Regena Cummings ColeRegena Cummings Cole

Businesswoman/Community Leader/Philanthropist

California State University, Long Beach​

Regena Cole is a dedicated, community-minded philanthropist and an enthusiastic supporter of California State University, Long Beach (CSULB).

She was her husband's partner in Bob Cole Realty, an innovative and pioneering business in Long Beach for more than three decades. Bob Cole credited her as invaluable to their business success.

Music was a central part of the Coles' life together—Bob Cole was an avid amateur pianist—and they were drawn to the CSULB campus because it offered an excellent music program accessible to talented students from all backgrounds.

Before Bob Cole's death in 2004, the couple discussed how best to "give back" to the Long Beach community and decided, "what better way than music?" An endowed​ estate gift from the Bob Cole Trust was announced in 2007. The gift, which remains the largest ever received by CSULB, created a major conservatory of music, which was named in honor of Bob Cole.

Regena Cole strengthened her commitment to the university in 2012 by funding a capital project that furnished, in part, an outdoor performance area. The Bob Cole Conservatory of Music Pavilion and Plaza serves as a vibrant point of connection and inspiration for music students and faculty. It also completes an informal "artistic village" anchored by the Carpenter Performing Arts Center and the Martha B. Knoebel Dance Theater.

In addition to her philanthropic support, Regena Cole creates life-enhancing relationships with Cole Scholars. According to one graduate, who has gone on to a successful career in music education and performance, "Regena Cole changed my life. The Bob Cole Scholarship made it possible for me to come to CSULB and have an educational experience I'll never forget. But it is her ongoing belief in my abilities that continues to encourage me."

In recognition of her outstanding contributions to the university and the community, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, Long Beach are proud to confer upon Regena Cole the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.