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

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

Professional Background

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.

William A. Covino

President, California State University, Los Angeles

William Covino was appointed as president of Cal State L.A. by the CSU Board of Trustees in 2013. First in his family to earn a college degree, Covino is deeply committed to providing opportunities for students to achieve academic, personal, and professional success, and helping them to develop a high regard for the intellectual and cultural diversity that distinguishes Cal State L.A. and its surrounding community.

Prior to his appointment at CSULA, Covino served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Fresno State since 2009. In addition to his leadership of the university’s eight schools and colleges and oversight of academic goals and educational policy, Covino provided ongoing leadership for the Campaign for Fresno State, the university’s fundraising campaign which has raised in excess of $214 million.

Previous to his position at Fresno State, Covino held leadership positions at CSU Stanislaus and Florida Atlantic University. He also has held faculty positions at the University of Illinois at Chicago and San Diego State University.

Covino earned his B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles. He holds M.A. degrees from CSU Northridge and the University of Southern California and earned a Ph.D. in English from USC in 1981.

Erika D. Beck

President, California State University, Northridge

Erika D. Beck began her tenure as President of California State University, Northridge in January 2021. Prior to her appointment, she had served as President of California State University Channel Islands since 2016 and as Provost and Executive Vice President at Nevada State College.

A strong advocate for the power of higher education to improve lives, transform the community and promote social mobility, President Beck works to ensure the academic success of students, so that they can become leaders in their communities and excel in today’s rapidly changing economy and society. This focus includes an unwavering commitment to advancing equity, inclusion and justice in service of a brighter and more equitable future.

A native Californian, President Beck holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego; an M.A. in Psychology from San Diego State University; and a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of California, San Diego where she also served as a faculty fellow. A former research associate at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, she has conducted research in the areas of developmental psychopathology and cognitive neuroscience. In addition to her formal education, she is actively engaged in the national dialogue regarding inclusive excellence and the use of data to improve student learning outcomes.

She was selected as a Woman of the Year by the California Women’s Caucus, one of the Top 50 Women in Business by the Pacific Coast Business Times, a Woman of Distinction in Education by the National Association of Women in Business Leaders, and as a Top Female Business Leader in Education by the Las Vegas Business Press.

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.