As part of the CSU’s celebration of Black History Month, we highlighted 29 exceptional pioneers. Here’s a sampling of the additional alumni, faculty and staff our readers recommended.

Thomas Wallace, Ph.D., Staff, CSU Bakersfield
“Dr. Wallace is the vice president of Student Affairs at CSU Bakersfield. His career has been one of building up students' beliefs in themselves. He instituted many student programs at CSUB that have supported our first-generation students. He has also led innovative efforts such as the Housing and Food Security Committee overseeing Basic Needs at our campus, including Food Pantry, Food Distribution and Edible Garden. He's a tremendous leader who's always there to support not only students, but also staff and faculty. He's been involved with our Young Men of Color team and has led efforts with Budding Leaders. Dr. Wallace exemplifies true leadership and 'Runner Pride!' He is remarkable."

Robin Mitchell, Ph.D., Faculty, CSU Channel Islands
“Dr. Mitchell exemplifies the CSU teacher-scholar model. Students attest to her life-changing impact through her classroom teaching, her out-of-class one-on-one work with them and her mentoring through undergraduate research projects. Her book 'Venus Noire: Black Women & Colonial Fantasies in 19th-Century France' (published Jan. 1, 2020) has already created a stir, with multiple interviews and podcasts devoted to it, including an upcoming BBC interview. (All this for someone who is early-career faculty!)"

Thomas Parham, Ph.D., President, CSU Dominguez Hills
“While the CSU has only had the pleasure of President Parham's leadership for a short time, he has an extensive legacy as a scholar, mentor, advocate and administrator. As his CSUDH bio can attest, he has spent decades advancing research related to black psychology and is regarded as a central figure in that field. He has been an exceptional university administrator, both in the University of California system and more recently in the CSU. Beyond his work in higher education, Dr. Parham is active in the community, working with multiple organizations to promote social justice and equity. He is as extraordinary a man as he is humble, and we are truly privileged to have him among our ranks. Dr. Parharm, perhaps more than any other individual working in the CSU, is deserving of recognition during Black History Month."

Lee P. Brown, Alumnus, Fresno State/San José​ State
“In 1997, Lee P. Brown was the first African American to be elected mayor of Houston, Texas. He was reelected twice to serve the maximum of three terms from 1998 to 2004. Brown earned a football scholarship to Fresno State, where he earned a bachelor's in criminology in 1961. The author of 'Growing up to be Mayor!' went from serving as a beat cop with the San Jose Police Department to serving as Atlanta's commissioner of public safety. Later, he served as U.S. Drug Czar in President Clinton's cabinet before becoming Houston's mayor."

Ron Jenkins, Alumnus, Fresno State
“Ron Jenkins, a former standout wide receiver on the Fresno State football team, overcame an incredibly difficult family situation as a young man before earning a college scholarship and going on to a successful career in corrections and rehabilitation. He has returned to campus recently to encourage and motivate current students. See the full story to learn what challenges he faced and how he mentored others."

Safiya Umoja Noble, Alumna, Fresno State
“Safiya Umoja Noble graduated from Fresno State in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in social sciences. She's now an author and associate professor at UCLA. In 1993, she became the second African American student body president at Fresno State. She's revered as a researcher, focusing on the ways digital media impacts and intersects with issues of gender, race, culture and technology design. Noble's research has led to numerous peer-reviewed articles and published books, including 'Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism.'"

Berhanu Tadesse, Staff, Cal State Fullerton
“I've known Berhanu for many years. He has a knack for seeing the big picture and putting his energy and focus where it matters, without getting distracted and diligently resolving every little issue that stands between the start and the end of a project. He has worked on a plethora of projects for the CSU Chancellor's Office and Cal State Fullerton and collaborated with various campuses. His focus and dedication have always been doing more with less, and he is a great champion for California taxpayers and CSU students. A couple examples of his work include splitting all the data and servers when closing the WestEd Data Center and setting up a shared telephone system between Cal State Fullerton and CSU Dominguez Hills. But this was not enough for Berhanu. Currently, he also holds a part-time job after his regular job is over. He's teaching classes at Cal State Fullerton! He's such an asset for Fullerton that it's hard to express with words. And he's also the smartest person I've ever met."

Frederick Smith, Ed.D., Staff, Cal State LA/San Francisco State
“Fred was the director of the Cross Cultural Centers at Cal State LA for 14 years and more recently became the assistant vice president of Equity and Inclusion at SFSU. He has always advocated for diversity, for historically and currently underrepresented populations, with regards to race, class, gender and sexuality. He's also a great colleague and a humble leader."​​

Nikco Moore, Alumna/Staff, Cal State Long Beach
“Nikco Moore is an alumnus of California State University, Long Beach. She began her journey working for the university as a student assistant and is now our retirement and benefits manager on campus. She has been recognized campuswide for her dedication to the campus community and the success of our employees and students. She has continuously given her extraordinary efforts to help every employee she comes in contact with. She's constantly ready to solve any problem, teach others and take on anything."

