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VP Eanes to Leave a Rich, Student-Centered Legacy

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After seven years as vice president for student affairs, Berenecea Johnson Eanes is leaving Cal State Fullerton to become interim president of York College, a leading liberal arts college in The City University of New York system.

Her appointment is effective Sept. 2.

Eanes’ tenure at the university is marked by a wealth of accomplishments and far-reaching efforts benefitting tens of thousands of Titans. Thanks in part to her pivotal role in the university’s first-ever Strategic Plan from 2013 to 2018, Cal State Fullerton achieved a 33 percent improvement in six-year graduation rates for first-time freshmen, a more than 100 percent improvement in four-year graduation rates for first-time freshmen; a 19 percent improvement in two-year graduation rates for transfer students, and a 41 percent improvement in four-year graduation rates for transfer students — all university records. She is also co-chair of the Graduation Initiative 2025 task force to boost four-year graduation rates.

In that same time frame, the achievement gap was eliminated for transfer students and cut in half for first-time freshmen, while annual gift commitments for both Student Affairs and Titan Athletics increased almost tenfold — from $400,000 to $3.5 million for Student Affairs and $496,000 to $3.76 million for Titan Athletics.

A champion in the promotion of diversity, equity and inclusion, Eanes established a Bias Incident Response Protocol; led student housing inclusion efforts that resulted in a women’s floor, a rainbow-themed floor, and an undeclared major floor; recruited a greater number of full-time African American tenured faculty; and spearheaded joint efforts with student-governing body Associated Students Inc. to better serve and support the LGBTQ community. In addition, she oversaw the construction, expansion and remodeling of several areas, including the Student Health and Counseling Center, the Veterans Resource Center, the Titan Dreamers Resource Center and, in collaboration with ASI, the $25 million expansion of the TSU.

Eanes re-engineered Student Life & Leadership; reoriented the Career Center; launched the Male Success Initiative (MSI), which serves and supports historically disadvantaged men of color; and created and unified the Diversity Initiatives & Resource Centers.

CSUF President Fram Virjee expressed his appreciation for her accomplishments but also for how much Eanes meant to the university: “So much more than her legacy of leadership will continue to transform the lives of Titans for decades to come; so much more than a friend whose shoulder we have leaned upon; so much more than a colleague whose strength gave us hope; so much more than a leader whose courage has empowered countless Titans to Reach Higher.

“Simply put, she is family, and for some time she has been an integral part of the heartbeat that is our Titan Family,” he said.

Eanes increased student persistence through the development of high-impact practices and proven intervention programs, including Tuffy’s Basic Needs Center and a Student Success Initiative partnership that strengthened academic advising, improved course availability, expanded library hours, modernized technology, provided scholarships, upgraded classrooms and strengthened cultural centers. 

She also helped lead efforts to create the Student Success Teams Steering Committee, the basis of the Student Success Teams that have become a national model for best practices to increase graduation rates and eliminate achievement gaps.

In an email to the campus community, Eanes said, “Your collegiality, kindness and support throughout the years have meant the world. I am so grateful. Cal State Fullerton is a world-class institution because of each one of you, and the university will continue to thrive because of each one of you. I am humbled to have played a small part in the rich history of CSUF.”

In 2018, Eanes received the California State University’s Wang Family Excellence Award, which honors four outstanding faculty members and one administrator from the CSU’s 23 campuses. Earlier this year, she was the recipient of the Scott Goodnight Award for Outstanding Performance as a Dean/Vice President from NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. 

An interim appointment will be announced shortly.