Soraya M. Coley, M.S.S. '74,Ph.D. '81, made history in 2015 when she became Cal Poly Pomona's sixth president and the first woman and first African American to hold the position. On Feb. 5, a little more than a year after she took the helm, the university honored her installment with a formal ceremony.
Coley became the president of Cal Poly Pomona on Jan. 1, 2015 and has more than 30 years of experience in higher education. She came to Pomona from CSU Bakersfield, where she served as provost and vice president for academic affairs from 2005 to 2014. She also served as interim vice president for university advancement from 2011 to 2012.
At Cal State Fullerton, from 1991 to 2001, she served as dean of the College of Human Development & Community Service, administrative fellow in the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and professor and department chair for the Human Services Department.
She was the system-wide provost and vice president for academic affairs at Alliant International University from 2001 to 2003.
Coley’s career has been marked by efforts to eliminate obstacles that prevent people from reaching their potential, fully participating in society and achieving their dreams. She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Lincoln University, a master’s in social planning and social research, as well as a doctorate in social planning and policy from Bryn Mawr College.