Believing that higher education is “one of the most important social justice issues of our time,” Berenecea Johnson Eanes has been a driving force for student success at Cal State Fullerton since her arrival on campus in 2012.
The vice president for student affairs continues to increase student persistence by re-engineering student programs and services, expanding immersive learning experiences, strengthening programs to promote equity and inclusion, and providing leadership for campuswide efforts, such as Graduation Initiative 2025.
For her extraordinary commitment and dedication, Eanes has been selected to receive the California State University’s 2018 Wang Family Excellence Award and will be recognized at the Jan. 30 CSU Board of Trustees meeting.
Established in 1998, the award annually honors four outstanding faculty members and one administrator from the CSU’s 23 campuses. Each honoree receives a $20,000 award, funded through a gift from CSU Trustee Emeritus Stanley T. Wang.
“I am incredibly grateful and humbled to be honored with the Wang Family Excellence Award,” said Eanes. “Throughout my career as an educator, I have operated with an immovable conviction that higher education and access to education are imperative to ensuring social justice. This award indicates to me that, alongside outstanding colleagues and friends, we have made a difference and will continue to effect change through education.”
Eanes is the 13th Titan to receive the prestigious CSU honor. In her role as vice president, she has provided leadership and oversight to the Division of Student Affairs, including: Admissions; Associated Students Inc.; Career Center; Center for Internships and Community Engagement; Center for Scholars; Counseling and Psychological Services; Dean of Students; Disability Support Services; Diversity Initiatives and Resource Centers; Educational Partnerships; Financial Aid; Housing and Residential Engagement; Intercollegiate Athletics; Outreach, Recruitment and Orientation; Student Health Center; Student Life and Leadership; Title IX; Veterans Resource Center; and WoMen’s and Adult Reentry Center.
Some of her notable accomplishments include:
- Serving as a key player in CSUF’s first-ever Strategic Plan from 2013-18, which resulted in a 30 percent improvement in six-year graduation rates and a 65 percent improvement in four-year graduation rates for first-time freshmen;
- Spearheading the Student Success Initiative to strengthen academic advising; improve course availability; expand library hours; increase support for internships, the Career Center, supplemental instruction and service-learning; modernize classrooms, student spaces, athletics and recreation facilities; upgrade technology across campus; provide additional scholarship support; and strengthen diversity centers, veterans services and disability services;
- Establishing a Bias Incident Response Protocol to promote diversity, equity and inclusion;
- Creating a task force to address food and housing insecurity on campus;
- Establishing the Male Success Initiative to serve and support historically disadvantaged men of color;
- Serving as co-chair of the Graduation Initiative 2025 task force to boost four-year graduation rates;
- Raising more than $14 million in support of students and student programs.
Beyond the campus, Eanes serves as region VI director for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, and has been honored with such awards as NASPA Foundation’s 2016 “Pillars of the Profession” and the 65th Assembly District’s 2014 “Women of Distinction.”
Eanes holds a doctorate in social work from Clark Atlanta University, a master’s degree in social work from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree in public health from Dillard University.
“For Dr. Eanes it is not just about accomplishments. As all who know and love Berenecea will gladly share, she is about our students,” said CSUF President Fram Virjee. “She wears that love for our students as a badge of honor in everything she does and everywhere she goes. Her smile and laughter are infectious. Her caring and empathy are obvious. Her dedication to the success of our students is paramount.”