Dr. Soraya M. Coley, president of Cal Poly Pomona, will receive the American Council on Education's (ACE) Donna Shavlik Award for her efforts in support of the success of women. Coley will be given the award Apr. 13 at the Women’s Leadership Dinner during ACE’s annual meeting in Washington, DC.
“Throughout her decades-long career, President Coley has demonstrated a sustained and continuing commitment to the advancement of women through actions or initiatives enhancing women's leadership development,” said ACE President Dr. Ted Mitchell. “President Coley’s unwavering dedication to advancing women in higher education exemplifies the spirit behind the ACE Donna Shavlik award.”
The award – named after Donna Shavlik, former director of ACE's Office of Women in Higher Education – commends people putting forth sustained commitment to advancing women in higher ed.
The first woman and first African American scholar to be president of Cal Poly Pomona, Coley has served as ACE Southern California Women’s Network presidential sponsor and faculty of the New Presidents Academy. She has also been on the Los Angeles Business Journal’s “LA500 – The Most Influential People in L.A” list since 2018.
“I have benefitted greatly from having mentors, and I pay that forward when I can,” Coley said. “I owe gratitude to my mentors and supporters, especially those who saw potential in me that I never imagined. I vividly remember a time earlier in my career when I had just settled into my role as a department chair at CSU Fullerton. The university president at the time, Dr. Jewel Plummer Cobb — an African American woman and trailblazer in the sciences — said very emphatically, that someday, I was going to be a university president. I summarily dismissed that idea, but her confidence in me, and her mentorship proved critical in getting to where I am now.”