Mayor to Honor Ronald R. Arias, Gina Rushing Maguire, and Roberta Jenkins and Posthumously Dr. Matthew Jenkins with Keys to the CityRelease Date: 2021-03-15
Long Beach, CA – Mayor Robert Garcia will be presenting a Key to the City to several distinguished community leaders on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, at 4:30 p.m.
“These leaders have made incredible contributions to the City of Long Beach and beyond,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “This year it is so important that we recognize people who have spent their lives lifting people up, and I am so excited to celebrate these exemplary leaders.”
Ronald R. Arias is a widely respected public health leader in our region and nation with over 50-years of professional and community leadership experience. Ron Arias served for over 12-years as the Director of the Long Beach Health Department, where under his leadership he built much of the Health Department we know today. He worked to establish the Miller Family Health Education Center and created Community Health Research Studies. Prior to his leadership of the department, Ron was the manager of the Public Health Bureau. And from 1979-1990, he worked as a manager for the American Lung Association of Los Angeles County.
"I am deeply honored and humbled to learn that Mayor Garcia is presenting me with a Key to the City,” said Ronald. “Working for the City of Long Beach Health Department was my dream job. It gave me so many opportunities to give back to this community and to build community partnerships. As we have learned during this global pandemic, having your own city health department is an incredible community asset. When I see and read that the Long Beach Health Department is a model of excellence, it makes me proud that we built a solid and lasting foundation for the city's overall community health."
Even after his retirement in 2012, Ronald Arias continued his volunteer service, especially in support of our community’s youth. He currently serves on the Children's Clinic Community Advisory Committee, the Earl B. and Loraine H. Miller Foundation, the Long Beach Memorial Hospital Strategy Committee, the Rancho Los Cerritos Foundation and as an integral member of the Long Beach Latino Cultural Center steering committee.
Mayor Garcia will also be recognizing an amazing Long Beach educator -- Gina Rushing Maguire. Gina has led St. Anthony High School for the past 20-years and in that time has given new life to this historic institution. She is widely credited with saving the school from closure. An alum of St. Anthony herself, Gina garnered the support of alumni and community partners leading to the development of over $50 million in gifts enabling the expansion of curriculum, programs, financial aid, technology, and significant facility renovations for the school.
“Looking back, I realize that all my prior leadership and service experiences prepared me to become St. Anthony High School’s first President at a time of great challenge,” said Gina. “This work has been a gift in my life, a great blessing. Long Beach has provided me with so many incredible opportunities, and I am ever-grateful to all those who supported me throughout the years, contributing so much and sharing in St. Anthony’s successful re-emergence as a leader in Catholic education.”
In addition to her work with St. Anthony, Gina has been a stalwart Long Beach community member. She played a key role in founding Leadership Long Beach and served as President of the Junior League of Long Beach. Earlier this year, Gina announced her retirement from St. Anthony, effective at the end of the current school year in June. Long Beach will be forever indebted to her for her tireless years of service to the community.
The Mayor will be giving special recognition to Roberta Jenkins and posthumously to Dr. Matthew Jenkins. Roberta and Dr. Matthew Jenkins graduated from Tuskegee University in Alabama, where they met and where Dr. Jenkins would later serve from 2013-2014 as interim university president. With great success from their personal business, the Jenkins’ dedicated their time and resources towards advancing access in education across the country, but especially here in Long Beach. They helped to establish the Math Collaborative at Jordan High School, later replicated at Cabrillo and Wilson High Schools. They also established the Matthew and Roberta Jenkins Family Foundation, awarding scholarships and grants to deserving students, institutions and local organizations.
“It is an honor to receive this award on behalf of myself and my late husband,” said Roberta. “We have always been passionate about educational and cultural equity and access. As a citizen of Long Beach, I am appreciative, excited, and humbled to be recognized for giving back to my community.”
Both Roberta and Dr. Jenkins have been recognized by numerous organizations for their resolute work in education, including the NAACP. Individually, Roberta Jenkins, now retired, has continued her support for the community by serving on many foundation boards and committees, some of which include the CSULB Foundation Board, the Entertainment Industry College Outreach Program for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the Board of Directors for Long Beach Symphony, and the Long Beach Museum of Art – where she has also served as president.
Dr. Jenkins has been recognized by many civic organizations for his leadership, including the Compton College Board of Trustees, Tuskegee University Board of Trustees, Charles Drew University Board of Directors, California State University Foundation Board, and the Claremont Graduate University Board. Dr. Jenkins passed away in fall of 2019 and is survived by his wife Roberta, their adult children and his many grandchildren.
The honorees will each be presented with a Key to the City in a special ceremony prior to the City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at 4:30 p.m. Though the community will not be able to attend in person due to COVID restrictions, the presentation of the keys will be streamed on all city social media channels and on YouTube here.