2023 in Review: CSULB’s top 10 stories of the year

Published December 12, 2023

As 2023 comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to reflect on the extraordinary accomplishments we’ve made at Cal State Long Beach. This year's stories reflect the power and strength of a Beach degree, the far-reaching impact of our university and our unwavering Beach spirit.

Here are the top stories of 2023:  

Student Laura Bush works on computer in front of COB

CSULB student's art featured on product sold at Sephora 

Laura Bush, a fourth-year business management student, wins a “defy impossible”- themed contest sponsored by Kate Somerville cosmetics company in conjunction with National Foster Care Month. For Bush, who was in the foster care system as a teenager, defying impossible is represented as a butterfly. Bush's artwork - depicting an orange and purple butterfly - is featured on one of Kate Somerville's product packaging and she received a cash prize. 

Scene from Pow Wow 2023

Pow Wow returns to celebrate 50 years at The Beach 

The Cal State Long Beach Pow Wow - the largest university-based powwow west of the Mississippi River - returns after a three-year hiatus to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Thousands of guests gather for the largest and oldest continuously running student-sponsored event and enjoy a two-day celebration of music, dancing, food, clothing, jewelry, textiles and more. 

Joseph Valadez

Beach Voices: A life-changing journey from addiction, incarceration to a master’s degree 

Joseph Valadez ‘20, ‘23 shares his personal experience from addiction, incarceration to earning a master’s degree at Cal State Long Beach. With the support of Project Rebound at The Beach, Valadez achieves his academic goals and his dream job. 

Phillip Lim on the runway

Honorary Degree: Top designer Phillip Lim ‘98 says he owes his start to The Beach

Fashion designer Phillip Lim ‘98, one of the top independent designers in the U.S., receives an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during the 2023 College of the Arts Commencement ceremony. Celebrities from former first lady Michelle Obama, Kim Kardashian and Beyoncé have donned his creations on red carpets and at major events. 

Grad raises index finger in celebration

Class of 2023 celebrates its achievements at CSULB 

Cal State Long Beach’s newest graduates share their personal experiences and explain what it means to celebrate Commencement with their loved ones at Angel Stadium. 

Cal State Long Beach Pyramid

Cal State Long Beach Among 'Best Colleges in America'   

Money recognizes The Beach as one of the “Best Colleges in America.” CSULB earns 4.5 out of 5 stars in the online publication’s college rating system. Money’s analysis also notes that CSULB’s “six-year graduation rate (81%) is well above the average of all the schools we rated this year, so it’s clear that CSULB students find it a good fit.” 

Green space on the CSULB campus

8 fun things to do at CSULB this summer 

Even during the middle of CSULB’s summer break, there are still plenty of opportunities on the 322-acre campus. This listicle highlights 8 fun things to do at The Beach.  

Bill Greening with original Barbie

Meet the CSULB alumnus who's been designing Barbie's dream world for more than 25 years  

Bill Greening ‘98 shares his passion for designing fashions for Barbie, the world’s most famous doll. Some of his favorites are Ladies of the '80s, featuring Debbie Harry and Joan Jett. “Right now, Barbie clearly is having a moment,” Greening said. “It’s a great time to be working at Barbie.” 

Grad looks away from others

Cal State Long Beach ranked No. 1 among ‘national universities’ for promoting social mobility

The Beach receives the No. 1 spot among “national universities” for promoting social mobility in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2024 Best Colleges rankings. The social mobility rankings reflect graduation rates and performance of Pell Grant-awarded students, as well as first-generation student graduation rates and performance. 

Latino student with flag wrapped around him

CSULB earns prestigious Seal of Excelencia for its commitment to Latinx students

Cal State Long Beach earns the Seal of Excelencia and joins a distinctive group of 30 colleges and universities which have also been recognized for commitment to Latinx students. The accolade reinforces CSULB’s national profile and ongoing commitment to supporting Latinx students.