President Jane Close Conoley champions diversity and underrepresented students. She advocates for justice and is willing to confront racist, harassing and anti-Semitic actions on the campus of Cal State Long Beach.
Conoley’s passion for the homeless and hungry sparked her support for the campus’ Basic Needs program, which responds to student emergencies, such as food insecurity and a lack of housing. She also chaired the Everyone Home Long Beach Task Force, which Long Beach’s city government commissioned to craft a plan to make homelessness a non-issue in Long Beach.
These are among the reasons Conoley is being honored at the 59th Humanitarian Awards Dinners presented by the California Conference for Equality and Justice (CCEJ) on Thursday at the Hyatt Regency in Long Beach.
“I am honored to be included among this group of people who are making significant and lasting effects in our communities,” Conoley said. “Because of their efforts, as well as through the work of the California Conference for Equality and Justice, we are able to experience positive and meaningful change.”
In her seven years as Cal State Long Beach’s president, Conoley has created several other programs supporting students, such as making scholarship money more accessible to qualified students. Total campus scholarship awards have since increased by an additional $1 million.
CCEJ is also recognizing Rev. Dr. Phyllis Hayes-Reams and Kevin and Jennifer Peterson, both of whom graduated from Cal State Long Beach, for their services to the community.
Hayes-Reams is a Long Beach native who serves as Chief of Service of the Department of Geriatric, Palliative Medicine, Continuing Care and Social Medicine at Kaiser Permanente-South Bay.
Kevin Peterson is CEO of P2S Inc., an engineering and construction management firm, and serves as chairman of the YMCA of Greater Long Beach board of directors, is a member of the Long Beach Ronald McDonald House board of trustees and volunteers as a mentor for the university’s annual Innovation Challenge.
Jennifer Peterson currently serves on the boards of the Long Beach Symphony Association, Steel Magnolias and the Long Beach Cancer Society.
Each year, CCEJ celebrates individuals who have dedicated their personal and professional lives to improving human relations, and supporting the principles of CCEJ.
The organization also honoring Taizin Barnhart, an incoming Cal State Long Beach freshman, who is receiving the Henry Meyer Youth Award.
“I would like to point out that three of CCEJ’s Humanitarian Award nominees have a connection to California State University, Long Beach,” Conoley said. “Kevin and Jennifer Peterson are alumni, and Taizin Barnhardt is planning to begin his Liberal Arts studies with us in the fall. So, I also proudly celebrate these members of The Beach family and the good work they are doing.”