HBCU Alumna Named First Woman President Of California State University, Los Angeles

Photo courtesy of York College

Berenecea Johnson Eanes, Ph.D., will assume the presidency of California State University (CSU), Los Angeles, on January 8, 2024, becoming the university’s ninth president and first female in that role. She succeeds Interim President Leroy Morishita.

Eanes currently serves as president of York College in the City University of New York and as a professor in the college’s Department of Social Work. In her remaining time there, she will continue “our laser focus on enrollment and implementing the initiatives that have been recommended by the Strategic Enrollment Task Force,” she states in an emailed letter addressed to the “York College Community.”

Prior to joining York, Eanes served as vice president for Student Affairs at California State University, Fullerton from 2012 to 2019. Leadership and oversight for student success programs, new campus infrastructure and the university’s strategic plan mark her tenure there. In 2018 she earned CSU’s Wang Family Excellence Award for achieving transformative results in her role as a member of the CSUF president’s cabinet and as vice president.

A champion of diversity, equity and inclusion, Eanes notes that “student success and access to a higher education for all” led her to begin a career in academia. Indeed, in addition to CSU and York, her career comprises positions as a faculty member or administrator at various institutions, including Columbia University, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Morehouse College, Georgia State University, Clark Atlanta University, Hamilton College and Teach for Africa, Ethiopia.

She promises to remain true to that original calling in her new post. “I look forward to engaging and collaborating with Cal State LA’s talented students, staff and faculty to continue the institution’s journey to new heights in student success, research, scholarship and creative activity, and community engagement,” she says.

An alumna of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Eanes holds a bachelor’s degree in public health from Dillard University and a doctorate in social work from Clark Atlanta University. She earned a master’s in social work from Boston University.