We are proud to present the presidents of the CSU5, each of whom has demonstrated the highest levels of commitment to students, academic excellence and regional development.
Dr. Soraya M. Coley
President, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Dr. Soraya M. Coley has served as president of Cal Poly Pomona since January 1, 2015. She is the first female president of the university.
Ph.D., social planning and policy, Bryn Mawr College, 1981
M.A., social planning and social research, Bryn Mawr College, 1974
B.A., sociology, The Lincoln University
California State University
- California State Polytechnic University, Pomona: President (2015-present)
- California State University, Bakersfield: Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs (2005-14); Interim Vice President for University Advancement (2011-12)
- California State University, Fullerton: Dean, College of Human Development and Community Service (1996-2001); Administrative Fellow (1994-96); Department Chair, Human Services Department (1991-93); Professor of Human Services
National Center for Substance Abuse and Child Welfare/Children and Family Futures
- Senior Research Fellow (2004-05)
Alliant International University
- Systemwide Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs (2001-03)
Jane Close Conoley
President, California State University, Long Beach
Jane Close Conoley, Ph.D. was selected by the CSU Board of Trustees in January 2014 as the newest president of California State University, Long Beach and officially took office on July 15. Conoley is the first woman to be appointed president of CSULB and the seventh president overall in the 65-year history of the campus.
Immediately prior to coming to CSULB, Conoley served as dean of the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). She also served from November 2012 to August 2013 as the interim Chancellor of UC Riverside.
Since 2006, along with serving as dean, Conoley was a professor of counseling, clinical and school psychology. Prior to her service at UCSB, she served as dean and professor of educational psychology at Texas A&M University (1996-2005) and associate dean for research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Teachers College (1989-94). In addition, she held faculty positions at Texas Woman’s University and Syracuse University.
Conoley earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of New Rochelle and a Ph.D. in school psychology from the University of Texas at Austin.
Conoley is the author or editor of 21 books and more than 100 chapters, refereed journal articles and technical reports. Her areas of primary interest are interventions with children with disabilities—especially serious emotional disturbance and aggressive children and youth—and family intervention. Her most recent work investigates the application of the science of positive psychology to educational settings.
President, California State University, Los Angeles
California State University (CSU) Interim Chancellor Jolene Koester has appointed Leroy M. Morishita to serve as interim president of California State University, Los Angeles, effective July 31, 2023. He will serve in that capacity until a new president is appointed by the CSU Board of Trustees.
“Dr. Morishita is an extraordinary leader who, over a long and distinguished career, demonstrated an unwavering commitment to inclusive excellence, innovative student-success initiatives and to educational equity in all its dimensions,” said Koester. “His more-than 40 years of experience in leadership positions across the CSU, including his highly successful tenure as president of California State University, East Bay (CSUEB), will serve him well in this role.”
“I am excited to formally return to the CSU and to be part of a vibrant, dynamically diverse and student-centered university like Cal State LA,” said Morishita. “I look forward to working with the extraordinarily talented faculty, staff and administrators to continue providing transformative educational opportunities for Cal State LA’s students.”
Morishita has most recently served the CSU in a consulting role, participating in a workgroup formed by Interim Chancellor Koester to identify a multi-year strategy to achieve stable and predictable revenues to support the CSU mission and to maintain affordability for its students, while recognizing and meeting the differing needs of the 23 universities.
He served as president of CSUEB from 2011 to 2020, first as interim president before being appointed to the permanent position in 2012. Under his leadership, achievement at CSUEB reached new heights, with graduation and retention rates steadily increasing, while equity gaps narrowed.
Morishita has held a variety of leadership positions within the CSU, since beginning his career at San Francisco State University (SFSU) in 1978. There, he held positions of increasing responsibility over the course of 30 years, ultimately serving as executive vice president and chief financial officer, administration and finance. Morishita also served on a number of systemwide and statewide committees on budget, investments, human resources and other policy issues.
Morishita earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley; a master’s degree in counseling at SFSU; and a doctorate of education from Harvard in administration, planning and social policy.
