2016 Distinguished Alumnus
Mayor, City of Long Beach
2010, Doctorate, Educational Leadership, CSULB
2005, Master of Arts, Communication Management, University of Southern California
2002, Bachelor of Arts, Communication Studies, CSULB
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia became the city’s first Latino (and youngest) mayor when he was elected in 2014—but this was only the latest in a long string of “firsts” for the trailblazing educator and public servant.
Garcia, who was 5 years old when he immigrated to the United States from Peru, became the first person in his family to attend and graduate from college; later, he was part of the first cohort of students to graduate from CSULB’s doctoral program in educational leadership. Garcia went on to co-found the North Pine Neighborhood Alliance, which advocates on behalf of downtown residents and businesses, and to launch the Long Beach Post, a daily digital-first publication that has grown from a small business into an essential source for community information with more than 40,000 subscribers.
After serving as a councilmember for the First District, he was unanimously elected vice mayor by the City Council. Garcia has taught courses in communications at CSULB and at the University of Southern California.
Named one of the city’s “most innovative minds” by Long Beach Magazine, Garcia appeared on The Advocate’s list of “40 Under 40” (2010) and on Instinctmagazine.com’s list of “Leading Men” (2009). He is also a recipient of the Equality California Vanguard Award.
Garcia enjoys movies, television, books, and spending time with his partner Dr. Matt Mendez and their cat Tommy.
From Alumni Awards 2016 program