John Rambo, Alumnus, Cal State Long Beach
“He won the bronze medal in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Coach Rambo was a Long Beach Polytechnic High School and a Long Beach City College graduate. He coached the Long Beach Colts Pop Warner and won the Jr. Bantam weight championships from 1970-77. I was on the 1977 championship team."​

Cedric Hackett, Ed.D., Faculty, CSUN
“Cedric teaches at his alma mater, CSUN, and never wavered from his commitment as a student, a student leader, an athlete, an advocate and now a consummate instructor and scholar."

Jackie Morris-Henderson, Staff, Sacramento State
“Ms. Jackie was an amazing proponent for pushing through barriers for black students, faculty and alumni. She was the first president of the Sacramento State Black Alumni Chapter and took this chapter to great lengths on and off campus. She instituted the first welcome lunch for black students, which opened doors for networking with first-year students, seniors and alumni. Anyone who came in contact with Ms. Jackie was instantly greeted with a smile, hug and her favorite saying: 'How's it going, hun?' Sadly, we lost Ms. Jackie last year to cancer. Her legacy still lives on through the chapter and through the black organizations campuswide. We miss you, Ms. Jackie."

J. Luke Wood, Ph.D., Faculty, San Diego State
“Dr. Wood is critical to the diversity experience at SDSU. Having met him as a freshman student who felt like no one cared, he randomly met me in a hallway and extended a hand. Since then, he has made huge strides on our campus in making sure students of color are supported. In addition, he has navigated some of the most challenging times at SDSU and is making massive changes in its structure, alongside President Adela de la Torre for resource centers, and integrating diversity in the strategic plan. Aside from his leadership role as associate vice president of Faculty Diversity and Inclusion and chief diversity officer, he is known nationwide for his course Black Minds Matter and his critical research in success of men of color on college campuses.

J.E. “Penny" Saffold, Ph.D., Staff, San Francisco State
“Dr. Saffold served as dean of students since 1984 and vice president for Student Affairs since June 1994 at San Francisco State. In her more than 34 years of experience as a Student Affairs administrator, she always held close to her core, promoting the education and leadership development of all students, including particular attention to ensure students who were traditionally excluded for reasons of race, gender, sexual identity, disability or any other reason were now included. As vice president, Dr. Saffold oversaw the safety, student activities, counseling and psychological services, accommodations, access and retention and general academic life of about 30,000 students a year. Of those, thousands benefitted directly from her mentorship and guidance and credit her personal intervention as critical to their academic and career success. Because of her success in student affairs, she was called upon internationally to speak on student development, retention and leadership in diverse student bodies. She was honored with the American Association of Higher Education Black Caucus Public Service Award and the Golden Gate Section of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. Educator of the Year Award. A lifelong advocate for her students, Dr. Saffold passed away in 2019."

Lisa D. White, Ph.D., Alumna/Faculty, San Francisco State
“Lisa is an alumna of SFSU as are her father Dr. Joseph White (the father of black psychology), mother Myrtle Escort White and sister Lynn White Kell. Lisa is one of very few African American female geologists in the country. She was a faculty member at SFSU for 20 years and now oversees educational programs at the UC Berkeley Museum of Paleontology."

Pamela Wiley, Ph.D., Alumna, San José State
“A leader in the field of communicative disorders and sciences, she has changed the face of service delivery for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders. A graduate of the CSU system for both her undergraduate and graduate work, Dr. Wiley has led the way in her multi-location clinic, which was established 41 years ago."

Aletha M. Harven, Ph.D., Faculty, Stanislaus State
“Dr. Aletha Harven deserves to be recognized. She's the only black faculty member in her Department of Psychology & Child Develop​ment. She earned early promotion and tenure for her excellent work. She focuses on social justice teaching and social justice programming that is student-centered. She's a co-principal investigator for a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant providing professional development to science faculty in culturally relevant and active-learning approaches for which the goal is to retain students of color in STEM. She is the first faculty lead and only African American faculty to lead activities at the new Diversity Center on her campus for which she was app​ointed to serve. She is an editor and contributing author to the Springer International Handbook on Promoting Social Justice in Education. She also co-authored the book 'Careers in Child and Adolescent Development.' She regularly collaborates with colleagues on critical activities and presentations."​