Erika D. Beck
President, California State University, Northridge
Dr. Erika D. Beck began her leadership of California State University, Northridge in January 2021 and proudly serves as the fourth consecutive female president. A strong advocate for the power of higher education to improve lives, transform communities and promote social mobility, President Beck champions the academic success of students in the attainment of their highest educational aspirations and as future leaders prepared to excel in today’s rapidly changing economy and society. Her unwavering commitment to advancing equity, inclusion and justice are the foundation upon which she leads institutions of higher learning to facilitate human potential while advancing knowledge that serves the public good.
Immediately prior to coming to CSUN, Dr. Beck served as President of CSU Channel Islands from 2016 to 2021. She was Provost and Executive Vice President at Nevada State College from 2010 to 2016 where she previously served as the Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a tenured member of the psychology faculty. President Beck was a research associate at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, San Diego, a master’s degree from San Diego State University, and a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of California, San Diego.
As President of CSU Channel Islands, Dr. Beck launched the President’s Advisory Council on Inclusive Excellence, the President’s Advisory Council on Cultural Protocols, and led a successful revision to campus recruitment and retention practices to expand equity and diversity. Under her leadership, the campus received the inaugural “Seal of Excelencia” from Excelencia in Education for leadership, practice and success in serving Latinx students.
While at Nevada State, she advocated for shared governance and founded the first faculty senate on campus, spearheaded the campus plan that improved graduation rates and closed equity gaps and led to the college being named a Minority Serving Institution, a Hispanic Serving Institution, and the most diverse campus in the Nevada System of Higher Education.
President Beck was named one of the Most Influential Leaders in Education by the Pacific Coast Business Times and Woman of the Year by the California Women’s Caucus, and has served on numerous boards and commissions. She is currently a board member of the Los Angeles Chamber, the Los Angeles County Economic Development Committee, the Big West Conference and the finance committee of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. President Beck enjoys running, yoga, and perpetual conversations with her sons about how many more minutes until “we get there.”
Thomas A. Parham
President, California State University, Dominguez Hills
Dr. Thomas A. Parham is the 11th president of California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH), a highly diverse, metropolitan university primarily serving the South Central and South Bay areas of Los Angeles County. Dr. Parham previously served as vice chancellor for student affairs and an adjunct faculty member at the University of California, Irvine, where he had been since 1985. Prior to his role as vice chancellor, he served as assistant vice chancellor for counseling and health services, Counseling Center director, and director of the Career and Life Planning Center at UCI. Early in his career, Dr. Parham also held an appointment on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
“Dr. P.,” as he is affectionately known, is a licensed psychologist with more than 35 years as a scholar and practitioner. He has sustained a research focus in the area of psychological nigrescence, specifically on identity development, African psychology, and multicultural counseling. Dr. Parham is a past president of the National Association of Black Psychologists and the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (a division of ACA).
He was elected to serve as the fifth president of the 100 Black Men of Orange County organization in January 2002, a term of service he completed in 2005. His efforts as president included collaborating with Turning Point Communications and the City of Irvine to host the Annual African American Business Summit; planning for a Fall Health and Wellness Summit; initiating an Institutional Report Card initiative to evaluate the quality of the educational experience for African American youth in Orange County schools; serving on Orange County Sheriff’s Community Coalition Program; and helping to recognize and honor citizens of all colors who make a difference in the African American community by co-chairing the 100’s award committee for its annual gala. He has also served as national chair of education for the 100 Black Men of America.
Dr. Parham has been interviewed and quoted extensively in regional and national newspapers and magazines. He participated in the 2005 State of the Black Union hosted by Tavis Smiley which aired on CSPAN, and appeared in the 2010 documentary Fair Game?, directed and produced by Mario Van Peebles.
In characterizing him, some have written: “Parham is a gifted and charismatic speaker in the tradition of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. Indeed, for many, his presence as a public figure is transformative; the power of his innate humanity and manifest love conveying an overwhelming sense of acceptance and understanding. You feel a great many things in the presence of Dr. Parham; mostly, you just feel better” (Mears, 2002).
Dr. Parham grew up in Southern California and received his bachelor’s degree in social ecology from the University of California, Irvine, his master’s degree in counseling psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, and received his Ph.D. in counseling psychology at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He is licensed to practice psychology in California.