Long Beach NAACP President Naomi Rainey-Pierson will receive honorary doctoral degree from CSULB

Community leader Naomi Rainey-Pierson will be recognized by Cal State Long Beach in May with an honorary doctoral degree for her work in the community and her fight against racial prejudice.

She will be the fifth woman to receive such a distinction, according to CSULB. Only a dozen people have ever received an honorary degree from the university, according to school officials.

“I want my legacy to show that it’s better to be united, but even as one you can make a difference,” Rainey-Pierson said in a statement.

Rainey-Pierson received a bachelor’s degree in theater arts, two master’s degrees and several teaching credentials from CSULB.

She has been the president of the Long Beach branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People since 2000 and has “continuously donated to the university, worked to increase enrollment of women and minority students and volunteered on various campus projects,” according to school officials. A dorm was renamed in her honor in 2012.

Naomi Rainey-Pierson will receive an honorary doctoral degree from the College of Liberal Arts during this year’s commencement ceremony in May at CSULB. Rainey-Pierson will be the fifth woman to receive such a distinction. Photo courtesy of Sean DuFrene/Long Beach State University.

“Naomi Rainey-Pierson spent 50 years fighting to eliminate racial prejudice as an activist with the NAACP and Long Beach State is proud to be the place where Naomi got her start in civic activism,” stated university President Jane Close Conoley. “Since leaving CSULB she has become an award-winning educator, philanthropist and entrepreneur and is a model of what we hope our students endeavor to achieve.”

Rainey-Pierson said she hopes to inspire graduates to continue to be actively involved after graduation.

She is expected to be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during a 9 a.m. College of Liberal Arts ceremony on Wednesday, May 22 at CSULB, 1250 N. Bellflower Blvd.

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Stephanie Rivera is the immigration and diversity reporter for the Long Beach Post. Growing up as one of six kids in the working-class immigrant suburb of South Gate, she was taught the importance of civic engagement and to show compassion for others. After graduating from CSULB with a degree in journalism, Stephanie worked for Patch Latino and City News Service before coming to the Long Beach Post in 2015. An avid Harry Potter fan, Stephanie now lives in Bixby Knolls with her boyfriend and their bearded dragon, Austin.