgia Street is planned for 10 a.m. Friday at Unity Plaza, at the corner of Georgia and Santa Clara streets, organizers said.

“As the home to three institutions of higher learning, Vallejo is an educational hub for thousands of college students,” they said. “Friday, April 17 at 10 a.m., the city of Vallejo, Touro University California, Solano Community College and California State University Maritime Academy are launching a new phase of the city’s College Town initiative, designed to celebrate this essential feature of the community.” 

Mayor Osby Davis is scheduled to join representatives from all three institutions at the event, they said. Light refreshments will follow the brief program.

“I was in San Francisco a few months ago with my chief of staff, who pointed out the university banners in the city and we looked at each other and said, ‘Why don’t we do something like this in Vallejo?’” Touro’s Western Division senior provost and CEO, Shelley Berkley said. “There are three institutions of higher learning here. Vallejo is a college town and home to the students who go to school here. So we had dinner with the mayor, shared our enthusiasm with him, met with the other universities who also seemed excited, and we moved forward with it and it comes to fruition on Friday when we unfurl them to the world.” 

Each institution has banners highlighting their programs and students, she said.

“We’re saying, we’re branding Vallejo as a college town,” Berkley said. “The city has its own banner also, tying the city with education. It’s so very cool, and I like it. It’s a good thing to be known for, that you promote education, that you’re the home of three institutions of higher learning, that we’re invested in Vallejo and Vallejo’s invested in us. Touro is proud to call Vallejo home. We’re instrumental in educating the next generation of health care providers for the state of California, and the city of Vallejo is helping to make that happen.”

It’s all part of a larger plan to improve Vallejo’s image, City Manager Dan Keen said.

“Higher education is one of the sectors identified in our economic development strategy as a strength in Vallejo,” Keen said. “In an effort to promote that identity a bit better, we worked with the colleges to come up with a banner program.”

Keen said the idea behind the banners is to “highlight to people that Vallejo is a community of higher education, too. And people forget that, though I don’t know how, with the number of students now in town.”

About a dozen of the banners, which say Vallejo is a college town, with the logos of the various institutions, will eventually be installed along Georgia Street, Keen said. They are not the only such messages to be found around town, he said.

“We have banners on Mare Island about the museum,” Keen said. “We have some by the marina, about that. They brighten things up.”

Call Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at 707-553-6824